It was Sue's birthday at the weekend, and we decided to go out for lunch on Dartmoor and take Lottie along for a walk. At home in the Teign Valley, the day was merely overcast, but a fifteen minute drive up onto Dartmoor plunged Sue and I into a world of swirling mists where strange shapes loomed. As I fumbled for the switch to turn the headlights on, the pleasantly winding road suddenly seemed a little hazardous, and bearing in mind that there are no fences to keep the ponies, cows and sheep from the roads in Dartmoor, I sharpened my wits and slowed the car.
There was never any possibility that we might turn around and head for home. Apart from our British desire to go on despite the weather, we also had a roast lunch to walk off (nut roast and and Yorkshire pudding at Ullacombe Farm if you're interested). We did make a concession though and opted for the car park that is quite near the top of Hay Tor. We've often spurned that car park as being only for the faint-hearted, choosing instead the lower car park and the longer walk, but since there weren't going to be any views at all, we gave ourselves permission to cheat a little. It was quite exciting walking through the mist. The open moor can be dangerous for hikers, but we were on a well worn path, and it was fun to imagine that we were the only people for miles. The sheep were emboldened by the mist, and they stayed close to get a good look at us. Our Labrador, Lottie, has never chased livestock, but we put her on a long lead just in case she got any silly ideas. We could hear a few muffled voices, but we couldn't see the Tor until we were within a few metres of it. There was something magical in the way that the craggy rocks emerged from the mist, and it didn't take much imagination to picture the Neolithic characters from my Darkeningstone books clambering over the rocks. Waeccan might have been sheltering in a cave while Burlic hunted for rabbits, or Morven prowled with his tribe of savage Wandrian warriors.
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