Monday, 28 January 2008
I’m back from the most wonderful weekend walking on Dartmoor and catching up with my dear friend Av. Her husband has just gone off skiing so we had a great opportunity to spend some time together sorting the world out – as you do.
The above picture isn’t exactly where we went but gives you a rough idea of the sheer breathtaking expanse of Dartmoor, where the ground is bouncy with moorland turf, the air is so clear that your lungs sing, and we walked for miles without getting tired.
Dartmoor is on a grand scale, full of surprises. As we walked from Vennford Reservoir towards Sharp Tor, we looked over a ridge and saw a secret valley, full of grey and twisted trees. Far below us, a river rampaged over rocks, diving in and around the sinister foliage. Beyond that was a long low path where a bicyclist pedalled busily, his dog following behind.
We met other dog walkers; elderly fat black labradors, a deaf but still game terrier who came nuzzling up for a cuddle. Lone walkers striding forth with their maps, couples kitted up in walking gear. And us, walking and talking, sharing our thoughts and fears, our dreams and our joys.
The only thing I really missed was my Moll, who would have loved Dartmoor. (It would have been difficult taking her on the train, then bus, then train so I left her here with Himself – it also meant that he had to get out and exercise her.)
But as we walked, Moll was beside me, then running in front, dancing over the bristly turf, diving into the stream and paddling along the muddy paths.
Remember the daemons in The Golden Compass? Moll was definitely there in spirit.