Apr. 3rd, 2017

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Having finally managed to get our schedules to synchronise, my parents came down to Devon for an early Easter staycation. They arrived at around midday and we left Exeter to have lunch at the Claycutter's Arms before heading on to Hay Tor for an afternoon of walking.

The tor looking brooding under a cap of dark cloud; a far cry from last time we were here together, when visibility was down to 5-10 metres and we got lost trying to find the tor and ended up in the quary.

Having come prepared for the brutally cold wind, we booted up and put on our cold weather gear and made our way up the hill to the tor itself. My mum brought her trekking pole with her and proceeded to wield it like a staff of doom; on several occasions she made a spirited attempt to impale my whilst shaking her wrist to try and activate the screen on her fitbit...

My parents on their way up the hill from the visitor centre.

When we reached the top of the hill, we discovered a group abseiling down the side of the stones themselves. Then, when we went round the corner, we encountered a group of students in hi-viz vests and hard hats, apparently engaged in sketching the rock face. I was rather amused by their decision to wear construction-style hard hats rather than the climbing helmets that are more common up on the moor.

Bundled up in a down jacket, I braved the weather on the top of the tor to take a few photos. Another group climbed up after me and took a few selfies before heading down in a near-frozen state.

Looking north towards Hound Tor...

We then went on a circuitous walk that took us through Saddle Tor. Here we encountered a group of friendly Dartmoor ponies who, just as with the goats on Kalymnos, seem to have decided that the food provided by visiting humans was infinitely preferable to chomping their way through grass and gorse.

The pony hasn't spotted us yet...

My dad, who has a tendency to stride out and break trail in front of the rest of us, often feels the need to telegraph directions to those of us dawdling behind. Here, his inner Prospero seems to be showing:

"And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind."

Rather than push on to Rippon Tor — further away than it seems, thanks to the hills — we looped back and started making our way down to the car park where we inevitably found ourselves walking into the boggy source of the River Sig. Rather than risk fording it, my mum & retreated back up the hill, while my dad valiantly strode on, ignoring the inconvenience of having to walk through a stream in order to get to the top of the ridge without having to retrace his steps.

On the way down the hill, we saw a curious sight: a gorse bush threaded with cut roses.

After returning to Exeter, my parents settled into their B&B — they stayed at Raffles on Blackall Road, which they heartily recommend — before we met up again and went to the consistently excellent Curry Leaf for supper.


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September 2017

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