By: Blonde Two

By Blonde Two

We haven’t done this before; but below is a comment that was posted on our blog last week. We were both so touched by it, that we wanted to share it with all of you:

Undermining. What an appropriate, tragic and seemingly accurate word that is. I was first introduced to Dartmoor through school in 1972, and it has proven to be the experience I remember most fondly about those days.

I still go there now, so that first trip gave me an interest that has lasted all these years. The positive results would be too many to list individually; but principles overlap into many of the duties and tasks we will all have to perform in living – confidence, self-reliance, teamwork, learning, rising to and overcoming a challenge, fitness and general well-being, a means of escaping the humdrum and tedious, something to pass on to others for their potential benefit, and so on…

I regard the teachers involved in my first trip as having provided a gift for life, and it is a wonderful one with enormous benefits that are still increasing. I wonder what later generations will take forwards from their schooldays through the rest of their lives; and as time goes by, and I see what schooling has become, I think it’s sad for the people experiencing modern “education” to see some of the areas that are being neglected. Only those like yourselves, and others who see and personally know the long-term and perhaps life-changing benefits that can come to some of the kids who undertake these experiences and challenges, can truly know the incredibly wide range of advantages that may result. Any loss of that is not just a personal tragedy I think, but a national one. I consider it a short-sighted disgrace – but hey, what do I know, and how does my opinion count eh?

Connection with one of the better “outdoor activity” centres for schools makes me aware that outside activity isn’t for everyone; but it is nevertheless an immensely useful awareness that life exists beyond the PC or mobile phone screen. For others it switches on an interest that shines in them like a light – an enthusiasm for a suddenly recognised experience or capability that should be encouraged, not buried under paperwork, technology and all that is necessary to satisfy Ofsted reports or accountants spreadsheets.

I will continue to be the solo bimbler who passes these groups on the moor with a sincere “Well done folks” for all they’re doing (and leaders too!), and the odd looks from the bedraggled won’t matter, as long as a bit of cheer and warmth from the comment is gained for one or two; or the later question “Did you see that old bloke…” encourages one of two to reflect or to carry on or, who knows, becomes the old bloke or bloke-ess still enjoying the moor themselves in years to come.

Keep going ladies, our kids need you, and one day that’ll again get the recognition it deserves. One or two of the once-young may even thank you for it later – by text message or Facebook of course! I’ve known it myself from people I have taught “curious” things like Morse Code that sparked(!) a career, or a visit to the moor that has made people aware of a whole new activity and place to go for enjoyment and even take their spouses/family along to share, and that too is curiously warming on a wet cold day.

BTW I think I’ve seen you with a happy group near Princetown and a couple of times at Fox Tor Cafe, where at least the owner seemed to treat you properly – I’d have checked the identity or said “well done” personally if I’d been more certain! Like me from what I’d seen, all these people were smiling or joking about. Don’t forget you’re partially responsible for that moment. It matters, and some times it matters more than e=mc squared. That’s Relativity for you. I’ll wink next time, which may or may not get me in trouble if it isn’t you!

Rich B.