By: Blonde Two
You know how, when you live in or spend a lot of time in a beautiful place, you become a bit possessive and refer to visitors as tourists or, even more impolitely, that wonderful West Country word – grockle? Well I, despite my campaigns to welcome people to Dartmoor, am as guilty of this lack of manners as the next Blonde.
Someone is going to tell me now that the word grockle is not a West Country word at all. I was first called one on my idyllic visits to stay with cousins on Guernsey as a youngster (I have cousins in very convenient holiday places!) My research on the origins of grockle sadly suggests that, coming from the Midlands and therefore “Up-Country”, I probably actually am one.
Let’s say that I am not a Dartmoor grockle (other tourists are available) for a moment, and pretend that, like Blonde One, I was born in the shadow of the moors (slight artistic licence there). I am sure you other Devon Dumplings will admit to being surprised at the things people stop to take photos of. If you search the internet for Dartmoor photos, you will see clapper bridges (understandable), bikes (cyclists are odd creatures), grass (just random grass), Haytor (so many pictures of Haytor) and lots and lots of ponies.
It would appear to be the ponies that get people the most excited. They make funny noises (the people not the ponies), they feed them (not a good idea) and they park in strange places to take photos from their cars. The ponies are lovely, but I guess I have tended to take them, the grass and even the gorse for granted. It is a shame to think that we might become complacent to such important elements of our loved environment.
Not this weekend, however. This weekend, I spent a fair amount of time worrying that I had, indeed become a true grockle. The grass was amazingly green, the gorse brilliantly yellow and I leant out of the car (poor Blonde One was very patient about stopping) to take photos of just about everything (except the blue sheep). Most of all, I was surprised to see the ponies – the thing is, that in the rest of the world, ponies don’t wander all over the place doing exactly what they want and I had forgotten that here, on Dartmoor, they are allowed to.
I would like to point out here that visitors are very much welcome to Dartmoor and that I understand, after some time away, even better now why they do come. By the end of our rather wet walk, I felt at home again and not at all grockley. It is good to be back!