By: Blonde Two
Whilst we were out looking for bluebells last week, the Two Blondes invented a new plant. Well, we like to think that we invented it but it is more likely that we saw it for the first time. We christened our cotton-woolly new finding “bog cotton” and were very smug about our inventiveness and flair for words until internet research showed that it is in fact called … wait for it … you won’t believe this … Bog Cotton! Well, it seems to have lots of names, cotton-grass being one and the very posh “eriophorum angustifolium” being another. I rather like latin plant names and am going to try to remember that one so that I can show off when I am faced with a bunch of tor namers or hill top racers.
We first noticed it as we were driving (roof down – how girlie and Blondie) up towards Hemsworthy Gate. Patches of the grass looked as though they had turned white in a “just started snowing” kind of way. On closer inspection, Bog Cotton lives up to its (real or invented) name, it looks like cotton wool on the end of bits of grass and appears to always be in a bog. This fact proved to be a very useful navigation aid as we were pottering around looking for a route between Emsworthy (bluebells) and Holwell (more bluebells). Blonde One likes to “always trust her compass” – I am going to “always trust the bog cotton” from now on. It was easy navigation, bog cotton – wet feet, no bog cotton – dry feet. This will, hopefully, explain the less than perfect photo – I couldn’t get any nearer without a bog dunking.
We had to take a fair few uphill diversions to avoid the bog cotton and its soggy roots. It was during one of these that I found another fantastic navigation aid – this is an old fashioned but portable aid and is commonly known as the navisheep. Navisheep can be seen all over Dartmoor, they have cute babies but make rubbish points to aim for on the horizon because they don’t stay still. They do, however, know their way through bogs – if you can’t decide quite which way will be the driest, find a flock of navisheep and follow them wherever they are going. I can guarantee that your feet will be drier than they would otherwise have been.
So if you ever forget your trusty compass or lose your faithful friend – don’t dispare – you can rely on good old bog cotton and the navisheep to get you out of deep water!