By: Blonde Two
The Two Blondes’ latest Dartmoor expedition on Saturday was really more of an extended Bimble, except that Bimbles don’t usually have 25 young people in them, maybe it was a Yimble (Youth Bimble). We really didn’t walk far at all but spent a lot of time teaching navigation basics and laughing at antics. Much of our time was spent in or around the Swincombe Valley; not the mushy bit up at Foxtor Mires – that would be too cruel for a first time out, but rather, the pretty bit around the Fairy Bridge.
Indeed, Blonde One and her team spent quite a lot of time looking for said fairy at the Fairy Bridge but it would appear that she has done a runner (or do fairies do flutters instead?) I have a private theory, that she is, as we blog, making her careful way across Dartmoor to adorn the top of the Dartmoor Christmas Tree (the fairy, not Blonde One). Fairies are, of course, excellent navigators which is just as well as the exact location of the Dartmoor Christmas Tree is secret. (I now have the giggles at the thought of Blonde One sat on top of a Christmas tree in her gaiters and baseball cap!)
Parts of the Swincombe Valley are very lucky to still be there for us all to explore. In the 1930s, it was the suggested site for a reservoir and the battle was still being fought over it in the 1970s. I am grateful to those who campaigned against the proposal. Reservoirs can be lovely spots but they are man-made and Dartmoor has never needed any help from us when it comes to beauty. We didn’t follow the Swincombe upstream on Saturday but if you do, and get past the man-made intake, you come to a wild and untamed bit of moorland that (although boggy in the extreme) allows you to feel truly “away from it all”.
At the Fairy Bridge end of the Swincombe (near to the Gobbett tin mine works) are the remains of two houses. Dolly Trebble’s house only really has a fireplace left now, she and her six children are long gone which is probably just as well as some of our youngsters misheard me and have now christened her Dolly Dribble. John Bishop’s house is much more together and still had a roof in 1971. This may, or may not be why one young man asked me why John Bishop the comedian would live in such a wild place.
It is always good to see an old favourite place through new eyes. I will never be able to cross the Fairy Bridge again without thinking about Dolly, dribbling as she stares disapprovingly over the wall at a rather lewd Liverpudlian comedian.