By: Blonde Two

Like many Dartmoor lovers, I dream of one day living on the moor itself; in cosy isolation, surrounded only by tors and sheep. My recent trip to Scotland (I am almost returned) was an opportunity to dip a toe in the water of isolation and test whether or not I liked the temperature.

The Cottage (let’s leave its name at that) sat in the ‘Folds of Corryhabbie’. Access was off the road, about a mile down a lane, onto a rough track, through a ford and through a gate (gates in Scotland, I have decided, are for keeping things out rather than for keeping them in.) Had I needed to, I could have walked to the road for help, but it would have taken me a while. I had two visible neighbours, both across the valley and through fords of their own. On three sides were hills steep enough to make even a Blonde think twice about walking up them; but they were there and I could and did if I wanted to.

There were some wonderful things about being so separate:

The noise was the first. I had imagined that silence would be complete, but in this I was very wrong. Nature is a vociferous creature, and the variety and constancy of sound was a surprise. The wind, the trees, the sheep, the birds (such a variety of odd bird calls); all combined to produce a most relaxing melody; one I could tune in and out of at will and one that made me feel very peaceful.

The air came next. Rarely have I smelt air so fresh and clear. It couldn’t be described as empty because of the notes (guess who has been whisky tasting) of pine and peat that hovered on it; but it was lovely air and you could see right through it.

And finally the freedom. In a world where nobody else is watching, you really can do what you want; maybe wander ‘en deshabille’ out of the house to watch a sunrise, or sit on your garden bench at midnight, or stroll around the garden in a towel as you drip-dry from your shower. I did all of these, it was liberating and very relaxing.

Of course, on holiday you don’t need to get to work on time and it doesn’t matter if you have to shop at the little Coop on the corner. Would the isolation work in real life or not? I am not sure, but a little taste of it has made me want to try it and find out. Maybe it is time to put ‘Plan Dartmoor’ into action!