By: Blonde Two

Monday sees the start of National Parks Week. Blonde One and I will be celebrating in true Blonde style with the second of this summer’s series of ‘Navigation for Beginners’ workshops.

National Parks 5

I do like a National Park, there are fifteen in the UK (we Blondes challenge you to name them all). In fact I like National Parks so much that in one recent week, I visited (and wild swam in) three different ones. Not only that, one of these was the most southerly and one the most northerly, not bad going!

National Parks 8

The Cairngorms, Dartmoor and Exmoor definitely all live up to the slogan, ‘Britain’s Breathing Spaces’. All have both wide, open and secluded, hidden places, in which we can explore, forget our cares and worries and get away from the hustle and bustle of our crowded world; but yet (and rather marvellously), they are very different to each other. I could wax lyrically about each for a long time, but to save the word count, here are some Blonde numbers:

National Parks 3

Highest Hills (unbelievably still two to conquer):
Cairngorms (Ben McDui 1309m)
Dartmoor (High Willhays 621m)
Exmoor (Dunkery Beacon 519m)

National Parks 7

Numbers of Insects (utters rude word and rubs bites)
Cairngorms (really a lot, mostly midges)
Dartmoor (not too many, watch out for the forests)
Exmoor (everything that flies or crawls will bite you!)

National Parks 4

Rainfall (let’s face it, there will be lots):
Cairngorms (2250 mm on summits)
Dartmoor (1974 mm average
Exmoor (2000 mm on the Chains)

National Parks 6

Critters (just the highlights):
Cairngorms (must surely win with reindeer)
Dartmoor (lynx – might be more impressive than reindeer)
Exmoor (everything that flies or crawls will bite you!)

National Parks 1

Ambience (all perfect in their own way):
Cairngorms (you can truly walk into the middle of nowhere)
Dartmoor (a wild and eerie, but traversable landscape)
Exmoor (more accessible by road but some steep, dark valleys)

National Parks 2

Blonde Places (so many to choose from):
Cairngorms (Glen Derry Lodge as the sun sets/doesn’t set)
Dartmoor (the East Dart Waterfall on a wild January day)
Exmoor (Dunkery Beacon as the sea mist dissipates to reveal the Welsh coast)

We Blondes would do well, perhaps, to remember how lucky we are living so near to one of our National Parks. If you don’t, or if you haven’t visited one in a while, take your pick and go for it. You won’t regret it, we all need a breathing space!

As for us, well we are off on our own Blonde Gold expedition soon; to another of the Fab Fifteen. Can you guess which one?