By: Blonde Two
We Blondes do love a storm. Which is just as well because we often seem to find ourselves out on Dartmoor in the most inclement of weather. Last weekend we were up in Princetown, precariously positioned between storms Ellen and Francis, and enjoying the sun/mist/rain cycle that you seem to so often get in windy weather.
If Dartmoor was fed up about the weather she wasn’t showing it. Hardly surprising really when she had so many lovely visitors to cheer her up. Blonde One and I had some great conversations with people who were obviously new to the moor and keen to find out what it had to offer. Recent issues and media reactions might suggest that Dartmoor is currently a less than friendly place to be but we would beg to differ.
We had a really warm welcome when we popped in to say ‘hello’ at the National Park Visitor Centre. The shop is open and the staff are as friendly and helpful as they have always been. Sadly at the moment you can’t view any exhibitions or use the toilets but there are loos available just around the corner in the car park.
We also had a lovely conversation with a young couple from Bristol who were thinking about buying a new tent. Our Blonde ears always prick up at the hint of camping kit conversations, and Fox Tor Cafe is such a friendly and relaxed place, it didn’t take us long to join in. We chatted about weight, pack size and hydrostatic head (waterproofing) and helped the couple decide where to go to buy their new tent. What was even more lovely was that another lady also joined in and offered the couple a tent to borrow if they wanted to camp that night. It was one of those conversations that make you feel warm inside and quite pleased to be a human being. I briefly saw the couple again the next day (in Fox Tor Cafe of course). They very excitedly reported they had bought their new tent and were very pleased with it. She especially so with the colour, he with the smart tent pegs. They have promised to let us know how they get on in their new purchase this weekend.
Another heart-warming chat was with a chap who had come up with his daughter from East Devon. We were drying camping gear and this sparked a conversation about the rights and wrongs of wild camping on Dartmoor. He disappeared for a while then came back with his daughter to ask us about letter boxing. We assured him there was almost certainly a letterbox at the tor we were next to so hopefully they had fun finding it.
There has been a lot of unhappy Dartmoor news in the press over recent months but we would like to share the glad tidings that this only presents one side of the story. Dartmoor is still beautiful, still smiling in her rather odd damp way, and still welcoming friendly visitors from all over the UK.