By: Blonde One

Rowan and Holly Hartland TorYesterday was a lovely day out for the Two Blondes apart from one very frustrating part! We have mentioned before that we have a ‘Dartmoor 365’ book that lists interesting things to find in each of the 365 square miles of Dartmoor. We decided that since we were in the vicinity of a few of these, we would try to find them and cross them off the list of finds. Usually these things are fairly easy to find: they always have a grid reference, have a little pencil drawing to accompany them and a short description of their location. In the past we have found medieval field systems, milestones and wells without too much effort. Yesterday, however, was not easy and did require a lot of effort – all to no avail! This particular item was a memorial stone to a science teacher from Liverpool called William Donaghy. He was found in 1914 near the East Dart just north of Postbridge. It as never been discovered why he was in this area but amongst his possessions were some gold coins and a cloakroom ticket from Exeter railway station which revealed a bag containing a gun and ammunition. It is a fascinating story and invites some speculation regarding the activity of spies in England during this time! We had fun yesterday wondering about poor old William! I did also curse him as I tried and tried to find his memorial. I wish he had died in a more easily accessible location and not one that was covered waist deep in prickly gorse. A good hour was spent scrambling from one rock to another looking for the blasted memorial, but I finally had to admit defeat and have a Ribena and jelly baby instead.

A plea from one very frustrated Dartmoor walker: if you know where this stone is, please tell me, giving very detailed instructions as to how to find it. I feel that it is generally very illusive as my internet search this morning has only revealed photos and no concrete advice on how to find it!

In the meantime, I apologise to William Donaghy for cursing his final resting place, but I’m glad to say that he didn’t haunt us on our night walk!