Monday, February 22, 2010

gloomy dartmoor

about an hour's drive from james' mom's place lies dartmoor: a large, hilly plateau of misty bogs and tors that sticks out---literally---from the surrounding, relatively friendly devon landscape. small wonder that people have been drawn to it for millennia. those people placed stones there. we searched for some on a day trip.

over muddy hill and down squashy dale, we found this first formation---an alignment with a central standing stone. the central menhir seemed to mark the cistern of a well. or was that because water was copiously flowing down into it that day?

here's another view of the same alignment facing the opposite direction:

from this alignment we walked a straight path to another menhir surrounded by its own circle:

this is a landscape that makes it very logical and perfectly reasonable to believe in faries!

from there we spotted some interesting ridges off in the deceiving distance. one was particularly interesting: a huge earthwork! multiple piles of stones. what could it be? an ancient royal burying ground? the destination seemed popular enough. lines of people dotted the topmost ridge. off we went. as we closed in, we started to see strange anachronisms: a van, foundations of relatively modern buildings...mmm....climbing to a higher vantage, it started to make sense...those people? the army! this was an old quarry that the military used for training...the drill sergeant screamed the boys into repelling supplies and each other up and down the steep rock face. they took no notice of us. i would have taken a picture, but their camouflage blended in so well with the surroundings [like it should] that it was pointless. add another futile quarry to the journey...

we made it back to the car just in time. the sleet started to really hammer down!

a native summed up dartmoor to me pretty succinctly: clouds, mist, prison and the military. sounds about right...

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