Last Autumn Rob and I went for a drive to Haytor in Dartmoor. Every time I drive into Dartmoor the sign ‘please drive with moor care’ makes me chuckle. We chose a wet, windy day for our walk – seems to be a running theme. But then it is autumn so that possibly has something to do with it as well. So we donned our wet weather gear and trudged on through the elements.
The Haytor Giant’s Toes
As we walked up Haytor you could see the great stones looking down on you. The stones look as though a giant decided to have a wee kip only for it to turn into a such a long kip that the earth grew over and only leaving his toes sticking out. He must have been tired.
You can tell it would have been a male giant because his toes are all wrinkly and gross if it was a female giant she would have delicate dainty toes, most likely with red nail polish because she would have been a sultry giant. The terrain does lead the imagination to images of giants as it’s so rugged, harsh, isolated and rocky.
A giant could have happily lived there doing gianty things such as playing stone football, stomping up and down hills and seeing how far they could flick ponies across the moors, cries of “weeeeee!” echoing around as ponies cartwheel through the air.
Speaking of ponies. I want one. As we stomped up Haytor, much like the Giants would of, only slightly smaller, we saw loads of ponies. The first one we stopped to talk to was rather unfriendly and uninterested in conversation so we let him be. One further up the hill was a little more receptive to our attention, by receptive of our attention, I of course mean it tried to bite me. I chose to take that as a sign of welcome.
One of the ponies tried to take off with my glove as well, they aren’t short of vegetation to eat so perhaps it just wanted variety in its diet. They are hardy little buggers those ponies though. They kind of
I chose to take that as a sign of welcome. One of the ponies tried to take off with my glove as well, they aren’t short of vegetation to eat so perhaps it just wanted variety in its diet. They are hardy little buggers those ponies though. They kind of have to be really standing out in the moors year round exposed to the harsh elements.
We reached the giant’s toes soon enough, it must have been a fairly sizeable giant as the stones were huge. I wouldn’t like to think about the size of the rest of him. You know what they say about men with big feet. Big shoes. Imagine trying to find some in his size. Anywho I think it’s time to move past the giant for now.
Back to ponies! There were *moor* (ha! See what I did there?) ponies dotted around the other stones beside the toes (possibly a strewn shoe tossed aside). Very picturesque these stoic little ponies standing nestled amongst gigantic Haytor stones with rugged terrain close behind them and rolling misty hills further in the background. Postcard material if the camera wasn’t fogged up.
We decided to climb the rock to take in the view. The wind was incredibly strong on the top of the rock. We had to turn our heads away from it as it was stinging our eyes it was so strong. Not the best idea when you already have the beginnings of an earache, the wind was pounding my ears. It was invigorating sitting up there in the wild wind, shouting to be heard with an absolutely stunning 360 degree panoramic view of scattered rocks, little villages embraced by mist covered rolling hills, the road winding through the landscape like a river and even a faint rainbow in the distance. It makes you feel alive.
The Road Less Travelled
We attempted to climb the toes but got about halfway up before realising how utterly unsafe it was with the wind being as strong as it was so set off to explore more of Haytor to find the quarry. After a roundabout way of getting there, stumbling through low lying bushes, over moss covered rocks, through thick mud and little potholes instead of the path that cut through the middle we came across the quarry.
I wasn’t expecting it. It was carved right into the ground and you couldn’t see it until you were right on it. I didn’t even see it when we were up on the rocks. It was very dramatic looking, huge cliffs of stone made a really large hole in the ground with other large stones lying at the bottom abandoned.
As we walked down to the bottom of the quarry in pursuit of the entrance I imagined myself as a mountain goat, skipping from rock to rock. I would quite like to be a mountain goat in one of my next lives, it would only be a short life, however, I’m not very agile or graceful and I am known to be clumsy on the odd occasion, those coupled with my tendency to drift off and daydream makes for an unfortunate mountain goat experience.
I would quite like to be a mountain goat in one of my next lives, it would only be a short life, however. I’m not very agile or graceful and I am known to be clumsy on the odd occasion. Those coupled with my tendency to drift off and daydream makes for an unfortunate mountain goat experience.
We found another quarry a short walk away. It was like a whole other world walking into that one. The first view you are faced with is a little lake with trees dangling in it, an old rusty piece of machinery, huge rock cliffs and green grass. It was a little magical oasis in the middle of the wild, rugged terrain of Haytor we had just been traipsing around in.
It was so peaceful in there sheltered somewhat from the wind, feeling like the only people in the world. As we stopped to have our snack I was transfixed looking around. The wind was making ripples speed across the top of the water, the cliffs looked powerful standing over us, trees looked barren and worn and the lone piece of machinery looked lost.
Snow White’s Humble Abode
My first thought when we entered the quarry nestled beside Haytor, was that this was where the seven dwarves used to live. I could picture them building their house amongst the rocks, singing as they marched up, down and around the rocky paths. Snow White singing as the sun honed down on the lake and birds made the beds for her, why can’t birds do that in real life? Lazy little so and so’s.
I think Dartmoor is one of my favourite places in England. It looks so vastly different each time you visit. It will look amazing covered in snow in a few weeks which I’m hoping to see. There is something wild and free about Dartmoor, beautiful and harsh at the same time.
Let me know in the comments where your favourite place in the world is. Maybe I’ll put it on my bucket list