How wrong could a forecast be? I’d be annoyed, if I didn’t have the local knowledge that Dartmoor is anything but predictable. Still, I should have known better. It’s not the first time I have underestimated this terrain, and it won’t be the last. Someone wise once told me that you always owe Dartmoor an extra layer, and today is no exception to this rule.
Dartmoor is a 394 square mile National Park in the South West of England. Rising to a high-point of 2,037ft, technically it meets the criteria for being classed as a mountain, but nobody ever claims that. See, Dartmoor is unique. It’s not a place that can be labelled, or described and understood, it is somewhere that needs to be experienced. You can’t appreciate its fickle personality, its cantankerous conditions or its rawness unless you have ridden there and felt the burn of the wind and witnessed an achingly beautiful view teasingly disappear in a matter of seconds.
Dartmoor’s rich fabric, visible on the hillsides, showcases the history of people farming and living on its land since around 4,000BC, so it’s no surprise that its mystifying personality has given rise to so much myth and legend. Some tales are of course fanciful, fuelled by one too many ales. Others, the ones that make you wonder and make you glance over your shoulder when the mist is swirling, are much more sinister.