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Tuesday
Oct202009

Dartmoor - 12/13 October 2009

MBG had the week off, so we decided to spend part of it on a mini break to Dartmoor, before moving on to Bournemouth to see my son.

Dartmoor in autumn - a lovely part of the country!

We travelled down on Monday, pausing in Somerset to visit my Mother. We arrived at our hotel in the early evening. I have a huge affection for Dartmoor, having spent quite a lot of time there over the years, most particularly fishing the West Dart.

I am not going to mention the name of the hotel that we stayed at because it is likely that my expectations probably exceeded the limits of commercial reality. I spent most of my career staying in hotels of all qualities, and I have never ceased to be bemused how a service industry can function on the basis of providing a minimal amount of service. Our Dartmoor hotel was, in fact, fine. The room was clean, and the evening meal was adequate. However, for what was in reality a barely two star hotel, it was expensive. Worse (in my mind) was the fact that the lady who checked us in, and served dinner, was blase in the extreme and treated us like idiots. I am afraid I got very snappy. Things were a lot better on the second night.

On Tuesday, we set off on what was to be a general tour of the moor. We had barely travelled much more than a mile when we encountered a mini drama. The local hunt had an early morning meet before setting out across the moor. Unfortunately, one lady had a nasty fall probably 500-600 metres from the nearest road. The air ambulance was just landing as we arrived. They stabilised her, and fairly quickly flew her off to hospital. We were told that she had a broken pelvis. Thank goodness for the air ambulance, I hate to think how difficult it would have been to stretcher her to the road.

Air Ambulance on Dartmoor

We then moved on, but we hadn't travelled far before we encountered Dartmoor ponies. Now, MBG is animal mad and, apparently, spent most of her youth falling off horses. We therefore had to stop while MBG made friends with the whole herd.

MBG is the one in the pink body warmer!

Well, she would have made friends with the whole herd, but one of the ponies decided to adopt her and continually knocked the others out of the way. When it was time to go, it practically got into the back of the car and fastened its seat belt!

We then moved on to Tavistock where we discovered a genuine (non-tourist) indoor market, and a very helpful cheese store.

Then back onto the moor and the obligatory look at Dartmoor Prison at Princetown.

Dartmoor Prison. It does NOT look a nice place!

We then crossed the moor the 'other' way, northwards towards Bovey, and then turning back inwards via Widdecome.

The West Dart near Two Bridges

No visual representation, no matter how brief, would be complete without a picture of at least one of what used to be pack-horse bridges...

The West Dart - near Hexworthy

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