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Dramatic Dartmoor

You never quite feel like you are in charge when on Dartmoor
An invisible thread dictating your choices without making itself known
A sense that Dartmoor allows you to see what it wants you to see
So, you must be courageous to leave yourself open to the whims of the moor

Way markers mysteriously sucked into the moors leaving the hiker disorientated
Challenging you to keep moving forward in this barren landscape
The intrepid hiker knowing there are secrets to find if they stay resolute
This nowhere land trying to protect its identity except from the most unyielding

As the hiker starts to fall into a quiet acceptance of the moors attempts to challenge
The wind slowly raises its voice and attempts to shout you off your rhythmic stride
The misty rain persistently tries to drown out your positive thoughts
And the cold seeps under your vulnerable skin trying to weaken your resolve

You start to feel like you are the only person who exists on this isolated moor
The openness and emptiness start to play tricks with your thoughts
The doubt and criticism start to creep into your tired and exposed psyche
Leaving the hiker with a choice to push through or hand over all power to the moor

Your mind and body need rest, but you can’t just lay your weary head anywhere
We climb up to Hookney Tor desperate for respite from the discouraging conditions
The rocks offering us some protection from the elements for a small period of time
Could we respectfully put up our canvas shelter on this ancient Tor?

Our minds and bodies gave us no choice, they had no energy left to keep wandering
The wind through the rocks sounding like murmurs of ghosts from the past
Comforting and accepting of our daily efforts to become part of the moor
Gently giving us permission to rest our weary selves, like travellers of old would do

As we waited for dusk, we sat protected by the Tor drinking in the dramatic horizon
Looking at Grimspound stone circle below us imagining the mythical happenings
Slowly becoming part of a landscape that will teach you secrets of old
But only if you stay the path and open yourself up to be free from limitations

Our determination has let us become part of this landscape’s history
Our footprints permanently part of the stories whispered by the wind between the rocks
Our pilgrimage is now part of the past, present and future of this prehistoric scene
Our connection to the world has grown through the encounter with Dartmoor

And tomorrow we will get back up and do it all over again
Because we are hikers and that is what we do
We search for challenge, freedom, and the right to live the life we want
So will always continue to just put one foot in front of the other.

Written by Mark Wood after wild camping in Dartmoor June 2022.

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