Wet, craggy, cold, lonely.
Dartmoor, in Southwest England, is one of those places you drive through somewhere between Bath and Stonehenge when you tour the UK. It’s not one of those top-of-mind destinations; after all, not too many people live in the area, except in Princetown where Dartmoor Prison is.
Oops! It seems like we started off on the wrong foot. Let’s start over, OK?
Did I mention Dartmoor is wet? Yes, and craggy and cold and lonely. But perhaps that is what I found appealing about it. Somehow I found this kind of raw romanticism more real than the perfect sunny-day-at-the-beach and postcard-ready variety – or in this day, Instagram-ready variety.
Rather than a prison, I find that Dartmoor represents freedom. This rugged and honest place –where nature wears no clothes of pretension – it makes you feel welcome, without question about your right to exist and just be yourself.
These photos from a few years ago were taken from a bus on a rainy day (so what else is new?). I was mesmerized by the landscape and its character. I was snapping photos as we went, not paying too much attention to the images. It turned out the camera often focused on the raindrops on the bus window, which meant the scenery was not sharp, and of course the moving bus meant the foreground was blurred too.
Still, I find the photos captured the experience well – a sense of transitory freedom.
The sun did break out occasionally.
And we stopped where some free-roaming, wild Dartmoor ponies were nearby.
Heeding Dartmoor’s call will always be a lingering wish, a fantasy perhaps, but one that is worth remembering and going back to.
(More info about Dartmoor and the Dartmoor pony.)