So another year has gone by and as New Year’s Eve fast approaches it is time to reflect on the one past and look forward to the one to come.
I try to visit Exmoor National Park as often as possible for I consider it to be “home from home”. I spent a lot of my youth and early adulthood there on a remote farm not realising that I was witnessing a way of life now gone. With the benefit of hindsight I wish I’d taken many more photographs but, in the days before digital, films were both precious and expensive.
In January, I made a special trip to take a look at the new headquarters of the Exmoor Society in the pretty, little town of Dulverton. The enlarged space that they now have has meant that they it is now much easier to access the archives and seek information. If you are planning a holiday on the moor, it is well worth visiting. Click here to find out more about my day there.
February found me walking along the edge of a precipice and seeking an elderly great-aunt, fortunately not at the same time. I met Ba-ba (how she got this name is still a complete mystery) once as a boy when she was in her late nineties and she left a lasting impression on me. With everyone else that knew her now dead (I’m now the ‘old’ generation) I’ve been trying to research her. Despite the post creating a lot of interest it ended sadly without much success. Perhaps, this post might reach someone who knows who she was. To check out the detective work so far take a look here.
The Precipice Walk in Snowdonia, although not overly strenuous, is not to be attempted by the faint-hearted. Travelling clockwise, the path clings to the edge of the drop before turning back on itself alongside a more gentle and peaceful lake. If you’re afraid of heights go anti-clockwise for a delightful, if somewhat short, walk and turn around when you dare go no further. Alternatively, sit back in your armchair and take a look at the photos here.
A much longer walk, completely different in character, was described in two March posts. Dartmoor is another national park in the West Country but much harsher than Exmoor. Despite its bleakness now, in the past the climate was kinder, confirmed by the large number of Neolithic remains there.
The walk starts at a pub where according to tradition the fire has never been allowed to go out in the past two hundred years. Our path crosses the moor to the village of Postbridge, home of the famous medieval stone clapper bridge. The second part of the walk follows the river before continuing across the moor, taking in beehive huts dating back to 1500AD before arriving at the Grey Wethers stone circles. The twin circles are about two thousand years old. Reaching the stones is described here.
The history of the United States and Ireland are intertwined by mass emigration. In April I visited New Ross in the south of Ireland and the birthplace of John F Kennedy’s great-grandfather. Fifty years after JFK’s visit his sister came to light… Well, read here to find out exactly what she did. The image below might give you a clue.
I stayed with the Irish theme in May and wrote about the lovely village of Castlelyons where a friend spent her early childhood. Well off the tourist trail when you red about the place you’ll wonder why. In the meantime, we had the place to ourselves.
June is a lovely month both for walking and also for garden lovers, with hedgerows and gardens smothered in rose blossom. Continuing the theme of elderly ladies and ancient times the month’s post explored the history of Rosa de Rescht – fascinating for the mystery it holds. Incidentally, even if you a hopeless gardener (and no-one is completely so) this is the simplest of roses to grow…