Ah, university. How distant the library shelves and lecture halls seem to me now. But I can still clearly remember one Sunday afternoon when I was hit by a mid-term crisis, in the thick of deadlines and lectures and seminars and year abroad applications. So what do you do when you feel like throwing in the towel? Why, embark on a wet and windy escapade to Dartmoor of course!
The moors of this national park seem to be shrouded by a constant cloak of mist. The atmosphere has a unique earthy dampness which hangs in the air, covering everything from the moss-covered rocks to the wild ponies that stand glumly against the howling winds. No matter how bright and cheerful the weather may seem upon leaving Exeter, as soon as our car rattles across the cattle grid-guarded entrance to this ethereal realm, we are subjected to an attack of the elements. Our car is shaken by blustery winds, pummelled by a sudden gale of rain and as we hastily fumble for the windscreen wiper, eyes leaving the road for a millisecond, we’ve already been swallowed up by a thick fog that has descended from the green hills.
We decide to make the climb up to Haytor, a granite rocky peak, but before we’ve even reached the halfway point we’re knocked backwards by gale force winds. Mud-sliding then becomes an excellent idea, and we toboggan down the slope on our mud-stained backsides. In need of a roaring fire and some local cider, we hunt down the nearest cosy country pub to warm up and dry off, before heading back to student life in Exeter.
That’s certainly one way of clearing away the cobwebs!