Thursday, 13 December 2012

A winter journey

The other day, we had to drive across Dartmoor to attend a meeting. It was one of those brilliant but cold days and you could see for miles. I'm afraid that it would have needed a better photographer than I am to justice to the sheer majesty of the moor on such days. As we drove up onto Holne Moor, the sun suddenly lit up hills beyond Buckland-in-the-Moor.

I love the contrast between the evergreen gorse in the foreground with the golden glow of the dying bracken on the further hills and the slash of buff yellow where the winter grasses are catching the sun. 

As we drove up from the River Dart at Hexworthy, I spotted this old (and very nearly dead) hawthorn growing in the wall. It may be on its last legs but it is home to some wonderful lichens.

As we turned the next corner, there was an even more spectacular display. This tree remains healthy - you can see the red berries which will, no doubt, provide a decent meal for a passing blackbird.

We weren't the only ones enjoying the sunshine. These people will spend the winter up on the open moorland, their thick coats protecting them from the cold and the wind. As you can see from the frost which still remains on the grass up here, it was not the warmest of days.

These cattle are really beautiful, aren't they?

On the way home again, we stopped off for a warming cup of tea at Two Bridges Hotel where, to my surprise, the hotel geese were on parade in the car park. I say to my surprise since I have never seen them here before: they are usually down by the river.

The temperature began to drop quite rapidly, as you can see, and we were very glad to be on the way home.

As we headed south, the mist began to form in the valleys below but from the colour of the sky it seemed likely that the next day would be just as fine. And it was.