On the Bodmin Moor
As I approached the Bodmin Moor in the northeast of Cornwall, all the rides I received told me that if I were still travelling near dark, I should decline any rides which were not taking me all the way through the moor — that I should under no circumstances be left on the moor after dark. [This took place a few days before the Tubular Stonehenge tale in the spring of 1974.] A couple of them explained that the wild critters on the moor were dangerous. Others shared the common belief that the Bodmin Moor is the basis for Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskerville. Others state that nearby Dartmoor is the source.
I soon received a ride from a retired doctor who invited me to join him and his wife for lunch at their sheep farm. He explained that they lived near the far edge of the moor. I accepted the offer. He and his wife had retired from their London jobs as doctor and nurse and purchased the sheep farm. It was early spring, lambing season, and my birthday. My hosts invited me to come out to see their flock. They handed me a brand newborn lamb. I was moved to hold a critter born 22 years and some minutes after me.
The previous two rides happened on my break between Hilary and Trinity terms at college, I had a wild, fun trip around Great Britain featuring a week-long jaunt from John O’Groats Scotland to Land’s End, Cornwall — the northeastern-most point to the southwestern-most.
Other tales from that break yet to be written include:
- Spending the night in jail in Wick
- Walking along the north coast of Scotland singing the tenor part of the madrigal Happy Are we Met, coming around a corner to find a farmer with a sense of humor — said to me “Sounds like somebody’s happy.”
- Getting a ride in Wales from 3 guys who explain this part of Wales hasn’t seen the sun in weeks and weeks
- Getting a ride with a young couple from Berlin. She speaks 5 languages; none of which is English; he speaks English that is worse than my German. I speak German with them so that they both can participate; he speaks English so he can show off. They kept me with them for 3 days; insisting on paying for a night in a B&B when there was no hostel nearby.