I recently came home from a very enjoyable and relaxing family holiday on the borders of Devon and North Cornwall. On the return journey I wanted to take a small detour and visit the town of Bovey Tracey, which lies on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park, and more specifically to go and see the granite outcrop of Haytor. This is perhaps the most recognisable and accessible of all the Dartmoor Tors, so on arrival I was not surprised to find a visitor centre, car and coach park catering for the tourists. Fortunately the weather was inclement and the number of people clambering up the relatively easy hill to reach Haytor were few.
I wanted to return mainly for sentimental reasons. I have fond memories of family holidays in this part of Devon when I was in my mid teens, some forty plus years ago (take large gulp…… and ask how is that possible?) and had not been back since. Life moves on and sadly both my parents and my sister have all passed away in the intervening years. My wife stayed by the car to photograph the very tame Dartmoor ponies and I walked up the hill with my grown up daughter and our dog.
I was pleased that the rocks of Haytor were just as I had remembered them; exposed to the elements but to my eyes nothing had really changed. My memory of Haytor is now as it was when I was a teenager. Still proud and strong, still dramatic and still commanding spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. It felt good to be back experiencing this great location with my own family and for a few moments to stand quietly, touch the stone, and reminisce about past times.
It was also good to be reminded that some things change and some things remain the same, which is just as well, as we all need a ‘rock of stability’ in our lives.