Friday, 20 June 2014

Carnage on the river bank

After another sweltering day we were enjoying a refreshing dip in a glorious stretch of the Dart, overhung with greenery and bordered by delicate cow parsley.  Suddenly there was triumphant barking from Buddy, Yaara's permanently excited black labrador.  He was on a big rock in the river, with a huge fish in his mouth.  We rushed over, to find him with the remains of a two foot long salmon -  all that was left of it was the head and the skeleton.   It was like one of those cartoon fishes in Tom and Jerry - pretty much all of it  had been eaten - but what remained of the flesh was a beautiful pink colour. Just to the side of the rock was evidence of the crime - fish scales and bones were everywhere.  We assume the fish had been killed by an otter - it must have been quite a fight to witness, as they were probably about the same size.  My brother Matt says the skin peeled back but still attached to the fish is characteristic of an otter kill.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Building bridges

Ever since I've lived on Dartmoor, there's been a rickety bridge to Wellsfoot Island on the River Dart, with a notice saying "Private Bridge Keep Off".  Despite that, people have always used it, but it's been getting more hazardous, increasingly resembling one of those jungle bridges that swing precariously over a chasm below.  Anyway, imagine our surprise when visiting the island tonight, to find a new bridge, constructed some time over the weekend.  It's more of a decking walkway, but perfect for the job, and how nice of someone to build it.   We took great delight in christening it, crossing with ease over to the island, and then on to the beach on the other side, where we swam in the gorgeous oval pool.   The setting sun came and went through the trees like the beam from a light house.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Research on Dartmoor

In the last few months I've been on a mission to find new places to dip on Dartmoor.  It's because my pal Matt Newbury and I have been commissioned to write a book about the Moor's amazing swimming places.  There have been a few disappointments and false dawns along the way.  Like the lovely looking blue spot on the map which was indeed a pool, but was surrounded by slurry and also had a dead sheep in it.  But in recent weeks we've had some successes.