Learning to Walk On Dartmoor3 minute read

I’ve been spending the last three days learning how to walk properly.

For those of you who have always known there was something excessively aquatic about my gait, I’m afraid that I have merely been training to become a Hill and Moorland Walk Leader.

What that means for me is lots of tramping, stomping and yomping across terrain ill-suited to my boots, which are, in turn, ill-fitted to my feet.

But what that means for this blog post is that it’s already 9pm and I’m squeezing in what writing I can with my laptop on my knees, my knees on a chair and that chair on a train clattering its way to a south coast resort best known for its twin Harvester restaurants.

Now, I suppose I could have written this post a few days ago, knowing that I would be spending the rest of the week on Dartmoor.

But then all I could have written about is the minor incident in which the car hire company (yes, I can drive!) upgraded me at no extra cost to what was effectively a Tiger Moth tank.

When it comes to cars these days, I feel like a great-uncle seeing a distant removable cousin for the first time in six months: My haven’t you grown!

My rented vehicle was exactly the sort of behemoth that, as an ardent cyclist, I usually bemoan. The SUV, a Renault, towered over the road, with the driver (me) a helpless mosquito in the cockpit.

Whatever happened to Nicole and Papa?

Despite the looming irony, I am grateful that I didn’t (to my knowledge) murder any cyclists, although I did very nearly have an altercation with a grazing of ponies.

But, you know, my graded-up monster truck did have in-built SatNav. Ooh, plus plus plus! … When you walked away from the so-called car with the key in your pocket it automatically locked the doors.

So probably worth the manslaughter charge anyway.


The only other incident of note before I stepped onto the moor was my arrival at the bunkhouse in Princetown.

When I sauntered into the attached pub to announce myself (having killed a family of four in the car park without really noticing), the barman smiled warmly and said, There are 11 of you, right?

Er, no. Not really. I mean, I can see why you’d think that thing outside is a minibus, but no.

Yeah, yeah, I’m sure there was 11 of you in the book. Let’s have a look.

(Cue much shuffling of leaves in the bookings ledger.)

See, look!

(We peruse the booking there indicated.)

It’s a half-sloshed local who has the tact to point out: You lummock – you’re looking at October.

We scrabble forward another couple of months and, in triumph, the barman jabs a finger down on today’s date: 11-13 David Charles.

See!

Erm. Right. I think what’s happened there is that you’ve confused the dates I am lodging – the 11th to the 13th – with the number of people that make up my party.

You lummock!

Anyway, the upshot of that little incident was that I had the entire bunkhouse to myself. Probably a good thing as I spent most of my resting hours completely naked thanks to the over-enthusiastic central heating.

So, yeah. Not much to write about this week. Sorry.

Published by

David

David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.