This is probably the longest title so far from any of my blogs, hope it is as intetresting as the title.
Over the weekend I ran another Hill and Moorland Leader Training course. I had six candidates attend and what a fun and informative course it was. Blessed with clear but cloudy skies and little wind it made for good walking weather. Only on the Monday did the thick mist arrive. It was however very mild for the time of year. Whilst out and about we spotted Snipe, Golden Plover and a Minotaur Beetle. The usual suspects like Ravens and Buzzards made their mandatory fly pasts.
The Minotaur Beetle was an interesting character and has a great name from Greek Mythology. This dung beetle has three protruding horns facing forward making it quite distinctive amongst the other beetles on the moor. The Minotaur, in case you were wondering was half Bull and half Man. It was imprinsoned in a Labyrinth and took delight in eating anyone who crossed its path. Unlucky though for him a plucky individual called Theseus entered the Labyrinth with a ball of string and slayed the beast. I think he used his sword to slay the beast and the string to find his way out. Otherwise he would have had difficulties trying to tie down a mythical creature using knots from a macrame manual. The Minotaur Beetle that we found had an antenna missing. Maybe it was a battle wound from when it escaped from a blow from Theseus the Newt.
Over the last few days I have spotted some pretty impressive funghi, especially great examples of Fly Agaric. These are the type of funghi that we will all draw if asked, with its bright red colour and white spots it is easily recognisable. Apparently vikings used to fire themselves up for battle with these as they are halloucinogenic. Too much though can cause death, reason enough not to try them. Mind you, if I were a viking going into battle it might be the lesser of two evils!!! At one spot on our travels, there were so many of them it resembled what could have been a little Piskie Hamlet. If Dartmoor Piskies existed of course. Close up they do look appetising!!
Yesterday I reassessed someone on their Hill and Moorland Leader. What a stinker of a day to choose to go out for a walk and be assessed. Visibility at times was down to about 10 meteres as the thick Dartmoor Mist shrouded the moor. No pressure then, especially when you are the only candidate!!! Cerri-Anne navigated well despite the conditions and with an assessor looking over her shoulder. Well done to her on passing her HML.
John paddled up the Tamar yesterday and said it was the foggiest trip he had paddled on that river. As there was no wind it was an eerie paddle as the river was glass flat and the moored yachts would only loom out of the mist once you were upon them. Sounded like something out of Stephen King novel!!! He said he could even hear the toll of a distant bell.
Next week I am down at St.Peters working on their Cross Keys award, preparing the students for next years programme. I have already started looking at our Young Spirit programmes for next year and it is going to be another busy one. I have one more trip down to Dartmouth in a couple of weeks and that will be my last of the year with Young Spirit. It has almost begun to feel like a second home at times down at Bolcombe Camp.
The mist looks like it is finally lifting, so hopefully it wont be too bad a cycle home. I will however be wearing enough bright clothing to make me look as though I have been scrubbing the inside of an active nuclear reactor!!!