RAINBOW AT DARTMEET

 

Last Saturday it was supposed to rain. At least the weather-forecasters said we’d have torrential rain all day. So we nearly abandoned our visit to Dartmoor as that’s no place to be when the weather’s murky. Thank goodness we relied on our own assessment of the day that dawned, rather than on the ‘experts’!

Joanna and Leo were staying with me and when we saw the cloudless blue sky that greeted our awakening, off we set in the direction of Dartmeet. You’ll see from the rainbow that when we reached the signpost showing us the way there must have been rain somewhere in our vicinity – but it didn’t touch us!

So we had some wonderful walks, exploring several more of the magnificent Tors, where Leo demonstrated his prowess as a would-be mountain goat. Sometimes I think he forgets he’s a dog, so skilful is he at accessing the tops of rocks and various other ‘obstacles’!

At Dartmeet (where West and East Dart rivers meet) we had coffee at Badger’s Holt and then watched some canoeists plunging into the water before being swept away at an alarming rate between somewhat hazardous-looking rocks. I rather envied their enthusiasm and seeming fearlessness.

Leo helps launch a canoe!

After seeing them off, we headed to Widecombe. Are you familiar with the Widecombe Fair song – supposedly based on a true happening? In case you aren’t, here are its words (and by the way, Tom Cobley’s grave can be visited at Spreyton – just north of Dartmoor):

“Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare,

All along, down along, out along, lee,

For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

“And when shall I see again my grey mare?”

All along, down along, out along, lee,

“By Friday soon, or Saturday noon,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

So they harnessed and bridled the old grey mare

All along, down along, out along, lee,

And off they drove to Widecombe fair,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

Then Friday came, and Saturday noon,

All along, down along, out along, lee,

But Tom Pearces old mare hath not trotted home,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top o’ the hill

All along, down along, out along, lee,

And he seed his old mare down a-making her will,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

So Tom Pearce’s old mare, her took sick and died,

All along, down along, out along, lee,

And Tom he sat down on a stone, and he cried

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

But this isn’t the end o’ this shocking affair,

All along, down along, out along, lee,

Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career

Of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of the night

All along, down along, out along, lee,

Tom Pearce’s old mare doth appear gashly white,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

And all the long night he heard skirling and groans,

All along, down along, out along, lee,

From Tom Pearce’s old mare in her rattling bones,

With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

 

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