The Dartmoor Diaries 2 – HaytorPosted: August 29, 2011
All our time in Postbrige we had been haunted by views of the road out – appearing like a steep wall of tarmac cutting across up the valley. We stocked up with supplies from the shop, and set off.
As is often the case, it wasn’t as bad as we’d thought – and the views from the top were well worth the struggle. We could see the road ahead going up and down across the landscape, and soon we able to keep enough momentum from the downhill to take the bite out of the climb. Looking back we could see the Bellever Forest, and ahead moorland we were about to ride.
The ride to Haytor was done quicker than anticipated, despite waiting for a while as a young farmer struggled to contain her sheep as they crossed the road. We said hello in the information centre. The staff were very friendly, one a past photographer and the other a keen cyclist so we got on well! We could see the ominous looking clouds in the distance that we had heard about in a forecast, and so began to set up to picture the iconic Haytor. I remember coming here to draw when I was at school, and found it made a great subject then as now. The people climbing on it, and walking up the paths towards it only add a sense of scale – through the camera they reminded me how big the landscape is and how comparitively small we are.
The visitors were intrigued and were soon keen to step inside the obscura. It was good to see families of walkers out for a ramble, and when the wind was blowing our way we could here shrieks as children climbed the tor itself. A good number came in and saw the projection of the tor, a couple helped us re-shoot the images above and played with the framing. As it is tricky to move the camera itself, it is a good way to learn about composition if you try to re-shoot the projected image with a conventional camera. We shot a number of portraits and the feedback on the camera was really positive. ‘I hadn’t thought about how a camera works at all before seeing this‘ one keen photographer said, and we were able to practically show how the obscura relates to the modern digital camera he was using.
It wasn’t long before the wind picked up, and the clouds that were safely hanging on the horizon were soon looming over head. We started to take the camera down (once soggy, it weighs even more!) and just got the inner layer in when it really hit – we sheltered under the gazebo cover until it all had gone. We got some funny looks, but it kept us dry!
After realising it was set in, we packed up regardless and jumped on the bikes. We were riding to Bovey Castle, a luxurious hotel and a very kind host – we were setting up on the lawn the next day…