Gateway to legends.

Something about DartmoorIn my neck of the woods – there is a green belt of neglected forestry land that has remained largely unchanged for years – and overtime I have entered this forbidden kingdom many times!  When I had my horse – it was a place I’d go to regularly for a secret gallop down the labyrinth of lonely, tree-lined tracks; today though I enjoy a slower pace on foot. Invariably, I obey the ‘Keep Out’ signs – simply preferring to enjoy long walks skirting around the boundary of the forest – along ‘quiet’ country roads…

Often on my crepuscular activities – I’ll inadvertently cause a stir at the edge – there’s a rumpus of hooves and a snapping of twigs – and I know that I’m not alone…

In the snap of a twig – I recall riding along the same stretch in the snow – when a majestic red deer stag crossed-over in front of me, it stopped and stood in the middle of the road and looked straight at me unafraid – before it strode off into the silent forest with its antlered-head held high. It was a dreamlike moment that will last an eternity and the only ‘photograph’ is in my head; of muffled hooves on snow – and of a shining ‘white’ hart freeze-framed between two black velvet horse ears. I think of the legend of St. Hubert when I remember this experience.

I have had many sightings of deer – Red and Roe – over the years, but I have never been able to capture any of them because the light is always too dim by the time I venture out. My old camera has limited functions and settings – and the deer are simply too sensitive, too swift – wild.

Recently – I’ve gone out a little earlier while still light enough to witness the daily rush of a ‘thousand’ black stars pouring down out of the sky into the forest…

Something about Dartmoor - Starlings

Murmuration of starlings - Something about DartmoorSrarlings - Something about DartmoorBecause of the starlings – I have finally been able to stealthily get a magical shot of four red deer stags grazing in one of the forest clearings…Four Stags - Something about Dartmoor

Four stags - Something about Dartmoor

(Enlarge images by clicking on them – opens in new window)

Are they the Four Stags of Yggdrasil – maybe the starlings are telling something?

A murmuration of starlings - Something about DartmoorWhat I do know is, that being out in nature is not only good exercise but it’s a chance to lose oneself between worlds – and sometimes I don’t want to come back in.

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