It is hard to describe the beauty of Dartmoor. My home hills are a long high ridge, running South to North along the edge of the lush Vale of Clwyd. While the hills are high and crowned with iron and bronze age hillforts, the land is green, or purple with heather, the tops bare but the valleys clothed in trees or grazed by sheep and cows. Dartmoor is not much higher but bare and wild. I love these hills too: the tors and the streams and the tiny wooded valleys with their ancient trees.
We walk up to a big curve in the stream where my sister's dog loves to swim. He is a labradoodle, a huge dog, nearly as big as a wolfhound. He adores water and leaps in but my parents' collie is much less struck. She sits quietly next to us while he plunges in, ears and tail waving. It is a perfect day, warm and still and we sit on rocks and talk while the dog swims back and forth. It would be entirely peaceful here in this big open bowl of moorland, were it not for the hugely energetic splashing of the dog as he goes by again.
"It's like sitting next to a small paddle steamer" my sister says.
Out of the water he shakes and rolls but my camera isn't fast enough to catch him.
A skylark sings above us. We get to the top of the rise and turn through a gap in the stone wall heading for the tor. Everything is hot and still with the view shimmering away into the heat. A tiny ripple of breeze stirs against my hot cheek.
From the top the whole of Devon stretches away into the heat haze.
The rocks are enticing, rocks for sitting on, playing in, hiding in.
Rocks with a history and a purpose, although they don't share it with us.
We sit for a while and turn and go down. There are children to be picked up from school, emails to check, ordinary life to be lived, but the hot, high, stillness comes down with me for a while.