Where are we? Some people are good with maps. They can sit down on a winter evening in front of a glowing fire and with their maps they can retrace every step of their Summer walks. The birds sing in the right places and every gurgling stream is crossed exactly where it flows. But this is a special gift. In writing this account I studied the maps again after 40 years but, try as I might, they said nothing at all to me. It was David and Tony who were the skilled map readers in our group. They checked every twist and turn of the routes and kept a wary eye on everything that happened. Rarely did things go wrong. But the photograph below shows one of those rare occasions. Tony is standing on the left. He had just rushed breathlessly up to me to tell me that I had 'diverted' 50 yds ago and his face says it all - "Another fine mess..............."

My younger days in the Lake District had convinced me that maps were a crucial navigation aid in the mountains and to be without one was just sheer stupidity. The pleasant rolling Devon countryside never seemed to pose a similar threat. But Dartmoor is different again and in some ways more dangerous than the mountains. So always carry a map and compass. Better still make sure that you are accompanied by experts like David and Tony.

We now come to The Journal. This is a very grand title for a small University notebook which I found when sorting out three months ago. The front contained lecture and class notes and I shuddered as I glanced at them. I was about to discard it when I remembered my habit of using both ends of notebooks - presumably for economy reasons. Turning to the back I found it contained accounts of walks which I had organised into the Devon countryside in 1957 and 1958. When my attention wandered from classes, I had simply turned to the back of the notebook and wrote up notes on the walks. As I read this notebook, memories came flooding back - some of them discordant - but mainly very happy happy memories. It occurred to me at once that other people might like to share in these memories and so the idea of a web site was born.


  Helping hand from David


Now look at this. Tucked away in the pages of The Journal were these two notices. They are originals and, if you have seen them before, then you were standing in front of the Guild of Students notice board in the Gandy Street building in Exeter 42 years ago. No mistake. You were there! Maybe you came on some of the following walks recorded in The Journal.