We had slid and stumbled and fallen and scrambled and shuffled and grasped and scratched our way what seemed like all afternoon.  We'd sniffed the cold air till our noses ran; there were twigs in our socks and scratches on our hands, but it was worth it.  The steep bank we had just negotiated levelled just enough to reveal the treasure we had unwittingly stumbled upon.  It might as well have been Shangri La itself, we didn't care it was probably listed on any map you buy in a supermarket, it was our discovery, our place.  I was 14 and it was like I had parted the fur coats in the wardrobe and peered in to Narnia...


Dad and I had cut across the common on the hill at New Bridge on Dartmoor National Park, and found our way to the Dart river as it winds its way off the hills to the sea at Dartmouth in South Devon.  The river had cut a gouge out of the granite and swung away to leave a deep pool and an opening gorge.  It was late Autumn so no swimming for us, but we vowed to return and make the most of the clean and undoubtably cold water.  And return we did.  We went back probably every summer, and every time we were entirely alone with no passing ramblers or rangers... 'The Swimming Hole' as it was dutifully renamed was our piece of wilderness, wilderness we had discovered.  If you're on Dartmoor anytime soon, try and find it.  If not, find your own wilderness and rename it, make it yours, discover something.