Pretty much all of Dartmoor has a Lord of the Ringsy kind of feel to it (or more accurately a Hobbitony/The Shirey kind of feel) but a recent visit to Wistman’s Wood definitely gave some of the other Tolkienesque locations I’ve seen a run for their money.
The floor of the wood is covered with chunks of granite from which the twisted trees of the wood grow. They might not be as big as Tolkien’s Ents but their gnarled and gnarly shapes are full of character and if you squint really hard it almost looks like some of them have faces.
Click for hi-res image
According to its Wikipedia entry Wistman’s Wood is “one of three remote copses of stunted oaks on Dartmoor, Devon, England” and “a rare relict example of the ancient high-level woodlands of Dartmoor”. To me though it’s a little slice of Middle Earth.
It’s also a site of special scientific interest and there’s a fine of £20,000 for anyone who damages the trees, though I’m not sure how they’d prove it unless some of the trees are Ent policemen (policements?).
About a five mile round walk from a small car park opposite the Two Bridges hotel, near Princetown, it’s definitely worth a visit for anyone looking to get their Hobbit on.
Memes come and memes go but one that's going to stay in my favourites list a bit longer than the rest is a Twin Peaks-inspired version of the “Harlem Shake” video. It's a special treat for Peaks Freaks as it features none other than Special Agent Dale Cooper himself, Kyle MacLachlan, as the man behind the mask. Could it be a precursor to a Twin Peaks return? I doubt it, but it is intriguing that Coop is wearing a mask not unlike the death mask that Window Earle once left on his pillow in the Great Northern o_0.
Whether it's pretty or not there's music in the air and that meme you like is probably not going to come back in style...
A dice for indecisive people. I cracked the last of the Christmas Crackers today and was moderately pleased with the prize inside, which by normal Cracker standards is pretty good. It wasn't a shiny notebook or one of those wire puzzles where you're not sure whether you've solved or broken it but a Charades dice, something which is new as a post-snap gift to me. I don't play Charades that much but will be rolling it next time I'm not sure what to do. The options aren't that exciting - Book, Song, TV, Film, Person and Play - but it's earned a place on my desk as my rainy day dice.
Few shows have got me quite as obsessed as Lost did so the news that an Island disappeared from the South Pacific this week certainly raised my interest. It turns out that due to human error Sandy Island, or Île de Sable, never actually existed despite appearing on maps going back decades.
The discovery, or undiscovery, was made by a team of scientists from the University of Sydney who went looking for the island but found only 60 square miles of sea where Sandy should have been. Sound familiar?
Flashback: Faraday & Co not being able to find the island.
If the island were real it would fall into French territory, but the French government is denying it ever existed on any of its official maps. Again this part of the story rings a bell.
Flashback: Rousseau, aka the FRENCH woman, and her team getting shipwrecked on The Island.
Of course if it were the real island from Lost there would be several instances of the same island on our maps, because as we know it moved in space, and time. Then again what we're witnessing could be someone changing the timeline (maybe Juliet did detonate that bomb after all) and disproving Faraday's theory of whatever happened happened.
It seems the island appears on reliable maps going back over 116 years, I can certainly make it out on the National Geographic world map circa 1951 that I have on my wall. One plausible explanation is that among cartographers fake locations are included on maps to identify counterfeiters, but this is unusual for nautical map makers.
Weirder still is the fact that it has appeared on Google's own maps but is now just a collection of black pixels on Google Earth. The Dharma Initiative covering their tracks maybe? The man of faith in me wants to say yes, the man of science, probably not. Still there are enough coincidences in the story to get the imagination of this Lost fan working overtime.
Mark is a freelance writer based in Devon specialising in gadgets, mobile technology and television. He mainly writes for other people but has two websites of his own, one is a blog about all things futuristic the other a children's poetry site.