We'd picked a quiet parking area in Burrator Arboretum on Dartmoor for our overnight stay in Thor the Geriatruck (our RV). And it was blissfully quiet, with no humans around and the only sound was a distant owl.
Just as darkness was enveloping this gorgeous spot, a car arrived, with two passengers. We thought it very odd that they walked into the woods at this time of night, but soon forgot about them as we poured ourselves a drink.
Not long afterwards another car arrived, and then two more. Animated talk could be heard, and we discussed (made up) possible stories about the now somewhat suspicious commotion. Dogging? Drug deals? Criminal activities? By this time we were becoming a little uncomfortable with the whole scenario, and flashing blue lights announcing the arrival of a police car did not go any way towards allaying our concerns.
Curiosity got the better of David, and he went outside to talk to the policemen. With a small laugh and a comment of “You thought you were having a quiet night camping, didn't you?”, the cop explained the situation: a mountain biker had come off his bicycle somewhere in the woods, and there was a whole host of people out there looking for him.
By ten o'clock the area was heaving: police, ambulance, rangers, mountain rescue and seven private cars ferrying friends and family to the scene. We were all relieved when we heard word that he was found, and even more so when he was brought out without major trauma, just very cold and shook up. It was now five hours since we first saw his initial rescuers enter the forest – no wonder he was cold, as the temperature by this stage was barely above freezing.
Within half an hour the victim was taken to hospital, the rescuers refused our offer of a hot drink and his friends strapped his bike to the car roof and headed to the pub. We were once again alone, with just the owl for company.