Alongside many ‘urban’ myths and legends surrounding Bodmin Moor, none seem more feasible than the idea that somewhere on the moor there is a crop of cannabis smoked by only the hardiest of locals and some savvy tourists who can tackle the harsh savage areas of the moorlands unknown to most average tourists. And to be fair not only was the area completely unknown to me but, before seeing a Reddit post titled ‘Strangest Places You’ve Found Weed Growing’, I was completely unaware of this rumour being a thing let alone a certified ‘urban myth’. Now after scrolling down through more than a few dozen comments I stumbled upon a suggestion that weed grew in certain areas of Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor which, being the closest to home, piqued my interest.
Now a quick Google search will yield a few results but nothing substantial, so I returned once again to the Reddit post and contacted the user who posted the question originally to gain more info on these types of claims and rumours. Turns out there are dozens of these people who investigate weed-related urban myths, think ‘Storm Chasers’ but with marijuana myths. I spoke with a number of these chaps online to see if I could discover anything worthwhile pertaining to the claim of weed growing in the highlands, and I was put in contact with a guy, a local, named Gavin Mcloughlin for whom this ‘urban myth’ was much more real.
Mcloughlin, a Scott, moved to the parish St Neot when he was a boy after the closing of the mines in the north of the U.K. and since he was young he has enjoyed life on and around the moor, “It’s just got this kind of mystique, the fresh air and the even fresher supply of mythology brings some great people down here,” laments Gavin when asked about life in this somewhat barren area. He then went on to add more fuel to my ever burning question over the marijuana, Mcloughlin told me stories of how his uncle and his dad would come home late at night, eyes a crimson bloody red, filled with laughter and seemingly out of sorts.
“My mum used to tell me they’d been down the pub, It wasn’t until I was older I realised there was no pub up on that part of the moor,” explains Mcloughlin when asked about his personal experiences with this myth. Gavin goes on to show me photographs he took of the cannabis when he first found it, reassuring me that he never smoked it himself, which almost certainly confirms there at least was marijuana growing up on Bodmin Moor. At this point Gavin confirms that the photos I was looking at were taken mere days before, shortly after I contacted him.
I ask if there is a possible connection between the marijuana and the classic myth of the ‘Beast of Bodmin’ which has gripped the area for decades, to which Gavin suggests that it is very likely. His hypothesis is that stoned locals and possibly tourists would be more susceptible to be scared and become paranoid when encountering smaller animals such as foxes, causing them to see them as ‘beasts’ as opposed to smaller, harmless animals.
Please note that due to thick fog over the area at the time, I was unable to outright confirm the truth of the myth however Gavin’s photos all but confirm it for me, let me know what you think and let me know if you do find any information or get the chance to confirm the myth.