When we flew from Malaga to Bristol we had a few days without any decent internet connection, so several stories are still waiting to go to air …. this one amongst them. I know you don’t mind looking back almost a month to the rainy morning we walked up Glastonbury Tor. It was a bit of a shock to come from the heat of southern Spain to cold and rainy England, so we dressed in multiple layers, with our goretex over the top, and set off with helpful instructions from our B&B hostess.
We drove along narrow hedged roads, through picturesque stone and thatch villages, and found the car park in Glastonbury marked for the Tor walk. I had to study each British coin I put into the meter, having no idea yet which was which. Then we followed discrete signage to find the track. If it had not been raining I would have taken many more photos!
As it was I quickly slipped the camera out of its bulky case, sheltered it with my body, snapped and tucked it away again. As soon as we started on the path dog walkers became apparent. There are no pics of them. Old and young, with dogs of various sizes and shapes, passed by, nodding a friendly greeting. Some had their brollies, others their jackets, all had boots, and I was wishing for a pair of wellies too.
The Tor did seem far away, but we had all morning. Fields on either side of the track glistened with rain, cows munching stolidly gave us a passing glance, horses in their blankets did not even bother. We passed through a gate, stepping carefully to avoid puddles, then another, and a stile. Here we found an informative notice directing us on towards the historic monument. It gives you the picture!Through this gate we entered a beautiful sheep field, where ewes and lambs sought shelter beneath overhanging trees, or curled themselves into neat little shapes in the grass looking just a little plaintive.
It was worth risking rain on the camera!
Next we met a man coming down the Tor with a Golden Labrador retriever, looking for his other dog who had bounded off into the trees. He advised us to avoid treading on the timber edges of steps set into the grass, saying they were particularly slippery. Later when we were coming down we met him coming up again, still searching for the dog, calling loudly, and looking rather exasperated!
St Michael’s Tower stands on top of the Tor, which is 158m high and offers magnificent views of the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales (in fine weather). Remains of buildings on the site stretch back to the Saxon and early medieval period, when legend links the Tor known as Ynys Wydryn with King Arthur and Avalon. At this time the plain was flooded, with the Tor becoming an island at high tide. I was reading an Arthurian saga, Legacy at the time, so all this was very interesting. Was this the mysterious Island of Avalon?
A howling wind contrived to freeze us completely on the top, so we huddled in the lee of the tower before setting off down the slope once more. We were both wondering if a cafe would be open by now, where we could find something warm and sustaining!
We met another clutch of dog walkers, yummy mummies who had dropped their children at school and set off together for the walk up and down the Tor with their pooches, as they do most mornings. They complained that there were not as many of them this morning, but then perhaps the rain had put some off. I began to realise that locals walked up the Tor the same way we walk on our beach every day, but their climb was definitely more aerobic than our gentle seaside stroll.
It seemed the weather was clearing, but not for long, the camera was soon tucked away again. A quick reconnoitre of the town revealed a very strong New Age community, reflected even in the labyrinth constructed in the church grounds.
I am sure I could have found some very special things in these fascinating shops, but I was simply not shopping.
We retreated to the cafe, all whole foods, local, free-trade, and delicious, I even tried a hot apple juice drink that was perfect for the rainy morning. Having quite a drive ahead of us we found the loos out the back, then skipped off to the car park and went south to meet Gilly!
This walk is for RestlessJo, so pop over and add your walk, or take another warmer walk with someone else, after all it is Monday! Click on the logo to learn more.