Jo’s Monday Walk : Glastonbury Tor

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.

rainy morning in Glastonbury

rainy morning in Glastonbury

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!

looking back at the village

looking back at the village

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.

it looks a long way up in the rain!

it looks a long way up in the rain!

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!torThrough 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.

through the gate

through the gate

It was worth risking rain on the camera!

sheep sheltering

sheep sheltering

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

St Michael’s Tower

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?

one section of the 360 deg. view

one section of the 360 deg. view

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!

looking down!

looking down … can you see the sheep?

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.

sheep sensing a break in the weather

sheep sensing a break in the weather

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.

labyrinth in the church ground

Glastonbury labyrinth

I am sure I could have found some very special things in these fascinating shops, but I was simply not shopping.

one of many pagan shops

one of many pagan shops

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!

colours dancing behind the cafe

colours dancing behind the cafe

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.

walking-logo

 

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37 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday Walk : Glastonbury Tor

  1. The damp walk is what is mostly experienced by the locals isn’t it? I have heard that it rains quite a bit in that part of the world. You managed to take some beautiful pictures in spite of the rain.

    • thanks Meg … are you feeling any better? I am, and we even had a slow walk along the beach in bright hot sunshine … trying to sort out our phone which has been put for a month apparently, and won’t be back until 18th July!!! Luckily we have internet 🙂

  2. It would have been crazy full up there this weekend! Lovely to see pics of Glasto through your eyes, I must pay a visit this summer. I don’t remember the climb being too far but I guess I was younger then 🙂 Apparently the south west average annual rainfall is about 800mm – well worth it for our lush green landscape, even if I do prefer hot sunshine!

  3. conosco questa zona e devo dire che l’hai magnificamente rappresentata nelle tue favolose immagini!
    bravissima
    🙂
    I know this area and I have to say that you have magnificently represented in your fabulous pictures!

  4. A very commendable effort in the rain and cold. I think you would have found me curled up with the sheep or hiding in the cafe. 😀 I haven’t read Mary Stewart for years but what a great choice for your travels.

    • A friend recommended her books to me, and it seemed meant to be that I read as I travelled through her landscapes, those far-off times sometimes appearing like tempting ghosts on the green hills …

  5. Bless you, darlin- I’m right at home here! Thank you so much 🙂
    Having said that, I’ve never yet been to Glastonbury so thanks for dragging me along, grumbling in the rain.
    It’s sunny here today, and I’m off out with my merry band in a few minutes. So happy you’ve recovered enough to post this.

  6. I can beleive that the tor was once naturally moated given the awful winter of floods that Somerset had this year. For an in and out with the camera walk you caught the feel of the place without the droves of New Agers – fortunate indeed.

    • good point Laura, we were quite early too, but I guess the wet weather kept other visitors away … unlike last weekend or whenever the big festival was held!

  7. Enjoyed the amble through such idyllic English countryside Christine, rain and all. The shot of the sheltering sheep looks like a post card 🙂

  8. What a lovely walk with you this afternoon. I have never been to Glastonbury Tor so it was nice to see it through your eyes. I guess it is a bit mad around that area today as everyone makes their way home from the festival. (BTW the logo doesn’t link to Jo’s rules)
    Glad you are feeling much better!
    Jude xx

    • thanks for the tip about Jo’s logo … I have fixed that now but should let Jo know to link it to her page … we had such a short time in England but managed to see some wonderful places!

  9. ciao amica Cristina, ti avevo detto che sarei tornata a guardare i post che mi erano rimasti indietro, lo so che non risponderai al pc, ma forse da lassù mi puoi vedere e sorridi
    ti voglio bene, cara

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