When Plans Change – Glastonbury Tor
Friday had been extremely hot. Tropical in fact, it was as I was driving from one site visit to the next I suddenly decided ‘lets go to the beach tomorrow’. Smug in my smartness, I called in at the local discount store on the way to collect Es from the train station and purchased a cool box, they also had some beach shelters on sale so I grabbed one of those too. I nipped to the supermarket opposite the station and picked up the food for the weekend, including a pile of luscious picnic type food. When I picked his Lordship up from his London train, we were all set and the plan was made.
At 3am on Saturday morning I was woken by torrential rain and thunder. It’s at this point in the post I fill a couple of lines with Anglo Saxon words, well, you get the idea. Don’t you love it when plans change? As a Brit we roll with the punches, after all our weather is never a certain thing. So…
On waking later Saturday morning the thunderstorms had passed, but left an overcast but warm day. Not wanting to waste our time together, as he goes away again on Sunday night, we made quick plans. “Lets go to Glastonbury” I said, “I’ve never been and I’ve heard it’s got some very cool shops, and there’s a Tor!” I countered, having seen his micro expression of disappointment at the mention of ‘shops’.We jumped in the car, I programmed the sat nav, and within 30 minutes we were entering Glastonbury. To be perfectly honest with you, I was surprised at how close it was, and that given it’s proximity we had never ventured that way before. The drive was relatively stress free, and given that it was also the start of the school holidays, that was a surprise.
The Tor can be seen from a great distance when heading into Glastonbury, we glimpsed it first when the sat nav said we were still 8 miles away. A very prominent hill surrounded by low lying fields and undulating landscape, it looks almost man-made.The site is managed by the National Trust, however there are no National Trust parking areas or entrance fees, so it is a relatively cheap day out. We parked in a factory car park located as you just get into the town. The billboard at the side of the road advertised £2 parking. A little bit of artistic license I think as it was actually £2 for 2 hours and then went upwards from that point. We paid £4 as we (well, I) wanted to see the shops also.
Known as a spiritual site, this is reflected in the local community and the local shops, selling all manner of products from Tarot cards to Crystals. Whilst we were there, a group were drumming and meditating at the site, what for I couldn’t tell you, but pagan rituals are still very much a part of the psyche here.
The climb is short and steep, as you would expect looking at it from the road. However the paths are well maintained and there are steps carved into the hillside to assist your climb. For my Northern friends, I would liken it to Rivington Pike. You can get a bus from the park and ride terminal which drops you on the other side of the hill which is possibly, if not easier, a shorter walk. The bonus on that route is there is an ice-cream van sits at the bottom for that well deserved ice cream on the way down.
There is not much at the top other than the views, which are 360 degrees and on a clear day, go for miles. The Tor itself refers to the hill formation not the tower. Dating from possibly the 15th century, there is no access up the tower, you can however enter the lower part where there is an information plaque which gives you a history of the site, although there is much speculation around its origins.
Lastly there is a marker which highlights all the landmarks you can see. Which is great, when someone is not using it as a seat.
The top was very busy, as you would expect as such a historic site on a lovely day. Due to the easy access of the site, I would suggest its worth making a very early morning trek to watch the sun rise. I may take another trip just to take advantage of the lovely soft light at the ‘golden hour’ and get some less stark photographs.
Once you’ve taken in the views. Taken all the panoramic photos that you want. That’s pretty much it. Make your way down, past all the very friendly sheep, and keep on walking into town for a browse and perhaps a well earned coffee and cake.