Newest Review: ... somwhere to get your breath back and ease those aching feet before heading back to your car! Glastonbury Tor is really well worth a v... more
Glastonbury Tor - Myths, Legends...plus aching feet!
Member Name: miffy1
Advantages: Great views at the top. A fairly easy walk if you are fit and able.
Disadvantages: Not great if the weather is bad. Not suitable for physically disabled. No parking at the tor.
If you have been to Somerset, but never visted the town of Glastonbury, the chances are that you may still have seen it's iconic tor from a distance. The tor rises up some 325 feet from the plain called the Summerland Meadows and is a mecca for tourists, though you do have to be fairly fit to get to the top!
There are many myths and legends surrounding the tor, from the familiar Arthurian legend, to tales of fairies and Goddesses.
The ancient Celtic meaning of the word 'tor' is 'rock outcropping' or 'hill' and this tor is said to be situated on a convergance of ley-lines. Ley-lines are straight, often geometric alignments that ran across ancient landscapes, that the ancient people thought connected both natural and sacred structures together. There is certainly a very spiritual feel to the place!
The links to the Arthurian legend probably stem from the alleged finding of the graves of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere in the 12th Century. This has never been verified, but I would love to think it was genuine.
The tor is said to have been the fabled Isle of Avalon, from the same legend, which may have stemmed from the fact that in ancient times it was most likely surrounded by water.
I think one has to make one's own mind up as to what to believe. All I know is that it's a great place to visit, which we have done on several occasions.
The last time we were there we climbed the tor and if you are fit and able I would certainly recommend it.
There are a couple of designated paths, so do stick to those as it does get very steep in places. One route starts at Stone Down Lane and is the shorter, but more steep path and the other runs from Well House lane, and is longer but slightly less steep. I'm afraid anyone in a wheelchair would not be able to get to the top via either path, as it would be far too difficult so i'm afraid they would have to enjoy the view from the foot of the hill.
We climbed up the Stone Down Lane path, and down the one on the opposite side. It was hard-going and if you go on a hot day, take some water to drink. Also, there are no loos there, so take that into consideration before you set out to avoid getting caught short! Once at the top you come to the tower, which is the remander of St Michael's church and the iconic structure that the tor is so well-known for.
The view at the top is absolutely amazing! On a clear day you can see for miles, from the Mendip Hills together with the city of Wells and its cathedral, to the island of Steep Holm in the Bristol Channel, and Brent Knoll to the northwest, with the Polden and Quantock Hills to the southwest. You can see the Black mountains of Wales in the far distance, with the Hood Monument and Dorset to the south and to the east Alfred's Tower on the borders of Wiltshire. It is just stunning!
Now, if you are like me and suffer from vertigo, coming back down again could make you feel a tad dizzy, it did me, but I am awful where heights are concerned. Getting up has never been the problem, coming back down again is another matter. The path we chose to come back down seemed much less steep than the one we climbed, but even so it was a bit steep at the top and I did get a few dizzy spells. That said, I wouldn't have missed the climb for the world!
If you do go for a visit and want to climb, choose a good clear day that is not too hot. Wear some decent walking shoes and appropriate clothing. Stillettos just won't be of any use!! The ground can get quite soggy in wet weather too.Don't forget to go to the loo before you set off! Allow a good hour to get to the top at a reasonable pace. Take your time and enjoy the views as you climb.
Since there is no parking at the tor itself, I would advise using a car park in the town. There are several to choose from. That way, once you get back down again you can go and have a cuppa somwhere to get your breath back and ease those aching feet before heading back to your car!
Glastonbury Tor is really well worth a visit, as is the town itself! We will certainly go back someday!
Summary: A great excursion which will keep you fit! Fantastic views at the top!
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