Today is our last day in Glastonbury. I will miss this place, but I also feel like I’ve seen everything I wanted to see here, and that I am ready to go home and take a little bit of Glastonbury back with me.
I visited the Tor three times on this trip: once during the day, once to see the sunset, and this morning (this time by myself) to see the sunrise. Even if the legends about the fairies aren’t true, the hill is magical. The views are gorgeous, as is the life you see on the hill itself. This morning I ran across a large group of hares bounding along the footpath on my way up to the hill. I don’t really think I can properly explain what seeing the sunset and sunrise on the Tor was like, and neither can photos, but maybe photos is the closest I can get.
Sunset on the Tor
Sunrise on the Tor
Last night I tried to get to sleep early because I knew my plans to see the sunrise on the Tor would have me getting up at 4am. I am also reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, a horror story about the devastating effects of sleep deprivation, and am pretty much terrified of getting under 7 hours of sleep per night now. However, like a stupid person I drank coffee in the late afternoon and ended up lying in bed wide awake until about 10pm. No matter: I was going to see the sunrise from the Tor and a bit of brain damage wasn’t going to stop me.
I made this trip on my own, wanting to make just one solo trip before we left. It was still pretty much pitch dark when I reached the entrance to the public footpath to the hill. As I entered through the creaky wooden gate and trudged up a small path between two sets of bushes and trees with my phone flashlight on, I heard it: a very large sounding rustling in the bush to my right, only meters away. A couple of possibilities flashed through my mind:
- Gwyn ap Nudd :)
- A monster :/
- A fox :)
- A wolf :/
- A cow :)
- A travelling hippie axe murderer :(
I took a deep breath and listened. The rustling continued. It was at least human-sized-sounding. I backtracked to the start of the footpath and waited. I briefly considered bailing on this solo-trip-at-dawn idea, but knew I’d be really mad at myself for chickening out and missing this opportunity. It was getting light fast and after about five minutes of deliberation I felt brave enough to go back in, since at least I wouldn’t be walking in pitch-darkness anymore.
The rustling was still there, but this time I could also see the cow pasture directly behind the row of bushes. I didn’t see the culprit cow, but suspect that’s what I heard. Anyway, after I walked out on the other side of the tree-lined stretch of path I caught my first glimpse of the Tor:
The hill was nice and quiet, there were only two other people there when I got there. A few more filed in to meet the sun. This is the quietest the hill has been in my three visits. Nobody spoke, we all just sat and enjoyed the view. I got some photos before and after the sun actually came up, but none of the sunrise itself - I was just too busy watching it.
After a couple of hours, when the side of the hill was pooled in warm light, I started my walk back down along the sunny side.
I thought I may be able to come back home with just the photograph of the Tor and the serpent bracelet I mentioned in my previous post, but it didn’t really work out that way. I also picked up a spiral snail-shelll-esque ring by a local silversmith and a couple of really nice porcelain and ceramic pieces, also featuring my favourite spiral shapes. My last purchase was a hippie skirt - when in Glastonbury, right?
I think this is the last time I will have gotten to see the hill for this trip, but we are already planning a return next year (although a slightly different guided eight-day trip that will take us to other mythical places in the region, the Tor included). It was amazing to have gotten the chance to finally visit this place after years of dreaming about it.