#take12trips Challenge 10: Exploring Glastonbury Tor

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After waking up with sore biceps and bruised kneecaps from caving in Burrington Combe the day before, we decided the only remedy was Sunday morning stroll up Glastonbury Tor.

As soon as you lay eyes on Glatonbury Tor, it becomes quickly apparent how peculiarly the large hill sticks out around the flat landscape. But that’s not the only thing that is peculiar here; the same could be said for its visitors.

Or rather, our lack of peculiarity. With a trailing menagerie of Celtic mystics, Wiccans, druids and various other spiritualistic shamans and devotees making a pilgrimage to Glastonbury Tor, our jeans and flannel shirts stood in sharp contrast to the flowing medieval dresses and tunics on display.

The landmark’s history is a scattered one, with equal doses of fact, myth and fancy. Despite multiple archaeological excavations to uncover its history, extensive details remains undiscovered, and the site is frequently referenced in Celtic mythology and in the sagas of King Arthur. However, the site has been inhabited and had settlements built upon its peak since prehistory, and once there was even a nearby Glastonbury Lake Village dating from the Iron Age.

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Once we reached the peak of Glastonbruy Tor, we stopped to enjoy the faraway sea views and picturesque villages below at St Michael’s Tower. Its roofless remains are all that is left of St Michael’s Church, once a thriving church with a monastery close by, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. The fact that its last monks and abbot were hung, drawn and quartered was another reason the place gave chills, besides the wind.

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After descending from the summit, we decided to have a wander around Glastonbury village.

For such a small village, it packs a big, and slightly bizarre, punch. The high street is crammed with independent shops selling stuff that wouldn’t be out of place in Diagon Alley, and the same goes for the locals. Within a few minutes’ walk we saw a man in chain mail carrying a sword, another dressed as an elf, hat and all, and countless women dressed as medieval maids.

Given we had no use for aura cleaning spray or a medicinal herb cabinet, and decided to take our chances without protective crystals, we headed for lunch at the nearby The Sheppey Inn.

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And OMG THE FOOD.

Having ordered the pail of mussels with crusty bread, what came out was the best thing to ever be presented to me in a bucket. Big, juicy mussels swimming in a creamy cider sauce with hearty chunks of bacon was soaked up with warm, crusty rolls of bread freckled with thyme herb. Pure bliss after a long slog up a hill.

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And drinks, can’t forget those either. Amongst the quirky knick-knacks that decorated every surface of the bar and restaurant were local brews of cider and beer and ale with names like the intriguing Hairy Whore and alcohol percentages that will make you do a double-take. But what better way to end a weekend in Somerset than sampling its prime drink?

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