We’re talking about Glastonbury ‘Tor’ here, not to be confused with a ‘Tour’, which is entirely different although it’s a theme running through this post. As a family we have a lot of outings and there’s a huge amount of walking involved, some of those walks last for much longer than anticipated, dependent upon who is the Tour Leader. This will all come seamlessly together…Scouts Honour!
I was sat with my wife watching Louis Theroux, the Documentary Maker, being interviewed about his new book recently. He said that he’d shown the first draft to his wife which involved an in depth look at his work methods and she said “It’s okay, a bit boring though, you need to add some personal stuff’. My wife nodded in agreement and looked at me. Sam has said this about my blog many times before. So, some personal photos, a bit of what I call Everyday Photography in this blog post mixed up with a touch of Street or Documentary.
Ever get the feeling you’re walking around in circles?
Let’s just clarify this whole Tour leadership thing a moment. Here’s my Facebook Post (for those who don’t use Social Media) from a couple of weeks ago on the subject:
Dissent amongst the Ranks...
We went for a walk with our neighbours and I decided to take them on the ancient route; Avebury Stone Circle/Wiltshire Ridgeway/Long Barrow/Silbury Hill. I sort of know the way. It all started well enough, everyone in high spirits. Okay, let's just say as the 'Leader' (unelected!) I haven't walked this route in it's entirety and the weather was a lot warmer than expected. After four or so miles we'd seen a lot of countryside, some ‘nice people’ and their dogs living in lorries, woods, horses etc. Our eldest dog 'Bertie' who is hyperactive at the best of times began suffering from Heat Stroke. The other dogs were fine, we gave him all of our water. In my defence I was on the correct route as confirmed with a passing Scout who unlike me was 'prepared' with a map and compass. What we needed was a quick way back to the cars and preferably a body of water for the dog to lay down in and cool off. Now, if a map has a blue line passing through it then a good guess is that it's a river, five minutes away and that's what I headed for. How was I to know it had dried up during the summer? Sam had carried Bertie a little way, we'd ran out of water and everyone was hot, tired and thirsty...This is the moment when I sensed mutiny, dissent amongst the ranks, possibly a lynching and have to say I didn't like my wife's tone very much when she announced "I'm never letting you take charge again". Admittedly when we were in Rome recently and in 40c heat I knew that it was a 45 minute walk to wherever it was we needed to see, I told her it was "20 minutes max" because I wanted to do some Street photography on the way...she eventually called an Uber! No Uber's in deepest, darkest Wiltshire. Apparently, so I'm told, we finished on a walk of just over eight miles. Not such high spirits from the troops or their 'glorious leader' come the end. In fairness I'd seen a lot more countryside than I'd bargained for, or ever wanted, on a Sunday morning 'leisurely stroll'! If anyone would like to book a Wiltshire Tour Guide please contact someone else ;-)
A few snaps, that as usual can be clicked to enlarge. I think you may be able to judge by the expressions the mood near the end of the walk in that last photo!
All I’m saying is that I was on the right track all the time, the scout agreed, others didn’t!
Last Sunday we met up with my Sister and Brother-in-Law for a walk up to the aforementioned Glastonbury Tor. I’ve spoken very briefly about Glastonbury before, if you click on that link there’s a few shots of the town. It’s an odd place and when I say odd what I’m really saying is Spaced Out. It’s home to the world famous Glastonbury Festival and there appears to be a huge amount of inhabitants that went to it maybe 30 or 40 years ago and had such an ‘amazing’ time announced ;
”Sod it, no point in going back to my previous life, it was crap anyway. I’m going to stay here and become a Christian/Hare Krishna/Muslim/Hippy/Flower Child/Wizard”.
I can tell you there aren’t many places in England that you can stroll through the town centre passing shops selling Witch Supplies, Suits of Armour, Goddess Outfits and find copies of the Qur’an being given away outside of a church whilst simultaneously a Hare Krishna celebration marches through the High Street. By the way, you can stop in an excellent Cafe as we did and watch it all going on. Oh, yes, the name of the cafe is “Hundred Monkeys”… of course it was, this is Glastonbury after all!
Anyway, we’re heading for the Tor which is a large hill or mini mountain or a big mound, whatever, it’s a Tor. Now, unsurprisingly I wasn’t nominated as the leader, there really wasn’t one as such in any case. We were using a sort of sideways route through the town and up to the Tor the steepest way, which I wasn’t familiar with. I made two suggestions as to the direction to take and on both occasions they were correct…who knew? My Brother-in-Law, knowing about that previous story, did question my confidence in the decisions and he was right to do so. Had they been wrong I could sense another mutiny on my hands!
It’s a steeper climb than it looks in that photo. My iPhone informed me that it I’d climbed 38 flights of stairs, if that can be relied upon, my legs ached and they’re totally accurate. Some people ran, others rested and I tried to photograph it all whilst not slipping back down. The children went up twice, once via some steps and path, the second time I foolishly followed up their chosen route which didn’t have any manmade facilities:
That bench was the best idea, especially if you’ve been up a few times before over the years. However, the view is wonderful once you’re at the top, extremely windy though:
There’s quite a few tourists up there too, from all over the world. As we saw in the opening shot and here in these two, the ubiquitous Smartphone makes an appearance! I read that the famous Magnum photographer Martin Parr has just published a book of photographs with people taking Selfies with Smartphones. Seriously! I delete any I take, it’s too easy. I took these whilst holding the two dogs in one hand, they’re not great I’ll admit, but I’d have thought he could have come up with something better than that tired idea for a book.
Now, why all the fuss about the Tor and its ruined church perched at the top? Well, the Tor is mentioned in Celtic Mythology, particularly linked to King Arthur and also to the Holy Grail with the Templars. Centuries ago it was called the "‘Isle of Avalon’, so we now have the entrance to the Land of the Fairies in the mix, the King of the Fairies is involved apparently. Then there’s the Zodiacal stuff all around Glastonbury, Ley Lines connecting up ancient sites and finally some kind of Goddess worship linked to the area. Now we know what all the weirdness is with the shops and some of the people in the town.
Continuing the personal theme a smaller Tour to end this post with. I took some of my children, some of my grandchildren and my youngest daughters friend to the park on Saturday. Again, the route and tour was a resounding success, I led it perfectly. Out from our house, up the lane, across the field behind us and into the park. I walk that route everyday with the dogs so my leadership skills and confidence was at it’s absolute highest, never in doubt. Another opportunity to practice a little Street/Documentary style photography and different perspectives.
In a couple of weeks we’re off to Paris for a few days with the children, I’ve been before, Sam hasn’t. I haven’t quite decided on whether to be Tour Leader…
As always my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read this blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm Lens fitted.
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