There’s nothing better on a Sunday afternoon, after a roast lunch, than a healthy walk in the countryside. I had spent the morning editing my novel and tidying my tax returns so the thought of stamping my feet on the frozen ground was very appealing. It had snowed in the night, and had come down heavy all morning. By the time we had finished our Yorkshire puds and roast potatoes the sky had calmed down. The roads were clear so we decided to ride out of Street and see if we could make the climb up Glastonbury Tor.
There was a small group of kids sledging on Wearyall Hill but the snow looked too patchy to be really satisfying. At the bottom of the Tor we turned up the single track road that winds around the back of the hill and parked in a field entrance near the start of the Eastern footpath. From here we could see the Mendips shining white in the distance but the sky remained heavy and grey over our heads.
The path was clear in the bottom field and the steps up to the gate were easy but the higher we went the more compacted snow and ice was evident. We turned sideways to ensure the best grip, eyes streaming in the cold as the wind began to pick up.
At the summit the wind suddenly made its presence felt as if it had been waiting for us with a blast that nearly took me off my feet. I made for the shelter of St Michael’s tower where we could hear it keening through the arches. Spirals of snow flew up into the air revealing the shape of the wind as it spun around the Tor.
The views from up here were worth the walk. The photos don’t really show the raw beauty of the Wintry landscape.
But they do at least reveal the unruly nature of the elements on this most exposed of Somerset peaks. The descent was far more treacherous than the ascent as we no longer had hope and expectation with us. The wind began to cut through the two hats I was wearing and the snow underfoot appeared to have turned to ice in the ten minutes we had spent at the top.
‘I’ve never been this cold before in all my life,’ shouted Maya.
‘What? Never?’ I said.
‘No,’ she said, ‘this is it for me.’
It’s good to have milestones…