28 September, 2015

Wells, Glastonbury, Avebury, Castle Combe

Well if you hadn't guessed from the title, today was jam packed.  With that, you'll have to figure the sheer volume of photos I'm posting today.  It was so scenic I just couldn't help myself. Also once again, I find myself writing this up from my phone whilst on a train.  Please do forgive any errors you may discover.

I was up early and caught a train to Bath where my lovely driver Norman picked me up at the train station.  First we headed off to see Wells Cathedral.  Ness happens to live near by and joined me there just for a bit.  I've had to promise that next time I'll let her drive me hither and yonder otherwise she'll be quite cross.  I was very impressed with the cathedral at Wells.  It wasn't at all what I was expecting.  It's beautiful and almost impossible feeling.

I did notice that every bit of detail around the cathedral seems to be full of faces.  And not the kind you just imagine you see, but people and beasts of all sorts.

The cathedral also has two spectacular clocks, this one inside and another outside that ring and figures move about.  I was lucky enough to see both while I was wandering.

Though I didn't go to the chapter house, I did kind of fall in love with this staircase leading to it.  It's kind of impossibly spectacular.

Here as you can see is the outside clock.

Off to one side of the cathedral is Vicar's Row.  This is where the clergy would have lived.  Now it's the most darling little lane.  People do live here still but I'm sure it must be annoying at times with all the tourists coming and going.

If you haven't noticed yet, I seemed to be enjoying the most beautiful blue skies occasionally interrupted by a few clouds.  That was all about to change.  First here's a stunning look at Glastonbury Tor.  After Wells, this was our next stop.  The tower on the top was a small chapel.  It's situated perfectly on a lay line that runs al the way to Avebury.  Now this picture is from the start of the path I took to get to the top.  Does it surprise you when I say that's about a three story tower there in the distance?  And the hill?  Well let's just say it wasn't the easiest climb I've ever made.

And now you can see my beautiful sunny sky has turned dark.  And then the rain.  Yep just as I got to the top it began to come down.  I did have half a thought that this is how people get struck by lightening.  Lucky for me, it was just a not so gentle rain.

And here you can see the direct path of the lay line on the plaque.

Jumping back a bit, I took this panorama as I was only about half way up.  You can clearly see the storm front blowing in.  And after that, some of the other amazing views from the very top.  


Now I mentioned it was rainy, but there were also great gusts of wind blowing at the top.  That was all well and good until it was time to go back down.  This photo shows the path.  You can see the sharp left turn it takes and the drop off straight ahead.  Well I must confess I had some small fear that the wind would hit me just at the wrong time and knock me straight off my feet to go rolling down the hill.  Luckily, that was not the case and I made it down in one piece.

Our next stop was the ruined Glastonbury Abbey.  Like so many Catholic Churches of the time it was left to ruin.  Unlike some others I've see , it's a huge complex.  I think I could have spent hours wandering around the grounds.

These two images are of the Lady Chapel which on this Abbey was the direct entrance to the massive church itself.  At the far end of this chapel you can see stairs leading to a single archway.  That would have led into the main body of the church.

This is a tad out of order, but here is a shot looking back at that same archway.  All of what you see here would have been the main body of the church.  I'm standing roughly where the transept would have been.

This next bit would have been part of the transept leading to the 'top' part of the church.  

And now for a little mythology.  Supposedly the tomb of King Arthur was found beside the Lady Chapel and moved into the church itself.  Below you can read the sign and see the grave for yourself.

The round building is the bishop's kitchen.  It must have great acoustics because I could hear singing as I was approaching.  I thought perhaps it was a recording but no, just one woman singing scales in the kitchen.  I tried to make noise as I entered, but she was so wrapped up she didn't hear me.  Of course eventually she did and was startled and embarrassed.  The singing you ask?  Well it wasn't bad, but I'd never say it was great.  ;-)

And a few more photos of the main arches.

This is all that remains of the cloisters.  Just a tiny bit of foundation, enough to leave an imprint on the grass.

Now on to the main thing I wanted to see today.  Avebury.  I knew it was another ring of stones.  I knew it wasn't as perfected as Stonehenge, but all the same it sounded nice.  What I wasn't really prepared for was the size of the circle.  If ever I knew how big it was, I'd forgotten.  Big enough that there is a small town inside the ring.  These stones aren't the polished, carved ones like at Stonehenge.  They're massive.  With an equally massive ditch dug around them.  I walked around about half the circle and it took about 30-40 minutes.

If you need to see any more of Avebury, I have dozens more pictures... Just ask.  Last we were headed to the village of Castle Combe.  Along the way we stopped to see one of the White Horses of the area.  Because the layer of chalk is so close to the surface, it's easy to carve these figures.  I'm not sure how old this one was, but it's not ancient.

Then we were in Castle Combe.  Not much to say other than its a perfect little village.

Now the part you've been waiting for if you don't follow me on Instagram... the adventures of #TravelingDean (and #WanderingAngelCas)

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