Saturday 31st December 2016 / Sunday 1st January 2017
To close 2015, Brunel Walking Group headed up to the summit of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. By all accounts, it was a dry but chilly time.
A similar plan was in place for the final day of 2016. But, this idea was hampered by a deterring weather forecast across South Wales. An alternative arrangement was made to climb Glastonbury Tor instead.
Most of the group tackled the hour-long drive south from Bristol or Bath, which I would complete a slightly shorter solo journey across the Somerset Levels (thank goodness for SatNavs).
We all arranged to meet at the Rifleman’s Arms pub for 22.00. I didn’t spend enough time analysing its location (or, my chosen car park), while the Ordnance Survey map doesn’t pinpoint any one of the pubs to be found in the town.
It was like this: I knew how to walk to the tor and I knew the location of ‘a couple’ of pubs along the way… But I ended up passing a total of four incorrect pubs, before surrendering to my own loss of hope and heading for the tor, alone… It was then that I spotted the Rifleman’s Arms, very close to the foot of the hill! I was almost an hour late and, while the place was packed, people were ready to get climbing those many steps to the tower.
I’ve tried to take some photographs of the evening but, even with my camera’s white balance at its lowest setting, the quality is far below what I had hoped for.
As you might expect, there was already a reasonable gathering on top of Glastonbury Tor and it would steadily grow through the final hour leading to the inevitable countdown.
It was nothing compared to spending any time on a Saturday afternoon in a place like Ikea, for example, but I found it a bit frustrating that someone had chosen to sit on the toposcope. So, we weren’t all able to gather round and point out the sights we could not see.
On one side of the tower was the distinct odour of something “possibly illegal” [when in Glastonbury…]. Passing through the tower, we found a few wise individuals seeking shelter from the cold breeze. On the other side, we met the pleasant scent incense. No turning back.
Before the fireworks began around us, we had sparklers and glow-sticks to entertain us, while a few non-drivers chosen to drink an appropriate alcoholic drink. We were many miles away from the action. Although, one individual unleashed a few ‘very loud bangs’ directly behind us on several occasions. Then, there was the drummer (who seems to be a regular evening visitor to the tor), steadily making his way to the summit, beat by beat.
I was pleased to not only have done something for New Year’s Eve but also to have done something that I wanted to do. Parties… Alcohol… Hangovers…. None of that is for me. I hope to do something similar at the end of 2017. If I/we don’t make it to Pen Y Fan this year then, perhaps it can be another high point closer to home.