A warm start to the afternoon brought walkers out to the Burton Pynsent Monument for a rare chance to climb to the top and admire the views. Or just to say they'd done it!
Organised by the Curry Woods Conservation Trust (more about the trust here ) the event was possible with the kind permission of Tim and Ellen Schroder, with all donations to the Trust.
Sylvia and Peter Goodenough, Secretary and Chair of the Trust, were on hand to count us in, up, down and out again in groups of 8 or 9. And goodness me, there wasn't room for any more at the top!
Arriving at about 13.30, a small queue had formed but we didn't have to wait long for our turn and our little band of old boys (they surely won't mind, fingers crossed!), young lads, and a few in between along with Dudley the dog ascended the spiral staircase to stand on a precariously narrow platform admiring both the view and the lack of fear shown by Dudley as he surefootedly made his way up, around the ledge and down again!
The reward on reaching the top is a panoramic view across the Somerset Levels and, on a clear day, right out to the coast.
Much has been written about the history of the monument and its connection with the Somerset tradition of cider production, and for a potted history take a look at Peter's Blog on the Trust website. You can also find a bit more information on Wikipedia and on Britain Express, a British Heritage appreciation site.
Needless to say, we encountered no cattle on the stairs today.
As we left the queue had grown. Clearly the monument is a much loved local landmark and attracts many interested visitors to admire it and the surrounding levels, whether from the top of the spiral staircase or from its base where views are still spectacular, though rather less vertiginous.
The afternoon ended rather wetter than it had begun as the rain arrived with a vengeance just before 17.00. We sincerely hope the queue had dispersed by then and that Sylvia and Peter had been able to get themselves safely home and dry!
Thank you CWCT and the Schroders for an excellent couple of hours. Even my long suffering husband (just the knees, not my fault – Ed) thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of going up. Not so much the coming down!