Walking Up Glastonbury Tor 9 months Pregnant

When I was a child, I was fascinated with Greek and Roman mythology. Then I moved to India, I found myself intrigued with Indian myths and legends, it kind of escaped my attention that Britain also has it’s own mythology, legends and folklore. It’s not intertwined with daily life as it is here in India, but it’s there, among weather worn stones and sparkling springs.

Boggarts, elves and faeries are said to dwell on the British Isles. King Arthur ruled Camelot, Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor and Saint George slayed a dragon. My elder sister lives in the small town of Glastonbury, the site of many myths, mysteries and legends. The Glastonbury Tor has been linked with the Holy Grail, Merlin, Celtic Druids, and Neolithic Mother Goddess rituals.

I was carrying a large baby, full term and I really hoping I didn’t go overdue. My midwife recommend I walk up and down stairs to gently help get things going. We were driving home from visiting my sister and I saw the iconic Tor, a 500 foot tall conical shaped clay hill with a 14th century Church tower perched on top. The Tor has steps, lots of them.

It was Sunday afternoon and a reasonably sunny day. It started off well, breathing the fresh air and watching ribbons tied to trees flutter in the breeze. We reached the bottom of the hill and looked up, baby and I could do this.

The most famous legend associated with Glastonbury Tor is that of Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph buried the Holy Grail containing two drops of Jesus’ blood at the foot of the Glastonbury Tor. The Holy Grail containing the blood is rumoured to be the source of the natural spring which bursts from the Tor, the water even runs red (due to iron oxide in the soil…but that ruins a good story).

A third of the way up, we walked passed a man dressed like a wizard with a pack of tarot cards, sat on a log with a small table in front of him. Half way up, I needed a lie down. A group of jolly women walked passed, all wearing long skirts, carrying longer sticks and crowns of flowers woven into their silver hair.

I managed to get up to the top eventually, by crawling on my hands and knees at one point. I had another lie down and enjoyed the absolutely spectacular views of the Somerset levels.

It’s hard work walking up the Tor when you’re not carrying a full grown baby in your womb, so I felt pretty amazing. I have heard since that it’s quite a common thing to do. I’ve had friends tell me they did it or know someone who also walked up the Tor when they decided it was time for baby to arrive (so maybe it’s still the site of a kind of Mother Goddess ritual of sorts?).

British folklore and mythology has inspired the likes of J.K. Rowling and J.R.R Tolkein (who included the name Rohan, which is Gaelic as well as a Sanskrit, in the Lord of the Rings series).The Glastonbury Tor didn’t inspire Rohan to make an appearance until a couple of weeks later. I can’t wait to take him back there one day.


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  1. @Lauren

    I think it was dangerous to climb on that hill with at an advanced stage of pregnancy, one wrong step and anything could have happened. As far as folklores are concerned, I remember the tale of tristan and Iseult. The most inspiring folktale is that Queen Boudica the brave british queen who fought against the romans. I have heard that the stonehenge is concerned with ancient worship practices.


    • Hi Friend,

      From my experience in India, it seems that pregnant women are kept inside when the time is near. I was advised to keep active and rest in equal measure by my midwife in the U.K. as I had a healthy pregnancy. I walked long distances everyday and this helped baby to engage and me to stay fit and strong. Keeping active prepared me for a natural delivery and speedy recovery.
      There is a well maintained footpath with steps (walking up and down stairs was advice from my care provider as I stated in the post) going up the Tor and i took it at my own pace.

      Sorry for the long reply. I can’t stand to think that you would think I would put my child at risk so I wanted to clear that up 🙂

      It was a lovely experience.

      I hope you are well 🙂


      • Sorry, if you I have offended you in any way, it was never my intention. Yes, it is true that pregnant women are kept inside in India when they time is near, but it depends. Many women in big cities keep active these day. In metro train, I do see many women at different stages of pregnancy going for work.


    • You’re far more likely to slip in the bathroom than out and about in sensible shoes. I think all those confined pregnant women could do with a bit of fresh air. They’re not made of glass.


      • Just clarifying the comment about fresh air. It gives me the impression that you think they are confined in closed rooms when the time is near. This is not true, it’s only that they maintain less strenuous lifestyles at that advanced stage. They still go out for shopping, temples, movies, visit relatives, work, restaurants etc. And yes, they are extra careful in restrooms :).


      • Hi Rahul – I meant it figuratively… I know they’re not generally literal prisoners! Pregnant women the world over are subject to a lot of guilt-tripping though, and sometimes unnecessarily restrictive advice.


  2. Hahahaha! You loon! That is some hill! I love Glastonbury Tor. When I lived on a traveller site in Somerset I used to drive all the way to Glastonbury just to fill up my water butts as the water is fantastic (magic or not it tastes great!) I love the Arthurian legends also and can highly recommend The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – it’s a retelling of the myths from a female character perspective and really beautiful!


  3. So that’s where I’ll find the Holy Grail.. time to start digging😁.. Mythologies are so majestic.. I feel like it connects me to the unknown, the greater force.. it’s also the best medium to know other cultures, to understand them.. if not anything, it’s the best collection of stories over ages.. Keep them coming😀


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