In the high places

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Two days.. and two lunatics climbing hills in the heat of the noonday sun. We have been places.. so many places…and seen wonderful things in a landscape steeped in history, brimming with wildflowers and butterflies under a luminous, numinous sky.

We had planned a gentle trip to see a giant. There is a famous chalk-cut hill figure at Cerne Abbas in Dorset and we decided that as neither of us had ever seen it in the flesh, so to speak, we would meander on down there, at a leisurely pace, and stay a night near the sea before gently wandering back.

As with most of our adventures this week, we got a little sidetracked. Time appeared to have taken a holiday too and quite how, without hurrying, without rushing, we managed to explore so many places in two days I cannot say.

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We were, of course, talking a lot, so the miles just seemed to melt beneath the wheels. It began, perhaps, with the decision to take the A303 which runs past Stonehenge… you crest the hill and below you the iconic circle appears under the early morning sky. It was a good place to begin a journey into the landscapes of the past and we watched the hills for earthworks as we travelled south and west.

We stopped at Cadbury, famed as the legendary site of Camelot. After visiting the tiny, medieval church there we climbed the giant, prehistoric hillfort in the growing heat. The earthworks are huge.. a stupendous achievement. Walking the perimeter the distant vistas were already masked by the heat haze, but on the horizon it was possible to see the distinctive shape of Glastonbury Tor.

In these high places the past comes to life and, if you listen and watch with the eyes of heart and mind, the ancestors whisper their tales to the inner ear, peopling the landscape with life and colour.

By this time the sun was high, and an early lunch appeared to be in order. There is a pub in Cadbury…

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Another drive, another ancient church and we reached our destination, Cerne Abbas, where the giant looms over the hillside. The viewing area is in a convenient little car park…there is no real way to see it, so large it is, other than from this distance. Only idiots would choose to park up and climb to the top in the middle of the day in a heatwave….

The view was more than worth it as we placed the figure in his landscape from the hilltop and brought history to life in imagination. The hillside was smothered in wildflowers… campion and scabious, vetch, orchids and harebells… and everywhere butterflies and insects fluttered through the fairyland at ground level.

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It must be said, however, that colourful though it was, we two were probably more so… rather lobster coloured with exertion by the time we descended and found the crystal waters of the Silver Spring, a holy well that nestles at the foot of the hill in a cool, green glade. The icy water was welcome and we cooled hot faces in its fresh purity.

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It was still early afternoon as we explored the gloriously beautiful village, with its ancient buildings and lovely old church. There was also a tea room, the pubs being shut for the afternoon… and there was ice-cream too…

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We eventually wandered down through Dorchester to Weymouth and the farmhouse we were staying at overnight. There was coffee, cake and a chicken in the dining room, pigs in the garden and alpacas in the field… and the sea shimmering in the sun. We walked a little way along the coastal path before finding liquid refreshment in a pub.

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It was still only seven o’clock, still very hot and we were close to the sea… a walk along the beach brought temptation way too close and I was obliged to go for a swim. I cannot recall ever swimming in a warm sea in England before. Delighful! A towel would have been a good idea though, so it was a very soggy hobbit in shorts who sat outside the seafront bar dripping for a while…. But who cared as the light turned pastel colours on the water and the luminous glow painted the sea.

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Dinner was simplicity itself… fish and chips on Chesil beach as the sun went down on a glorious day. And we had another yet to come….

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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14 Responses to In the high places

  1. Fran says:

    What a wonderful day you have had! I am familiar with some of that area and love it very much.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      Glorious, isn’t it? The second day, if anything, was even more incredible.. however, that will have to wait… it is 2am and I need to sleep 🙂 There were hills in hot sun again today…

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  2. arlene says:

    Love all your shots! Beautiful!

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  3. As you’re traipsing about, I’m virtually loving your tour. Sue, I’ve been to Stonehenge. Back, when, I think, they let you walk close to the stone formations. Impressive. So glad that you got a dip in a warm sea. While I’m envying all that, you had to go and have fish and chips. Wonderful!

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  4. I have been to these places! Thank you for taking me back. Glad you’re having so much fun.

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  5. Rosie Amber says:

    A wonderful trip, thanks for sharing.

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  6. Running Elk says:

    OOooo. Incredible “first day”. Always been fascinated by Cadbury. ‘S on the list… though middle of a high 20 day does seem more than a bit nutty – even for a hobbit of such sturdy stock… 😉

    Stunned at the little scene of devotion you captured at the henge. Mr Abbas appears to have been the second giant on the tour – though, hooded and robed, sexing of the first isn’t quite as easy. I’m going for “she”… 🙂

    Pub… Pub? Now… where have I read this before… :/

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      *chuckles*
      So, I book you in for the southern tour, then? 🙂 We can do pubs,…..

      The Stonehenge scene you should recognise… this is the one pic I didn’t have from this trip.. so the pic here is the one I took with you and the guys last year 🙂

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  7. What a wonderful tour! Your pictures and descriptions are lovely, Sue – I’m very much looking forward to the rest!

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