Monday, 25 June 2012

Petrified in Pensford

The main wander this week was from Pensford to Stanford Drew and back again - yes one we have done a number of times  - well I like it! It ticks all the boxes, near to home, beautiful scenery , a decent pub for lunch and of course a stone circle.

This time should have been no different but we had hit a day when the church tower at Pensford was open to visitors. This wasn't to be missed so getting back just in the nick of time before it closed, up we went.

I should have been warned by the rather small and narrow doorway...

I should have further been warned by the warning that you went up at your own risk...

.....and by the offer of torches

and lastly by the suggestion that you waited at the halfway station for those at the top to come down!

The first part wasn't too bad, other than the steps were small and steep and it was dark. And I had a bulky backpack.

 I was relieved  to reach the halfway station. It was dark, very dark but using the camera flash  showed some interesting ironwork.

After the halfway stage came the belfry. I decided to carry on up and visit the belfry itself on the way down. This proved to be a mistake,

The steps got smaller, steeper and darker  -  no handrail to hold on to, just the smooth limestone of the walls. There were similarities with the broch at Mousa but much longer and Mousa did at least have a handrail.

None too soon the top was reached  and we emerged into daylight. The top had a narrow parapet around  and some spectacular views.

A long long way down!

A nice view of the disused viaduct.

I delayed as long as possible at the top as I wasn't looking forward to the descent. To re-enter the tower required an initial careful reversing into the hole and then a 180 degree turn whilst holding on to the top step.  In the dark and the steps only a few inches wide. ..

This is where my backpack and I got wedged and I had visions of falling. Fortunately I had friends above who managed to free me and I started down. This was far worse than coming up and I completely forgot to stop at the belfry in my haste to be safely down!

It was well worth it though  - but I don't think I'd do it again.

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