The National Trust gift shop at the base of Glastonbury Tor has become the battleground for yet another dispute over the rights of pet owners to use the dog trolleys.
Regular readers will know that the trolleys were donated by the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union last year to allow less able dogs to enjoy the view from the top of the tor. But after protests from owners of other pets, restrictions were eased over which pets were allowed to use the trolleys.
Last month, in a bid to ease queues for the trolleys, new rules were imposed that limit their use to mammals and some breeds of bird such as parakeets.
Owners of lizards and snakes have not complained about the ban because the permanent ice cap on top of Glastonbury Tor makes conditions uncomfortable for cold-blooded creatures.
But the many owners of goldfish affected by the ban are up in arms over what they regard as an affront to the personal freedoms previously enjoyed by their pets. Goldfish are historically important to the people of Glastonbury, appearing in the town’s coat of arms.
In an attempt to fight back against what they perceive to be an unfair limitation on the freedom of movement traditionally enjoyed by goldfishes the Glastonbury Pet Shop Consortium are asking residents of Glastonbury to display protest signs in their windows. You can download the goldfish protest sign here.
Visitors will soon be able to ride to the top of Glastonbury Tor without suffering aching legs – a complaint known locally as “Glasto-calf”. This follows agreement by the planning committee this week to allow an escalator to be installed on the steepest slope – the final 100 metres of the tor.
The cost of the escalator will be funded partly by a grant from the Glastonbury Signwriters Guild, with the remainder recouped from advertising that will be displayed to visitors as they ascend and descend the tor in style.
As might be expected, news of the escalator has divided the community, with some people claiming that it is a wonder of modern science, while others claim that it discriminates against owners of larger dogs whose owners are not able to carry them for such a long escalator journey. Owners of small dogs are of course rejoicing in the fact that their dogs will be able to enjoy the view from the top of Glastonbury Tor, as their owners will have no trouble supporting their weight on the long escalator ride.
The local developers responsible for the escalator proposal are very relieved as this was the second planning application. It follows the refusal of the first proposal that included a moving walkway that would have carried visitors all the way from the middle of Glastonbury town to the base of the tor. Visitors would then have switched to the escalator for the final stage of their journey. This was deemed too disruptive as the path of the moving walkway crosses several major roads that would have needed to have been rerouted.
Because Glastonbury Tor grew by 30 metres since 2001, many dog owners have expressed concern about the steep slope their pets must now endure when climbing from the National Trust gift shop at the base to St. Michael’s Tower at the top of the tor.
The Glastonbury Pilgrims Union has stepped in and donated thirty dog trolleys of various sizes that will allow people to still enjoy the tor with their pets, but without tiring them excessively.
Patricia Barnyard of the Glastonbury Dogwalker’s Trust is particularly happy; “This is a typically kind and generous gesture by the Pilgrims Union. The tor has become very steep lately and many dogs struggle to make it all the way to the top. With these trolleys dogs of all kinds can now be led by their owners to the top where they can enjoy the view with everyone else. It is worth noting that the trolleys are available on a first come first served basis, and they are mostly in smaller sizes. You may find a queue if you bring an Alsatian or Doberman for a walk on the tor. There is currently only one trolley that can transport a Great Dane in comfort.”