top of page

The Mount in Guildford

the Mount
The view from the Mount

The weather turned cold again in mid-January. As my friend said, UK weather is an unpredictable mood swing: one week you get warm and rainy days, the next week it is cold to the bones. I took my friend’s, Yohan, advice to go out more often in the winter so I would get accustomed to it gradually. I had been thinking to visit the Mount again, to test my endurance.

Before I dwelled into the experience, I would like to recall my first visit to the Mount.

Impromptu Christmas Hike

After a disappointing Christmas lunch on campus, me and my Kolkata friends thought walking around Guildford to spend the afternoon. We first headed to the Guildford Cathedral by following the public footpath through the student accommodation. The cathedral was closed, but we lingered and looked down the houses stretching across Guildford. Right opposite was the elevated plains, hovering above the neighbourhood. Arithra had volunteered to guide us to the hill.

The journey took a lot of twists and turns, as well as a slanted road that slowed down our speed. My Kolkata friends mentioned that residential houses in Kolkata resembled the English architecture, as they described their city as ‘mini-England’. We eventually reached at the foot of the hill, where we tramped on a narrow lane to the summit. I admit that it was not the best way to hike, especially the soil had been dampened by the midnight rain and unstable, bumpy surface. Sayantika and Pritha were wearing fancy outfits for the Christmas dinner; soil had smudged their pretty boots and their throats were dry from the intense activity. How ungraceful we looked when we spread our legs wide to balance ourselves. Once we found an exit, we quickly escaped the path.

The Mount Guildford
The path

The Mount gave a fresh perspective of Guildford view, just like flipping a coin for an alternate pattern. Aside from the cathedral, the skyscrapers from afar contrasted the town’s aesthetics. I stayed still to immerse the scenery, unlike the others who had wander around the hill. The girls sat on a terribly scratched bench after this exhausting hike. I was unsettled at the brownish mud puddle on the ground, so I refused their invitation to join them. Yet, accident happened. Sayantika got into a brawl with Arithra which her phone fell into the puddle. Fortunately, her phone was safe from damage.

We spent an hour on the hill before deciding to head back to our accommodation. After that tiring experience, we refused to join Arithra to descend the same path. The asphalt road was a safer option even though it took a longer time with twists and turns. We were rewarded to appreciate the rows English houses that built along the hilly terrain. Instead of the typical vertical houses that stood stationary, the diagonal layers gave these houses more personality. I found the mini garage adorable, with the size large enough to fit one car. However, it would not fit for Malaysians who preferred more than two cars per household.

“I wish I am rich enough to buy one of these houses,” Pritha moaned.

Surprisingly, this path led us to the train station’s side entrance. Why would we ever walk on that perilous path when we could just follow the stable footpath?

The Mount Guildford
Panoramic view

Lunch at the Mount

I bought a chicken samosa and latte from the High Street’s pastry store before retracing the track up to the Mount. The course was less exhausting, but it involved more inclinations. On my right was a row of English houses, while the left was a cemetery reserved for Guildford residents.

Guildford cemetery chapel
The cemetery's lone chapel

A chapel oversees the gravestones that spread across the ground, but it was locked and no sign of human activity. The moss on the road was the only bright colour that stood out from the shades of grey. Most of the gravestones were eroded: names that were barely discernible and crosses that had fallen to the ground. If you are a well-known writer who authored two fantastical stories, your grave would be taken care by the local council to the point it looked good as new. Lewis Caroll’s gravestone was beaming in ivory white; a flower wreath was hung on the cross with multiple Alice in Wonderland merchandise as his companions. His legacy lives on, while his neighbours were no longer exist in the public mind.

Death is a fearful figure; the graveyard is not a place for one to linger around. For me, living beings are more terrifying. As I sat on a bench near the church, I soon found peace in this dead silence. Despite that, I had no intention on dining with the deceased.

Guildford Cemetery
Lewis Caroll's Grave

When people praised of the Mount’s unchanging appearance, I spotted several differences from my last visit. The soil was no longer mushy and soft, but the cold temperature hardened it like cement. I almost tripped several times on the bumps, so I had to retort walking on the smoothen path. The freezing wind did not stop the dogs and their faithful masters from strolling around the hill. The puddles underneath the benches were frozen into slippery ice, which were equally risky. I carefully settled myself on a bench and finished the chilled samosa, while gazed into the cathedral. Although the idea of reading my novel for the afternoon sounded romantic, the wind already sent tingling feelings to my skin. So, off to my accommodation I went.

Date of Visitation: 25 Dec 2022 & 16 Jan 2023


Thank you for reading my travel story.

I'm Jenny, you may read my bio here.

Hear more stories of the world.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
bottom of page