It isn’t often I’ve stood on top of a mountain but on the rare occasions I have there’s something very liberating about it. It reminds me how small and insignificant I am in the scale of things which I think is really healthy; sometimes life can be so busy that (by default) I start feeling ultra important (which I’m totally not), become very self focused and end up becoming quite inconsiderate and intolerant of others. To look out at the land, sea and air from up on high puts me in touch with my own mortality; what I’m looking out at has been there for millennia and has probably been seen by millions of people – if it ever looked back at me all it would see would be just one ordinary 61 year old man.
(1976 Trafalgar House)
Standing atop the Rock of Gibraltar (to me) is awesome for all of the reasons mentioned but also for something else; a massive sense of belonging. I felt a connection with the Rock from the very first time I went to the top and still feel it now even after a forty years absence. When I look at photos from the seventies and compare them to more recent ones I love seeing the familiar things blending with newer developments; it’s almost like seeing an ongoing maintenance not dissimilar to looking after a vintage classic car. There’s something very reassuring about seeing the Trafalgar House building in a seventies photo and then still seeing it there in a 2016 photo alongside contemporary high rise apartment buildings.
There’s several ways to get to the top of the Rock including taxis, Rock Tours operators, the cable car or even (for the fit folks) walking up. When you arrive at the top there are fabulous views and photo opportunities from all sides and a cafe to chill with refreshments and pick up a few souvenirs. The photos above are of Carol and me on our first trip together to the Top of the Rock Cafe (we took the cable car); it’s really weird to say that I not only remember the shirt I’m wearing – I still have it! Couldn’t make that up! All around the cafe a troop of Rock apes welcome the visitors, play, feed and pinch whatever isn’t held tightly.
(2016 RockHeart. Title photo. Taken on MedStepsChhallenge2016)
As well as the Cafe summit there are other peaks on Gibraltar. One is towards Europa Point which you can ascend via the Mediterranean Steps from Jews Gate (very recommendable) and another is quite a steep walk up the North Face passing Moorish Castle, the World War 2 Tunnel and the City Under Siege along the way. I’ve been up all three of the ones I’ve described and love all of them for their totally different experiences and their beautiful differing views. When I’m at the top of Gibraltar I’m on top of the world.