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  1. ITV Report

Navy helicopter hovers over Glastonbury Tor

A Merlin helicopter was drafted in to carry huge bags of stones to the top of the Glastonbury Tor. Photo: ITV West Country

There was an unusual sight at one of Somerset's most famous landmarks today.

A Merlin helicopter was drafted in to carry huge bags of stones to the top of the Glastonbury Tor.

The helicopter lifted 40 tonnes of aggregate to the top of Glastonbury Tor, in order to repair erosion.

40
tonnes of aggregate were lifted to the top of the Tor by the helicopter

The work has been organised by the National Trust, who hope the protective measures will last a number of years.

The erosion is said to have been caused by the thousands of visitors to the hill.

The work was organised by the national trust. Credit: ITV West Country

It is a 518ft climb to the top of the Glastonbury Tor, making repair work difficult without help.

We are extremely lucky, the Commando Helicopter Force to help us with this, we really are. It's kind of a one-off really. It's a really important site, there's been settlement on here since 500AD and we just want to stop the erosion - it's a well loved site really.

– Rebekah West National Trust
The helicopter delivered 40 tonnes of aggregate to the top of the Tor. Credit: ITV West Country

Having been used in operations all over the world, this was a nearby job for the Merlin based at RNAS Yeovilton.

But they say it was still a complex operation.

It is difficult. The top of the Tor has a very very small and finite area where we can low-lift that aggregate onto and it involves the aircraft getting within to about ten feet to the edge of the rotor disc to the actual Tor itself. So it requires very precision flying.

The bags are heavy - they've about a tonne each - and on this lift they're doing at the minute they've managed to lift three in one go so that's three tonnes in one go so they're right at the edge of the power limit of the aircraft and it's fantastic training for the air crew, it really is. It's absolutely superb.

– Tom Cackett 846 Naval Air Squadron

Today's work is aimed at ensuring the Tor is accessible to people for years to come.