The hope of a warm summer seemed a million miles away from snowy Kilmersdon in Somerset over the weekend, but like many villages around the county there was a good turnout for the annual wassailing ceremony.
Dozens enjoyed a ploughman’s lunch in the village hall, accompanied by the village’s band and the Cam Valley morris dancers, before Wassail Queen Cara Johnson-Pompey, 16, led the procession to the communal orchard.
There, the assembled wassailers circled the tree, and the ancient ceremony took place, with organiser Martin Horler firing a 12-bore into the branches to scare off the evil spirits.
The wassail cup’s hot spiced cider was more welcome than ever as it was passed around, after a piece of toast was stuffed into the branches and last year’s cider was poured around the base to give back something of what the trees provided in 2012.
“It was the first time I can remember that we’d had snow on the ground,” said Martin. “We’ve certainly had lots of rain in years past, but never snow.”