Sunday, 21 June 2015

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 2015.

Oh, that was very special.

It wasn't much of a surprise to most people - I must be getting predictable.

We went to see in the Solstice (the longest day) at Stonehenge - to watch the sun rise through the stones.

Every journey starts with a single step (so they say). Ours started with a burger.

I'd always wanted to go for the Solstice but never had the time. Robyn was desperate to see Stonehenge but we got there too late last September.

She also wanted to walk among the stones and that you can't do any more unless you pay a lot more.

So, we arrived at about midnight which was special enough.

On the way a young Moon lit up the sky, chased by a bright star which I like to think was Venus.

I had with me a disabled walker from my late Mum. I couldn't use the disabled car park because I don't have a badge - so I also couldn't use the bus and I had to push it a very long way from the car to the stones.

I was pretty exhausted by the time I got there but the walker has a seat and that was a life saver for me during the night.

They shouldn't have let me in with it but one look at my spinal brace seemed to shut them up.

When we got in the place was buzzing;

No it was really buzzing. There were about 30,000 people there.

We struggled through the centre of the stone circle and set up camp just opposite the three arched pillars, on the outside of the ring.

There was music, drumming, singing.

There were lights and jugglers.

There were people juggling lights;

There were quite a few drunk people, swaying alarmingly through the crowd.

There was incense.

There was some kind of special 'herbal tobacco'.

There were 'Manic pixie women', there were new age travellers.

There were Druids;

Robyn and I blew bubbles in the breeze and then I embarrassed her rather a lot by wearing LED lights on my hat which I have to say were very popular.

I had my photo taken several times and quite a few people came up to say hallo or to congratulate me.

I'm not sure that Robyn has forgiven me yet.

Strangely, by about 2-00am the sky in the east was becoming streaked with light and the stars started to hide.

It also got cold and we were glad of the old blankets we took with us.

I was struck by how much it felt that we were sitting on the edge of the planet, spinning at 44,000 kilometres an hour towards the sun, as I watched the sky light up;

We started to move forward and the crowd got more and more excited as 4:52 am got nearer.


The sky was fabulous - red and violet all at the same time;

And then the Sun rose - it really did come up through the stones although where we were clouds came over just at the wrong moment;

Just amazing;

I found it incredibly moving and that was in spite of the meleĆ© of drunken revellers, spaced out hippies, aggressive new age travellers and the whole of Europe's privileged gap year kids ticking another box on their 'bucket list'.
Actually for one night, lonely Stonehenge was the centre of the whole world - the only place to be.
It was electric. 

When the Sun was fully up we struggled back through the centre of the stones again - not easy with an oversized disabled walker, I can tell you.

The achievement of building this monument is immense; it's only when you are right under the stones that you can see how big they are.

All this was done without metal tools or wheels.

The lichen is 3 thousand years old.

And I imagine watching the sun rise on Midsummer's morning was just as thrilling all those years ago as it was for us today.

And it still means a lot to so many people - here a small bunch of flowers left in a whole in one of the stones;

By the time we'd had enough I was well on the way to being shattered; it was a very long way back and uphill.

Oh dear that hurt.

We slept in the car till the traffic had quietened down but then we were off on the second part of our Midsummer's day.

That's for tomorrow!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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