Late last night I was travelling down to a hotel ready for an early appointment when I realised I was going to drive past Stonehenge. And it was the summer solstice. I had no idea, but on a whim decided to go with it and head for the site – I’ve never visited before and it’s not likely I will get the chance again. And so I unwittingly joined 14,000 other people in a damp field in Wiltshire.
This was one of the most random nights – turning up I found myself parking next to a van that was setting up for the evening – by unloading and setting up a full sideboard, rug, standard lamp, sofa and a Christmas tree which they then proceeded to decorate. No idea. Obviously some ceremonial thing I’m not up with.
The place was packed – it was only just after 9pm and people were everywhere as I walked out to the stones – which were awash with people, inside the circle (which is not usually allowed), on top of the stones within, on the perimeter, around performance areas which had been set up across the site. There was even a giant statue. This was in addition to a large police presence and a whole host of ‘authentic to the period’ burger vans!
So was it special?
Well, the circle is amazing, I confess to touching the stones and trying to feel anything. They were warm – but then it had been a warm day, and I would like to say that I felt some sort of energy – but I don’t know if that was just me imagining this or really just about the number of people and the level of excitement on the site. It was hard to really get a sense of what was going on – although there were people obviously there for religious reasons, groups of ‘performers’ – drummers and dancers mainly, there were lots there just to enjoy the party and then some like me who had just turned up with no idea what to expect.
So what was it all about? I don’t know! But it was fun and different and unexpected, so whats not to like.
Did I stay the night to watch the sunrise? Don’t be daft – I left when the rain turned up!