Were you one of the estimated 25,000 that travelled to Stonehenge earlier this week (Monday) to witness the summer solstice? The sunrise time of 4.52am put us off so we weren’t there, but we understand that those diehards that did go were treated to a spectacular sight as the sun rose behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle.
And if you did witness it, it’s fascinating to think that you were just one of a very lengthy procession of people that have been drawn to the site to celebrate the longest day of the year. A procession that stretches back over 4,000 years.
Of course those early bird Druids didn’t have to contend with the Wiltshire Police or the Highways Agency, or indeed, English Heritage, who are now responsible for protecting the site, as all these organisations come together each year to ensure that the revellers enjoy the Solstice in an appropriate manner and without damaging the World Heritage site. Or as a spokesperson from English Heritage said, “to respect the stones and the people around you”.
We wonder what those early Druids might have made of that request, or some of the other conditions that were imposed on the visitors this year, including, for the first time, ‘a no-fly zone over the monument for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles’!
‘People with alcohol, drugs, sleeping bags or pets were also not allowed access to the site’. We suspect given those conditions (with the exception of the sleeping bags which might have seemed like a good idea), the early Druids would have given up and gone in search of somewhere else to celebrate instead.