Watching the sun come up next to one of the UK’s oldest and most famous monuments. why not?
Every June 20th the ancient monument of Stonehenge plays host to one of the most important events in the Druid calendar, the Summer Solstice, celebrating the sun reaching its highest point in the Northern Hemisphere, by spending all night at the monument, before welcoming in the sunrise with some rituals and a cheer.
After recovering in a hotel near Mount Snowdon from the events in Part 1, we popped to Chester to grab supplies and set about making out way to the Solstice, with my journey taking me via both Shrewsbury and Telford, picking up some cool companions on the way down, including Ella (Ella Ruth Photography) and Chelsea (Simply Chelsea), before driving the final 2 hours down to Wiltshire.
The journey went well and we arrived just after the gates opened at 7pm, which after queuing for roughly 40 minutes and walking the 15 minutes to the main entrance, we got to the monument at about 8pm, giving us just enough time to find everyone else, including Gemma (Stop Play Listen), choose a good spot and enjoy the sun setting over the stunning countryside.
With the sun disappearing beyond the horizon, the crowd turned the 5000-year-old stones into one of the most unusual stages in the world, dancing all night to the drums and guitars, engaging in sing songs and making new friends from all over the world.
It’s important to remember to take lots of layers, as it can get a little chilly when the wind gets up, but luckily for us, the night stayed dry and there were a couple of fire pits dotted around to keep you warm, while hot food and drinks could be purchased on site, or if you felt particularly energetic, the open area behind the portaloo’s had become the place to go frisbee and football games.
By 3am, our group had started singing the hits of the ’90s and playing some interesting games to pass the time, keeping us going through to the morning light and reminding us just how good the ’90s were for great music (hair and clothing not so much, but that’s another story), in fact, I was a little bit concerned at just how much Ella loves a bit of N-Sync and Gemma a bit of A1, clearly we all know that S Club reigned supreme.
As we got closer to 5am, the sky was getting noticeably lighter, giving the stones an almost mystical feel and produced the chance to snap some lovely shots of the surrounding area and the festivities as they worked their way up towards the climax and with the first few rays of sunlight appearing from behind the treeline, the excitement was growing almost towards fever pitch.
Finally, at five, the sun popped up from beyond the horizon and caused a massive cheer from the expectant crowd, selfies galore and a series of hugs to celebrate making it through to the morning and meeting some awesome new people, all of which I can’t wait to see at next years event.
Special thanks to everyone that joined me for my awesome weekend, Bev, Bexie, Chelsea, Ella, Ed, Gemma, Kaori, Lianne, Michael, Rebecca and Saandy.