We’d only ever been close to Stonehenge once before – a few years back en route to a photoshoot for Front magazine in Newton Abbot. 12 years on and finally one of our Bucket List goals is being ticked off.
We stayed at a super nice Airbnb called the Bee House, around 20 miles from the site, perfect for pre-Henge drinks and jollies, with a lovely view across Wiltshire. We’d been told the roads around the site get jam packed in the lead up to the event, so we made our way down to the site as early as we could, heading out for around 7pm with a picnic hamper full of booze and warm clothes. Our aim was simple: stay up all night to watch the sunrise over the stones, celebrate the longest day of the year and absorb some of the special energy that emanates from the sacred site.
Solstice is the only time of year when people are allowed to actually get right up close to the famous stones, touch them and feel their mythical energies, so of course people travel from far and wide to go and celebrate this very special time of year. In our minds we’d expected a large contingent of druids and back-to-earth hippies, dreadlocked crusties and liberated beings indulging in a spot of poi…
What we encountered was definitely not that. There were pockets of hippy activity, but the majority of people who’d gathered at Stonehenge were young, dare we say ‘chavvy’, and boisterous. This was not to be the sombre, respectful celebration we’d expected. All around us were youngsters getting drunk and high, chatting up girls, and chanting, “SOLLLLLLLSTIIIIIIIICE!”. No joke.
We’re not being old fuddy-duddies here, as the whole situation was mostly quite entertaining. The only real downer was that there were a couple of fights right next to where we were sat, which was disappointing and slightly unnerving. Besides that though the atmosphere was, on the whole, spirited and positive – a proper outdoor night rave for most of the people there. A total surprise to us, but sod it… good craic nonetheless.
We’d been intrigued by Stonehenge from a very early age, being fascinated by the supernatural and ‘unexplained mysteries’ as a kid, so being next to the stones was definitely humbling. Witnessing their majesty right up close and personal was unforgettable and sharing that experience with a loved one made it even more special. All night we could see a glimmer of red in the sky, not once did it disappear – of course it got dark, but still the glow remained, teasing us ahead of the sunrise.
By 4 or 5am, the sky began its transition from dark, bluey greys to deep reds and oranges. Sunrise was upon us. Funnily enough, by that time, most of the drunken rapscallions had burned themselves out and the only people who remained were those who were there to observe the rising of the sun in peaceful contemplation.
So we stood, embraced each other and watched as the awe-inspiring orange orb made its way up from the baseline of the horizon into the skies, bringing with it a new day, an incredible palette of scarlet and orange and a warm, fuzzy feeling of optimism. Here we are, June 2015, looking into the future with an assured feeling of positive outcomes fueled by ever-evolving relationships and the soft hazy glow of the sun.
Until next time…