“I’m wearing a glowing hat – just look for a glowing hat!”

(If you can’t be bothered to read all the of the following, just watch this video and know that I Was There…)

At 5pm yesterday, I left Swansea in the company of eight excellent people. Around 10pm, we arrived at the car park at Stonehenge, and set up our tents. Around 11pm, I stood before the stones and took a deep breath, before walking among them, touching them, looking, wondering (and weaving my way through a tight-packed throng of revellers). Around 4:50am, along with about 24,000 other weirdos, I looked to the sunrise but alas, ’twas hidden in clouds. Around 6am, I was in the tent, being horizontal; around 10am, I was up and about, rejuvenated and ready for the drive home; around noon, we left. Around 5pm I was waving madly at ex-students from the passenger window of a mini on the M4, much to their amusement. Around 7, I got home and made the cats happy through the magic of food.

26 of the most pleasant hours I have ever spent, I must say. The only thing missing was Bash, which is an excellent excuse for going again next year.

I’d never been to Stonehenge before at all, and I am incredibly grateful to my parents for never taking me, because this was the best first visit I can imagine. Ordinarily, it’s impossible to get right up to the stones (see google maps – those greayish dots trailing around the stones are disappointed tourists), but for the solstice it’s open and free – all praise English Heritage. It was so good to be able to walk right up to this incredible site without restriction, and I recommend a solstice visit if only for this purpose. Word to the wise, however: if weirdos bother you, arrive early, touch the stones, and don’t stay past sunset.

Cos yep, it’s gotta be said: the place was full of weirdos. I was happy to be one of them, but definitely on the normal side, alas. Much nonsense was spoken, but I was particularly amused by: “Emergency! Emergency! Glowstick breakage on the western stone!”, “If you’re not drinking ginger wine you don’t really exist – it’s a quantum thing.”, and “Your hat would be no good for Burning Man: they’d run you out of town. No, they’d fire-poi you out of town.”

BBC coverage here – though I’m sure most of the crowd didn’t get up early: they stayed up late. :-) “It’s bad lovin’, woo hoo, it’s bad lovin’!”

It was a clear night with stratocumulus scudding in from the south just in time to sprinkle us with a couple of light showers and obscure the sunrise – given the rain lately, we were more than grateful for the weather. I certainly didn’t mind not seeing the sun actually break the horizon: I was there for the night, not for the moment. It was a bit chilly around 3am, but I was kept super snug (and thus smug) by my birthday present from Bash and my parents: a shiny new Montane Extreme Smock, as recommended by intrepid Mountain Rescue types. All hail.

Interesting: 5000 more people than last year, but 1000 less cars. Only four arrests.

Photos will follow.

5 Responses to ““I’m wearing a glowing hat – just look for a glowing hat!””

  1. June 21st, 2007 | 11:49 pm

    The link to the BBC video seems either wrong or the page it’s taking me to is broken. Fix it! I’m intrigued! :-)

  2. Phiil
    June 22nd, 2007 | 10:39 am

    Aaagh! I really wanted to go this year, but alas, broke a couple of ribs last week and couldn’t get there. Glad you had a good time though :)

  3. June 22nd, 2007 | 11:34 am

    Thanks for the heads up, Andy – should be working now.

  4. Lee
    June 25th, 2007 | 7:53 pm

    Wowowoowwww!!

    How fantastic — would love to go next year!!

  5. July 5th, 2009 | 9:49 am