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Castlerigg celebrates the solstice

June 22, 2009

Revellers wait for the sun rise

Revellers wait for the sun rise

Stonehenge wasn’t the only ancient site to attract revellers as yesterday morning saw the sun rise on the longest day of the year.

The stone circles of Castlerigg close to Keswick in the Lake District attracted well over 1000 people many of whom had camped in the ancient rings.

Dated at 3200 BC they saw a 21st century take on an ancient ritual.

Converted post office vans and ambulances vied with the latest four wheel drives,new age travellers with American tourists as an expectant crowd waiting for 4.35 and the rise of the sun.
Many had been there all night,the alcohol and other substances beginning to take their effect as the strange twilight of midsummer gave way to cloudy skies.The tops of the surrounding hills were clothed in cloud but in the distance to the east,a glimmer of hope as red skies began to appear.

Smoke from the all night fires,some lit in handy supermarket BBQ containers,flashes from torches and mobile phone cameras.Some wrapped in rugs others immersed in sleeping bags or marathon runners silver foil.

Empty bottles of wine,cans of lager and the cardboard packaging of beer packs.Someone was busily going around the site collecting the rubbish.

Doesn't look as though the sun is going to appear

Doesn't look as though the sun is going to appear

In the centre a large group playing guitars and bongos.A Capella rendition of Led Zep’s a whole lot of love merged into the Pogues Dirty Old Town whilst the bongo player increased the tempo.

It was all too much for one women who struggled to pull a bright red sleeping over her head.Another chose to leave the circle and sat in the lotus position starring the eastern sky waiting for the moment.

waiting for the sun

waiting for the sun

As it approached the noise grew.A group of American tourists arrived.”Maybe we should have stayed up all night said one of them.” However they changed their mind as a middle age women dressed in black staggered up to them rather worse for wear and shouted “F***ing amazing”.

“Mother nature herself,” said the father as the children giggled and tried to take pictures with their phones.

Strangely the hour of the sun rise was barely noticed,partly because the sky was enveloped in black cloud and soon the tourists at least began to drift away.

first rays of solstice light

first rays of solstice light

I made my way back to the car and suddenly the sun appeared from behind the hills bathing the stones in a strange copper light.For a fleeting minute to cries of delight,the summer had begun

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