Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

In 1975, (I know, a long time ago), I was in Stonehenge for the celebration of the Summer Solstice. It wasn’t planned and was quite co-incidental which made it all the more special.

Stonehenge Postcards 001 (2)
Postcard from 1975

We had pulled into the carpark to camp the night when the caretaker approached us and told us we would have to move on as there was a big ceremony with the Druids the next day. He stopped and chatted with us for a while and then told us if we went to his ‘local’ (pub) that night he would see what he could arrange for us to stay and be part of the ceremony. It was an offer to good to refuse! I’ll never forget how he introduced us – “These are my friends from Australia that I didn’t know I had until today”.

The following day the Druids gathered for the ceremony which began in the evening and finished the following day at dawn. One of the Druids was a famous actor and he stayed in our van all day to escape the crowds that were gathering. He then invited us to stand behind him for the ceremony which was such a special experience. Here are the Druids rehearsing the procedure for the ceremony.

Druids rehearsal
Druids rehearsal for Summer Solstice ceremony

The evening before the solstice included a walk to Old Salem, which was the original site of Salisbury, at midnight

Looking to Salisbury 1975
Looking to Salisbury from Old Salem 1975

The timing was perfect so that by the time we walked back down to Stonehenge the Druids formed their circle as the sun hit the altar stone.

Stonehenge ceremony
The Druids dawn ceremony at Stonehenge 1975

I know these photos are of a dreadful quality. Some were taken with an Instamatic camera and have developed a strange pink hue, others were slides I have copied onto my computer. They are original from 1975 so I thought they were worth showing as Stonehenge was so accessible then. No fences, no fees and I must say now, looking back, no respect for this magnificent relic of history.

The summer solstice at Stonehenge was an amazing experience.

Stonehenge Postcards 001 (4)
Stonehenge postcard from 1975.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

  1. You were very lucky to attend their ceremony. I hope I’d be able to attend too at some point. A shame the film didn’t endure time (this is why I’m grateful for digital cameras). The british used to have a great sense of humour 😉 I wonder how it is with them now (not so sure)

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