Winter Solstice Celebrations

To ease the chills of winter we set off to see our travelling family over the Solstice. A few days before we went to the Ridgeway near Avebury to find no-one there! Quite unusual as there was always a van or two whenever we'd pulled on years ago. But times have changed as we were to discover when we arrived at Stonehenge but first we had a trip to Hungerford to see our old friends RDF, The Sporadics and DJ Dapper Dan as well as a couple more bands although actually we didn't see anyone else play! Friends old and new were there and it was a lovely way to spend Solstice eve. I had a few too many and forgot to get my camera out until the last minute. Getting a camera from a very cold van and bringing into a hot sweaty venue means steamed up lenses so no photos I'm afraid :( The next day we headed to the Drove at Stonehenge. We hadn't been to Stonehenge since the new visitors centre had been built and it was odd coming down the A303 and seeing the old road grassed over. One great thing about Stonehenge is there is a byway running very near it coming from the A303 and passing where the visitors centre used to be and going into Larkhill. Known as the Stonehenge Drove road this has long been a park up for travellers especially at the times of the pagan festivals. At the summer Solstice the drove gets closed but the rest of the year it is open and a great free parking spot over looking the stones. We had last come on a winter Solstice in 2009 and were expecting much the same as then, 20 or so vans, some hardcore hippies, a few druids and a handful of bored cops. How wrong we were! It seems that since we have been away the winter Solstice celebration (along with both Equinoxes apparently) has grown in size and become much more of a meeting place for travellers as well as lots of people who want to get into the stone circle itself or who want to get in for free and tourists and journalists! It was great to see so many travellers, some friends, one who we hadn't seen since parked up on the Algarve 3 years ago! Loads of cool vans and trucks and people! It was quite odd going to the stones and it being so packed though, it was like the first time I went to a summer Solstice there 10 years ago. It was pretty damn cold so fair play to anyone braving that early morning chill but I could help but feel that just like the summer event here it has lost a little something now it is so popular.

Thanks for looking :) xxx