Thousands mark summer solstice at Stonehenge
As the author of Stonehenge with Caroline Malone (for young adults), I always like to mark the count of the crowds that gather at the summer solstice. This year some 30,000 celebrated as dawn broke on the Wiltshire plain.
Druids, hippies and sun-worshippers were among those who gathered to watch the sun rise at the ancient stone circle at 0458 BST on the longest day. Rainy conditions obscured the sunrise but the turnout was still the highest in five years. As the dawn broke a cheer went up from revellers who gathered at the Heel stone. - a pillar at the edge of the prehistoric monument.
A spokeswoman for English Heritage, which runs the 5,000-year-old site, said the last time a turnout of 30,000 was achieved was in 2003. "It's been very wet and soggy," she said.
"Probably a few disappointed people, many streaming out before sunrise because it was so wet and cold. I don't think it will discourage people from coming again. Quite a few people come every year and are quite hardy."
Source: BBC News (21 June 2008)