|Summer Solstice Sunrise, 21st June 2009.
Ah yes, the summer solstice. I trekked up the hillside from the carpark (a longer and steeper walk than I had anticipated for this early in the morning!) and arrived just in time for that ancient traditional ritual: 'Foxy, SHUT THE F*&K UP!! F&%K SAKE! Mick, shut your effing dog up, f%&kin hell'.
Two heads had camped up at the circle and their pregnant retriever was guarding the tent with far too much enthusiasm. Who needs ravers and gluesniffers at Stonehenge when you can stare into the 'jaws of death' in Bonane Heritage Park.
Eventually one body emerged from the tent, and soon we were joined by a biker who's friend had gotten a puncture and was observing the cloudy skyline from the side of a miserable road a few miles away.
It didn't take long for the reality to sink in, there was to be no sunrise this solstice. The horizon line is quite high up above the circle so I knew it would be some time before the sun would reach that high so I wandered around the other monuments in the park in vain hope.
At 6.30am, the silence was once again broken by the sound of cars roaring up the track way. Thee cars appeared and parked below the ring fort, it seemed to have been some kind of guided tour so I shadowed them for a while to see what I could find out.
The sunrise from the circle apparently occurs quite late, sometime around 6.30- 6.40am. At this time the sun has been up for over an hour and so would be a blinding light appearing above the ridge beyond, probably impossible to observe safely with the naked eye and very tricky to photograph (no chance of detail in the circle unless you blend a couple of shots).
I think this was the fourth cloudy solstice in a row, except one year when I watched the most beautiful sunrise from a deckchair off the coast of Borneo. At least I came away with two valuable nuggets of information for next time, sleep in for another hour and check the gates are locked before huffing and puffing up the hill by foot!
Posted by CianMcLiam
23rd June 2009ce