Eve of the Summer Solstice
Sunday 20th June 2021
Met up with Andrew for lunch at Noura in Belgravia (it made sense at the time, honestly) and then drove from there to Avebury, where we spent the remainder of the day watching the sunset (which we couldn't really see at any point) on the eve of the summer solstice.
London June 2021
John's Pictures

I had planned to drive to Avebury, and was going to give Andrew a lift, but it would have taken ages to drive all the way across London to pick him up in Deptford, so oddly we settled on the plan of meeting for lunch in Belgravia, which was also handy as the girls have friends nearby who they could go and visit afterwards. Happily this meant lunch at Noura after a long absence!

We ordered too much as usual, but this was probably good as Andrew and I ended up not having any dinner.

On arrival in Wiltshire, these were Andrew's lodgings in Compton Basset, a few miles away from Avebury.

I'd booked a place in East Kennet, so after checking in there, here I am embarking on my walk to Avebury. I was a bit concerned that might involve at least some walking along busy roads, but thankfully I found this shortcut across a field which wasn't marked on the OS map (a "permissive footpath" I believe).

I could hear music coming from up on the Ridgeway already, where there was an encampment of vans parked.

The first stone of the stone avenue, which is a bit patchy in the southern half.

Heading off the road now.

Almost looked like it was brightening a bit there in the distance, but alas it didn't come to anything, and the weather remained persistently grey throughout.

The stone avenue, always a lovely way to arrive in Avebury.


I was quite delighted to be here as hopefully this photo shows.

More stones of the stone avenue.

Stones and cows.


The cows didn't seem particularly interested in the fact it was the eve of the summer solstice.

In Avebury now, taking up the position on my usual solstice watching spot, up on the embankment at the southern edge.

Andrew and I with some East Meon to toast the solstice.

More cows.

A few more people starting to arrive now.

They were dancing and doing acrobatics and twirling poles and stuff.

Andrew brought along these camping chairs, which were the subject of occasional gentle ribbing from other solstice attendees.

East Meon and the stones.

My favourite wine of the evening. Somehow oddly it seemed to fit quite well here, there's something a bit ancient and mystical about the village of East Meon, and I suspect like the Ridgeway the South Downs would have formed another conduit of travel to Avebury and Stonehenge in ancient times.

We made some new chums a bit later on.

I guess this is pretty close to the actual moment of the sunset. As you can see, it was pretty hard to tell.

Perhaps this is the moment of the sunset, or at least as close as I got to a photo of it - not much to look at but happy solstice regardless!

Starting to get dark now so we can assume by that the sun has set.

I think it was starting to get a bit cold by this point, so possibly some time shortly after this we packed up and went to the pub briefly to warm up a bit.

Andrew showing off his new umbrella.

This looks like a photo of Andrew packing up our "camp" on the embankment, but based on the timestamp I'm not sure that's what it is.

I'm a bit confused now whether this was pre or post pub, anyway here's some rubbish dark and blurry photos of the solstice attendees in amongst the stones after dark.

Some fire twirling started, which was nigh on impossible to get a decent photo of, but you'll just have to take my word for it that it was very atmospheric at the time.



So judging by the gap in the timestamps maybe this was after our quick visit to the pub to warm up (it was more Andrew that needed to warm up than me - I was sensibly wearing tweed whereas he was wearing modern technical hiking gear). Hard to tell what's going on really here.

A couple of the stones, I think.

More after dark activity in and around the stone circle.

Those torch lights there are up on the embankment where we were sitting earlier, I think.

More dark blurry photos.


I think I was probaby leaving Avebury at this point, and it looks like some fire twirling etc was now happening on top of the embankment.

Completely pitch black! I suspect I was trying to take a photo of one of the stones of the stone avenue.

Yes the road illuminated by car headlights here suggests I'm starting to head back down the stone avenue towards to the south of Avebury, and again these are people up on the embankment.

Presumably another completely hopeless attempt to take a photo of one of the stones on the stone avenue. I hadn't realised quite how bad my phone's camera was in the dark - I could see where I was going at this point!

A little further down the stone avenue, again with car headlights helping to pick up the silhouettes of a couple of stones and a tree on the horizon.

After the stone avenue I decided to head up to the Ridgeway and see what was going on there. It was fascinating to walk through all the little clusters of parties and the many vans parked all the way along side the track.

Fire twirling in a copse beside the Ridgeway. After a long slow stumble through the dark I think I eventually made it back to my lodgings about 1am.