|I looked carefully at the weather forecast and decided that it might be a reasonable sunset at the (near) solstice.
There was a marquee in the car park with an exhibition about astromony with telescopes looking at the sunspots. Sheltering from the bitter Arctic wind, I got into a long and very interesting conversation with an archeaoastronomer (Simon Banton) about various alignments in the area.
(He reckons that when the new visitor centre is built with its twin "pavilons" the sun will appear to rise between them at some date in the year! A new legend in the making?)
Paid my entrance fee and joined about 15 other people by the Heel Stone. The sunset didn't disappoint. Dramatic clouds with the sun appearing and disappearing every few minutes, a wonderful half hour. I hope my "duplicate" photos don't offend but the ambiance changed so quickly.
While chatting to the people there I found out that there were to be talks given by three experts within the circle after the general public had left. They might have a couple of spare spaces! Blagged my way in after a warming hot chocolate and mince pie!
Listened to a short talk by a chap from the Armagh Observatory(?) about Comets and the Zodaical Light and then went into the circle. I missed out on the other two lectures as I was fascinated by the way the stones took on a strange and mysterious presence in the pitch dark. The pictures I've added to the "Artistic/Interpretive section might give a flavour of the feeling.
By this time the extreme cold was beginning to get to me and I made a strategic retreat to a warm car.
A memorable experience.
Posted by jimit
18th December 2009ce