|Having taken the deliberate decision to avoid Avebury over the summer solstice weekend, today I headed out there with a friend who hadn't visited for quite some time. It was hot, a perfect summer day – still loads of people sitting outside the Red Lion and strolling around with backpacks; also a visible and at first disconcerting police presence. However, the sunshine seemed to be bringing the best out in everyone.
The friends we were meeting turned up at the arranged time and we headed off by car to the Knap Hill car park, where quite a few people were still peacefully camping in the sunshine. We walked up Knap Hill, mainly for the benefit of my friend, where we enjoyed the spectacular views including the ever puzzling Picked Hill. Today the landscape was dotted here and there with the bright red splashes of poppy fields.
Back downhill, then a walk up to Adam's Grave – the highest longbarrow in Wiltshire where we sat again and just took in the landscape, the heat haze giving the far horizons a misty appearance. Finally we walked up Milk Hill to speculate a bit on the scatter of sarsens up near the roundbarrow. One stone in particular appeared to have been worked and seemed to be aligned with Adam's Grave.
Later back at Avebury we had various refreshments on the grass by the Great Barn before heading off on our separate ways. To round the afternoon off I took my friend up to Windmill Hill; walking up the white chalk track was a peaceful experience, we didn't need to talk much just listened to the skylarks in the fields. Again sitting for a bit, this time on one of the round barrows taking in what must be my favourite view of Silbury tucked into the Avebury landscape.
Our summer solstice Avebury afternoon closed with us sitting outside the Red Lion for a bit waiting for the bus back to Swindon. It was enjoyable to mingle with the gathering of assorted and colourful people who seemed there for the rest of the evening, though it has to be said one or two were the worse for wear - no doubt suffering from too much sunshine. From where we were sitting I could see a lad climb on one of stones. A man sitting nearby stood up and shouted at him to 'GET OFF THE STONE'. The lad slid down, gave a little wave and went on his way.
Happy summer everyone! Here's to light and life.
Posted by tjj
21st June 2010ce
Edited 22nd June 2010ce