Crowds Throng Cloudy Solstice at Stonehenge

Revelers amassed at Stonehenge for sunup on the year's longest day
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2009 12:15 PM CDT
A police officer takes a photograph of revelers as people gather to celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge in west England, early Sunday, June 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)
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(Newser) – Normally fences keep the public from brushing up against Stonehenge's mossy monoliths, the Times of London reports, but for today's summer solstice, a record crowd was allowed to pack the British monument site. Druids, drinkers, and curious early risers filled the area to capacity well before sunrise, and the only blot on the festivities was a pervasive cloud cover.

Rival circles of druids formed, as Arthur Pendragon, leader of the Druid Order of Loyal Arthurian Warbands, temporarily faced off with Rollo Maughling, the Archdruid of Stonehenge. But in the end peace appeared to reign, and the crowd dispersed, leaving behind a scatter of revelers overcome by sleep or drink. In all, 36,500 people trekked out to Salisbury Plain to celebrate the solstice.
(Read more summer solstice stories.)