Summer Solstice at Avebury

'Summer Solstice at Avebury'. Oil on gessoed card, 8" x 6"

‘Summer Solstice at Avebury’. Oil on gessoed card, 8″ x 6″

In honour of the Summer Solstice, here’s a sketch of Avebury just before sunset. I painted this a couple of evenings ago, as I know from experience that it’s practically impossible nowadays to park anywhere in or near Avebury over the actual Solstice (which took place at sunrise this morning).

I used to love driving over in the very early hours of Midsummer morning to join in the festivities. In my late teens, I remember Avebury as being less of a draw than Stonehenge, and there would be little pockets of people all over the site who you could join for the evening to talk random mysticism with. Another time, I remember a fairly miserable few hours sat under a tree as it rained continually. The crowd was probably getting more mixed now, and it felt a little less sociable. On that occasion, I thought the dawn would never arrive.

We’ve pretty much given up going over now as there is literally nowhere to park for miles around. The car parks are blocked off and tow trucks run all night and morning to remove all cars that do stop. Last time we went we drove around for an hour and then just returned home. I do understand the disruption to the local residents, but think there must be a better compromise.

Anyway, happy Solstice. Bring on the summer!