Despite having attended the Eisteddfod on Saturday evening, I still managed to drag myself up and catch the coach to Avebury for the dawn ritual. I enjoy the coach ride because it’s a great opportunity to look out for wildlife. I was hoping to see some hares, but the only one I found was on one of the cove’s stones at Avebury – can you see him in the photo above? (Look in the bottom right corner.) We did see six deer, two of which were meandering over the road and made our lady driver pull up sharply, by suddenly darting back across the carriageway when we thought they had safely made the hedge. She spent the rest of the journey worried sick that her husband (who was driving the other coach) would be mad with her for braking to avoid them –apparently he has told her never to do it because the traffic behind won’t know what’s going on. When he pulled in to the car park at Avebury she said ‘oh look he’s scowling at me!’ I think she would have been in more trouble had she hit a deer, considering she was driving a coach full of druids, so I reckon she made a good call.
The Ceremony is in two parts, starting in one of the inner circles, we then processed to the other along the henge, to do the main part of the ritual. The sun was obscured by cloud apart from one brief glimpse, and there was a bitingly cold east wind. During the ceremony there is an opportunity for people to contribute a verse or song or to share an experience. In past years this has often ‘gone on a bit’ but this year I think the weather sped everyone up. After the rite we had some free time to explore the village but most people soon sought the sanctuary of the coaches. We were sat for along time in the car park in seemingly full coaches before the decision was made to leave, unfortunately there wasn’t a head count and it turned out later that we had left two ladies behind, a car had to be despatched to fetch them back!