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Rolling to the Stones 2007 8.30pm 20th June
21.05.07 by Buffalo Bill

the Stones at dawn. Pic: Courtney Milne

Stonehenge is a megalithic monument which stands at the centre of a bowl on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. It was constructed a long time before the birth of Christ, out of huge bits of rock that bronze age man somehow managed to transport from Wales. Not only were the builders able to achieve a feat that would confound most overnight courier companies, but they also cunningly sited the upright stones to align with the phases of the moon and the sun.

In the Bronze Age world, the equinoxes, when night and day are equally long, and the solstices, which mark the longest day and night, were of particular importance. No-one is quite sure why, although there are lots of theories, some of which can be found here.

What is certain is that the site, although of considerable archaeological interest, was neglected by the authorities in the 20th Century. Evidence of this is the building of the A344 road, which connects Amesbury to the Lavingtons. This road runs so close to the monument that one of the stones is virtually a bollard on it. The A303, the main artery connecting London to the South West, runs less than 100m from the monument.

Neglected by the authorities, that is, until the arrival of the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1972. Growing from a handful of Wallys in 72 to over 60 000 revellers in 1984, the Festival became an embarrassment to the authorities, and following the passing of the Public Order Act in 1985, and the declaration of an ‘exclusion zone’ around Stonehenge on the Solstice, the Hampshire and Wiltshire Constabularies confronted the ‘threat’ of the so-called New Age Travellers in a series of clashes. These included the Battle of the Beanfield, and ultimately resulted in the destruction of the Free Festival movement, the impounding and disposal of the vehicles, and in some cases, the destruction of pets and the placing of some of the travellers’ children in care.

Some of the travellers fled the country, and are now found in Southern Europe, some re-joined ‘main-stream’ society and others turned to alcohol, becoming the ‘Brew Crew’ crusties that were part of the furniture of late 80s/early 90s ‘pay’ festivals.

What’s this got to do with messengers, you frazzled old hippy?
But the story has a sort of happy ending. Starting in 2001, the police re-opened the Stones on the Solstices, permitting free access to the circle for the duration of the night before the Summer Solstice Sunrise. In 2003 the London messenger community decided to institute an annual pilgrimage to the Stones, leaving at sunset with the intention of riding through the shortest night and beating the Sun to the Stones.

Rolling to somewhere near the Stones 2005 - we missed the Surise

Of the 4 editions so far, success has only has only been achieved on 2 occasions. This year, under the leadership of Dazzler, the throng will be assembling at 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th at Speaker’s Corner. This allows 9 hours to pedal the 90 miles. Bring gears, lights, food, water and clothes that will keep you warm in the hours before dawn. Everyone is welcome, messenger or not.

There are regular trains back from Pewsey and Grateley, which are roughly 10 miles from the Stones. I myself may be accompanied by a lady-friend, in which case I will be taking a shorter route.

If either Dazz or myself work out how to use the ped-o-map-o-goggle-thing, we will post a map somewhere or other.

  1. note to fakengers: no. you won’t make it.

    — flappy feet    22 May 2007, 07:53    #
  2. Or try bikely.com, but I think they all work roughly the same.

    — neil    22 May 2007, 08:27    #
  3. Note to messengers: yes. I will make it.

    — Bill    22 May 2007, 13:44    #
  4. Er, 9 hours to ride 90 miles? What you doing it on, Bromptons?

    — TeeF    31 May 2007, 16:41    #
  5. Nah, drugs.

    — Bill    31 May 2007, 16:53    #
  6. mmmmmm, back to the oldskool. Not sure if I’ll be back for it but who knows… goodluck with it, pop by the old dears for tea! :)

    — (rash/\/\aster    1 June 2007, 08:01    #
  7. Anyone got directions/map of the route?

    — MA3K    13 June 2007, 13:50    #
  8. A30 to Basingstoke, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley and north round Durrington and then whatever route the police say to the stones

    — Bill    13 June 2007, 14:09    #
  9. Thank you.

    — MA3K    14 June 2007, 08:26    #
  10. my 2005 henge pics:

    Winston    14 June 2007, 09:09    #
  11. in image 25 were you humming ‘i’m the dandy highwayman…’?

    — skot    14 June 2007, 09:21    #
  12. no, but if I’d‘ve known my helmet hair was so bad I woulda taken my brylcreem and comb out of my emergency tool pack.

    Winston    14 June 2007, 10:01    #
  13. It’s more like 7 1/2 to 8 hours so it’s no slouch run I would say. Just gotta get that new bottom bracket sorted. oh, and find my pipe.

    — Dazzler    14 June 2007, 10:39    #
  14. Dazz, I’m not going to start with you lot – yes, I am old, fat, stupid and lazy – so you are doing exact same as last year, right?

    — Bill    14 June 2007, 10:47    #
  15. Yeah, I reckon. I think I still have your OS map from last year too. It got us to the church on time so if it aint broke..

    — Dazzler    14 June 2007, 13:21    #
  16. Roger!

    — Bill    14 June 2007, 14:11    #
  17. Other than feeling up the Stones and watching the sunrise, what do you do at Stonehenge on arrival? I’m not too cluey on pagan stuff..

    hippy    18 June 2007, 19:10    #
  18. Laugh at the druids?

    — Bill    18 June 2007, 20:59    #
  19. I can manage that. I’ll probably be delerious and giggling anyway.

    hippy    19 June 2007, 08:42    #
  20. Fellow worshippers, the longest day is nigh upon us. Hyde Park Wednesday 8:30pm for a 9:00 set-off. Lights (front with a beam), gears, spare toob, grub, likwids, warm clothes for sunrise and whatever floats your boat. As John Lennon (RIP) once said, “Whatever gets you through the night, is alright.” Amen to that. Any quessies – 07747828800. d.

    — Dazzling Dazzler    19 June 2007, 12:37    #
  21. Got a route Mr Daz?

    hippy    19 June 2007, 17:14    #
  22. Speakers Corner, Hammersmith, A315 to Chiswick, Kew, Bedfont, then A30 for most of it to Staines, Camberley, Basingstoke (meet Bill), Andover, Amesbury/Durrington and the stones. Most of it is pretty much due east on the A30 which is a good road and once we’re out of London it’s good riding through fast asleep villages, owls, bats, and the moon through a 10-20 mph south sou’ester. Don’t worry about breakfast, a friend of mine will be there serving up. His name’s Harry. Harry Krishna…

    — Dazzling Dazzler    20 June 2007, 11:59    #
  23. Dazz, looks like we’re getting 10pm train to B’stoke, so should be on the road about 1130. Probably see you in Cholderton Woods! Text you later.

    — Bill    20 June 2007, 13:11    #
  24. Cheers! Barring incident I’ll be on a blue Ribble around Hyde Prk tonight.

    hippy    20 June 2007, 13:28    #
  25. Photos:

    hippy    22 June 2007, 12:19    #
  26. RR:

    hippy    24 June 2007, 19:37    #
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