November 30th, 2007

Wanaka tree

Where the nice stones live

Last Saturday was cold and miserable and that gave me the resolve to make the most of Sunday. First of all I drove to Salisbury, in Wiltshire, to visit Old Sarum. Old Sarum is an ancient hill fort that has gone through many transformations over the years and went out of use as a mott and bailey castle in the middle ages. I'd wanted to go there for a long time but never had. I have to say, and I'm quite sad to say it, I wasn't very impressed. It really wasn't that impressive. The site itself is quite big and there are a few ruins, but not much to shout about really. I took lots of photos and only a few of them look like anything interesting, so I might post some of them over the week-end or early next week.

After Old Sarum I felt that I needed a 'dead cert' to take some interesting pictures so, as it was only a short drive up the road, I rolled up at Stonehenge. I've been there lots of times and driven past it many hundreds more. When I was a child we used to pull in and were able to wander around and touch the stones, sit in amongst them and even bring out the picnic basket. It isn't like that anymore. As with so many other iconic and desirable places there is now a cash till at the gate and a prescribed path to follow. It doesn't matter too much because you still get really good views of the stones and feel like you are really there. 

Although it is an icon of international importance and prominence, Stonehenge isn't as big as most people imagine it to be before they see it for themselves. The stones are still impressive though and you get a good feel for how it must have looked long ago. I've said this lots of times but I'm very proud that this is what my people were doing five thousand years ago when Egyptians were beginning to build pyramids. There is more mystery and so much still unknown about Stonehenge. Many of the stones actually come from the Preselli mountains in Wales, hundreds of kilometres away. No-one knows how they were transported to Wiltshire and I see it as proof of an incredibly sophisticated society that could source exactly what they were looking for and get it to the right place for the project they were working on. 

Anyway, on to the photos.

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