We got up before sunrise with an overcast sky but no rain, ideal to have best chances to fly our airship. Yes, the wind was coming from the Channel over England’s plains, meaning that our biggest concern was not being able to rig our airship! (I often talk about the weather because its conditions are crucial for the success of our events. Too much sun can create strong winds caused by the sun’s heat … too strong for us to fly the airship, which can take a maximum of 15 knots of winds. Rain would make it too heavy to fly … so here lie the meteorological challenges!)
We arrived at Stonehenge just before sunrise. You almost drive into Stonehenge! The road that would take you straight onto the lawn of this magic circle of huge stones splits not even a quarter-mile before and now surrounds this monument with its morning traffic.
The many druids had already arrived, and were wearing their long, white gowns. Some drove overnight,some came on their Harley Davidsons (long hair and beards flowing in the wind – a surely impressive sight on the highway!), some had slept in their campers on the spot.
We were all welcomed by some very dedicated, nice people. The Director of Stonehenge, English Heritage’s Peter Carson, Stuart Maughan, Dave Batchelor, Rebecca Milton and Becky Graham, as well as very motivated staff and guides at Stonehenge. Great to see motivated people who are filled with the spirit of a monument, and so transmit their enthusiasm to visitors and even to our already-enthusiastic team.
The event was a great success with BBC1 covering live from the location, also including the event and the campaign in their very popular afternoon children’s show, and with many other camera teams and numerous photographers there. Tia, our head of PR, and I did not stop talking to morning radio stations around the country.
This monument really grew on me, as I had the chance to see and feel it right there embedded in the most beautiful English landscape you can imagine. Hearing the 50 druids chant and go through their ancient ceremony was incredibly moving – seeing them hold up flowers and call for peace all over the world, radiating out from this powerful, ancient circle of monoliths.
If only the cars and trucks weren’t there to disturb the silence deserved by this very old, in fact the oldest monument on the 21 finalists list. It was built by humans almost 5,000 years ago, before iron was invented and most probably before they even had the wheel to transport those huge blocks (some weigh over 50 tons) many, many miles…This takes me to the limit of my imagination. It is Stonehenge’s simplicity, reduction to the minimum that is so impressive and inspiring. Or as one wise druid said about Stonehenge in a surprisingly scientific way: “It is part of the human DNA!”
You have to go, see and feel it for yourselves! Our visit to Stonehenge has been one of the most pleasant ones. I even have to revise my opinion about the British, who are sometimes known as reserved … in contrast, we were welcomed by the most warm, generous and enthusiastic people. The news of this tremendous welcome has now travelled around the world, as the pictures of the N7W airship, the druids dancing and chanting, and the magnificent stones standing in their mysterious circle have made their way to newspapers, television stations and websites all over the world.
Thank you, England, and to the great people we had the chance to meet during our short visit!