THOUSANDS of revellers flocked to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebrations this morning.
Druids, Pagans, Morris dancers and tourists were among those welcoming the longest day at the ancient monument.
Despite the damp weather and cloud when the sun rose at 4.52am, there were about 21,000 visitors, about 6,500 more than last year, either celebrating in the ancient stone circle or enjoying the spiritual ceremony from Druids, known as the Loyal Arthurian War Bands, at the Heel Stone.
Leading the celebrations was King Arthur Pendragon, who has been at the heart of organising Druids’ ceremonies at the solstice for the past 13 years.
He said: “This is the biggest ceremony we do. “The solstice is about greeting the sun on the longest day. As Druids we fight for truth, honour and justice. In the ceremony we were asking for peace throughout the world and fairness, which is what I believe in.”
“There are lots of different people, which produces a good atmosphere.”
Another regular solstice Druid enjoying the mood at Stonehenge was Lardo Fumblefoot.
“It’s great to see the sunset and the energy you feel from the stones,” he said.
The number of arrests made by Wiltshire Police was 22, mainly in relation to drug offences, which is lower than last year’s figure.
Superintendant Matt Pullen said: “The Summer Solstice has been a great success with people celebrating in the positive, friendly atmosphere as they waited for sunrise. The weather held but unfortunately the cloud cover was too dense to see the sun come up.
“This year there have been a lower number of arrests compared with previous years. The majority of people respected the conditions of entry and the amnesty bins provided were used. Approximately 70 cannabis street warnings were issued. As with previous years, the passive drugs dogs proved very effective.”