I remember the day we went to visit Stonehenge. Gareth and I were still living in Penarth in Wales at the time. We jumped onto the train one morning and arrived before the shops had opened in Salisbury. With hot take-away coffee and tea in hand, we caught the shuttle bus to that most famous of prehistoric monuments.
Many people I have spoken to over the years have said that Stonehenge was a let-down for them. For me, it was the exact opposite. Sure, the highway is disturbingly close to the ancient site, splitting the vista in two and generally spoiling the atmosphere unless you let your mind’s eye erase it from the picture. But for me, it was a dream come true. Stonehenge had been (and still is) a place of the imagination. A magical place.
I wrote a short story while still at school where two archaeologists digging at Stonehenge are mysteriously transported to another world. In the story, the Neolithic stones served as a temple and place of sacrifice to an ancient culture bent on taking over their world, once their long-lost god-queen had returned to them. In reality, archaeologists believe it to have been a burial ground or a place of worship, but because it was erected by a culture that left no written records, its true purpose will always be up for speculation.
We each picked up a handheld guide and started walking along the designated path around the stones. I soon lost interest in the facts being whispered in my ear. Instead, I focussed on experiencing the site for myself. Although we couldn’t get very close to the stones themselves, they were still awe-inspiring from a distance. What could have driven those Bronze Age men to create such a magnificent monument from such massive stones? I wish I knew.
Have you visited Stonehenge? What did you think of it?