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20 August 2016 @ 10:10 pm
Denial Trip to Stonehenge  
Twenty-five years ago, give or take, the Oxford Arthurian Society used to hire out the Yellow Minibus of Doom and tour the country admiring miscellaneous castles, stone circles and anything that seemed vaguely related to King Arthur. We did this for a day in Michelmas Term, a weekend in Hilary and then a full week at the end of Trinity. The day trip was always the same itinery - White Horse Hill and Wayland's Smithy, West Kennet Longbarrow, Silbury Hill, Avebury Stone Circle, Winchester (if we could squeeze it in) and then ending up at Stonehenge around dusk because some bright spark had discovered, at some point, that if you wrote to Stonehenge and claimed to be a terribly serious student society, they would would let you in after hours and you would be free to wander among the stones.

I'm not sure quite when and how the idea arose to re-create this experience for the primeval_denial crowd. The Yellow Minibus of Doom has long gone to the great Yellow Minibus in the Sky but we had enough drivers that it was feasible to attempt the trip in cars. Being rather wealthier we also opted to book ourselves in to the Amesbury Travelodge and make a weekend of it.

Investigation revealed that one can no longer write to Stonehenge and claim to be some kind of earnest society (we were going to go with "writers' group" which excuse has served us well in the past) but instead there is now procedure and anyone can get in for the coughing up of £35 per head. We also discovered that if you want to wander freely among the stones at about 5.30pm on a Saturday in July you need to book your slot considerably earlier than January. After a certain amount of emailing back and forth it was decided that 6.30am on a Saturday morning was the lesser of the various evils on offer.

So we started the day at Stonehenge under the watchful eye of two security guards who had instructions to expel us from the site if we had the temerity to touch (or lick - they were very specific about the no licking rule) the stones. fredbassett and bigtitch are currently on a quest to collect as much ancient graffitti as possible and so spent a lot of time peering closely at the stones and consulting with the security guards (who might not have been historians or archeologists but who had heard an awful lot of historians and archeologists go around the site) who were obviously only too happy to give up on the lurking and staring and instead talk about graffitti. fredbassett and bigtitch found a cock and balls on a fallen menhir and pronounced themselves thoroughly satisfied with the trip. Apparently there is an ancient graffitti facebook group and they were looking forward to posting their up close pictures from Stonehenge.

We then went to the Little Chef next to the hotel for breakfast and returned to Stonehenge after it had opened in order to check out the new exhibition and extensive gift shop.

We then went on to Avebury, where fredbassett and bigtitch found more graffitti and the sun rather unexpectedly came out and shone fiercely, revealing how woefully unprepared we all were in terms of sun hats and sun cream.

After lunch at Avebury we headed for West Kennet at which point it became clear I had broken some of the party (too tired to look for graffitti) and wasn't going to be allowed to do more than look wistfully in the direction of White Horse Hill and Wayland's Smithy.

On the Sunday we headed in the opposite direction towards Old Sarum which would bring various people closer to their trains, had lunch in the pub by the castle and then went our separate ways.


Looking for ancient graffitti.

The sky was not this colour. It looks very pretty but I've no idea how I achieved this effect on my phone.

Dave, the future predator, had to be photographed of course though we were slightly hampered by the fact that if you couldn't touch or lock the stones, you probably couldn't place plastic toys with knitted scarves on them either.

Neolothic huts at the Stonehenge exhibition.

Dave, we thought, probably could climb on the stones at the vistor centre.


fififolle and Dave seated in what we thought was called the "goddess chair" at Aveburybut seems (possibly?) to have been the Devil's chair.

West Kennet Long Barrow

Denialists at the Long Barrow with Silbury Hill in the distance.

Old Sarum

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/205170.html.
goldarrowgoldarrow on August 20th, 2016 09:31 pm (UTC)
Great pictures!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 21st, 2016 04:46 pm (UTC)
bunnbunn on August 20th, 2016 10:05 pm (UTC)
Dave appears to be struggling somewhat under the weight of his scarf. Not easy being a Future Predator, clearly. Alas for White Horse Hill : that is my favorite of the rotation (though I'm guessing probably less promising in terms of graffiti)
louisedennislouisedennis on August 21st, 2016 04:47 pm (UTC)
I sneakily managed to get B and G to got to White Horse and Wayland Smithy a couple of weeks later because I was feeling deprived! Photos in due course!
fififolle: Primeval - Dave on tourfififolle on August 21st, 2016 08:40 am (UTC)
Love the post! I think we did very well, students must have way more stamina (if less cash) *g*
It was definitely the sort of weather later where Dave ditches his scarf :D Wonderful weekend. I enjoyed a tiny bit of Winchester a few weeks before, it's a great area!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 21st, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
I think, as students, we also spent rather less time at Avebury. In fact I think we had a tendency to tumble out of the Yellow Minibus dash around excitedly for 10 minutes and then get back in the bus.
fififolle: Primeval - LMAOfififolle on August 21st, 2016 06:17 pm (UTC)
fredbassettfredbassett on August 21st, 2016 10:22 am (UTC)
It was a fabulous weekend away! Thank you for all the organisation!

You got some excellent photos here. Dave was clearly enjoying himself, as were we.

The graffiti hunting at Stonehenge was excellent! Finding a cock and balls was a highlight!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 21st, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
It was a lot of fun. We should definitely make Primeval Road Trips a thing!
wellinghallwellinghall on August 28th, 2016 06:59 pm (UTC)
Why "denial"?
louisedennislouisedennis on August 29th, 2016 06:14 pm (UTC)
primeval_denial is where the bad stuff didn't happen - most notably any and all character deaths.
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on August 30th, 2016 09:42 am (UTC)
Ah, I see; thank you.
louisedennislouisedennis on August 29th, 2016 06:16 pm (UTC)
Also, obviously, where the Future Predators responsible for most of said deaths in the show get called Dave and acquire knitted scarves.
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on August 30th, 2016 09:45 am (UTC)
But of course :-)
the little creep: sidewisenyarbaggytep on August 31st, 2016 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm especially liking the grafitti!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 31st, 2016 08:13 pm (UTC)
Our grafitti enthusiasts seem to be spending an awful lot of time in chruches these days and have even started muttering about writing a paper!
the little creep: sidewisenyarbaggytep on September 1st, 2016 09:40 pm (UTC)
Back away. Back away from the muttering. You know how this will end!