Stonehenge

I have not sat down to formally add up how long I have spent in various countries, but I know that if I did so, the United Kingdom would come out on top. My first visit to the UK was over fifteen years ago, and in 1999 I spent three separate months on assignment on the outskirts of London near Heathrow. In spite of all of the time I have spent in the UK, though, I have never been to Stonehenge. On my recent trip, I decided to take advantage of my rental car and see the place.

On reflection, I think I was lucky and slipped between two waves of tour buses. As I arrived, a great number of people were leaving the site, and it stayed relatively uncrowded for the duration of my visit. Many of my photos show the crowds; the one below of the main circle is an exception.

English Heritage, the government body that manages Stonehenge, provides free audio guide instead of erecting interpretive signs that clutter the landscape. While generally well done, the audio guide has one particular difficulty versus signs, which is that the ravens that gather at Stonehenge make a great deal of noise. (At the reduced resolution of the photo below, the ravens are not visible as much more than specks, though.)

My departure was hurried by the arrival of dark clouds blotting out the blue sky. By the time I made it to the car, the rain had picked up and was quite heavy. Even though the rain had held off during my visit, the whole experience was still a fairly cold one. Stonehenge is set slightly above the surrounding terrain, and there is a great deal of wind whipping through the monument.

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