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It’s no secret, the winter Solstice always goes well – because the numbers are small enough that the event is easily manageable. The summer one on the other hand doesn’t – and that’s down to numbers as well. So now is an appropriate moment to ask if there are plans to cope better next time. Each year we complain (e.g. see here) and each year the official line is always that things went well despite video evidence to the contrary. Two from June - here and here illustrate the point – lots of people on the stones and one man climbing right up one of the trilithons and being unmistakeably cheered as a hero by the crowd before falling horrifyingly – and no sign of stewards intervening – how could they – it was simply too crowded.
Worse, on another video, a steward is clearly shown not only not apprehending the trilithon climber but helping him to climb onto the top of an upright bluestone and giving him a friendly thumbs up when he had done so. We haven’t shown the link (but it’s not hard to find) as no doubt the steward was well meaning and mighty relieved that the young man hadn’t broken his neck so one can hardly criticise him. Clearly though, things simply couldn’t be fully controlled, people don’t keep off the stones and it was only a matter of pure luck that the young fellow wasn’t seriously hurt.
One day, someone will be. Beer and climbing don’t mix, and if it happens when the eyes of the world are on us because of the Olympics then so much the worse. The EH Chief Executive tweeted he was going there in June – did he see what the videos show? EH can “consult with stakeholders” until it is blue in the face but until the Health and Safety issue is resolved – “how can we reduce numbers such that this event is manageable?” then the interests and welfare of neither Stonehenge nor the visitors will be met.