Most of the following first appeared on The Modern Antiquarian and we have reproduced it here, with the author’s permission, as everyone agrees it is well worth as wide an exposure as possible.

Just back from Derbyshire, spent a fantastic solstice morning on Stanton Moor. Whoever it was that suggested the Birchover camp site on my ‘just bought a tent’ thread last year, thank you thank you thank you. I’ve been back many times & love it!

There were perhaps fifty tents at the Nine Ladies stone circle when we got there about ten past four AM.

We chose to watch the sunrise from Stanton Moor South as you could actually see the horizon from there. We were treated to a magnificent sunrise. A pure clear horizon, and a breathtaking thing to see. We were so lucky. I hope the rest of the UK had similar clear views. We drank champagne as we watched it rise and I played my flute.

Not many at the Nine Ladies saw the sunrise. Most of the people camping at the Nine Ladies stayed there in the wooded area. I think I could see eight or nine people on the open Moor. But there was a good vibe as people cheered as the first slither of sun rose above the hills.

I didn’t spend much time at the Nine Ladies to be honest. One stone had someone’s jumper draped on it, people camped right by the stones. To give you some idea of the scene.

We walked to the Fiddler’s stone (the outlier) and there were ‘offerings’ on top of it. Some flowers, some ‘tat’, and a slice of take-away pizza.

Now even to me, someone who doesn’t really care or get annoyed at ‘offerings’. I didn’t like that cold slice of pizza being there. It seemed a piss-take. (A pizz take?).

Anyway, after a while I got more niggled and vowed to remove it. I marched up to the stone, and there were a bunch of monged-out lads lying by it. They were camped right next to it. “What’s that bloody pizza doing there?” I asked. “It’s an offering” they laughed. And I stood there thinking “if you knock it off it might just create a scene’, and I didn’t want bad vibes on such a peace morning… so I made it clear I thought it was a pretty naff thing to do, in a joking way, and went on my way. To be fair, the lads seemed a decent bunch, they were in no way ‘Chavs’ (and I should know, I’m from Wolverhampton!) and the pizza slice will do no harm to anyone other than provide a high calorie snack for a lucky squirrel.

One girl told us how great the English Heritage people were. “They come along after us with their black bags and clear it all up the day after” she said. That’s alright then, I suppose.

A few more thoughts. Have you been to the Druid’s circle of Ullverston? I have. It’s a mess. Paint all over stones, Lager cans everywhere. Well this morning I had to clear wine bottles from Stanton Moor South. Though I doubt anyone would know it was a sacred site, it’s quite hard to find if you don’t know where to look. But anyway, it illustrates to me the importance of keeping an eye on these sites.

I think the whole issue of partying at sites is quite interesting. The last thing I’d want to see is police or ‘officials’ at a site during celebrations. I’ve been to Stonehenge on solstices and seen the antagonistic way they treat people. At the 2008 Winter solstice they were barking “don’t stand here, stand there, keep this way clear, stand in line” as if we were all football louts. Most people were ageing druids, half asleep teachers types, megolithoraks or mashed hippies, I’ve never felt less intimidated by a crowd!

What I’d like is a bit more ‘respect’ for the stones. And respect in the proper sense. Don’t camp right by them, don’t put your jumper over them and don’t ‘decorate’ them with take-away food you’ve got no more room in your belly for. I know it’s not vandalism, but it really is very, very naff,

Especially on a day that’s supposed to be important to the other people visiting these sites.