Thousands revel at Stonehenge for summer solstice

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

STONEHENGE, England (AP) -- This is the first full-day of summer.

And perhaps nowhere was the new season greeted more enthusiastically than at Stonehenge, the ancient monument on the Salisbury Plain of England.

Thousands of partygoers, pagans and self-styled druids cheered and banged drums to greet the sunrise, which in typically British fashion was barely visible through the clouds. But the mist and drizzle did not dampen the spirits of revelers who waited all night beneath ponchos, plastic bags and umbrellas.

One young man who pedaled his bike from Oxford 50 miles away describes it as "a really magical experience," adding, "I suppose I'm a bit of a closet druid."

The summer solstice is the one day of the year that visitors are allowed access to Stonehenge throughout the night. Representatives of English Heritage, the monument's caretaker, were on hand to make sure nobody climbed on the stones.

The Associated Press contributed this report.