braced for a washout weekend as 30,000 gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the longest day

Heavy wind and rain failed to dampen the spirits of around 30,000 people from descending on Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice today.

The dismal, soggy conditions may have obscured the view, but the usual mix of Druids, hippies and sun worshippers still joined hands to welcome the rising sun on the longest day of the year.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said it was the first time for five years that the famous event had attracted such a high number.
As the sun rose at 0458, a cheer went up from the brave crowds who had taken up their positions overnight at the stone circle on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

Clad in ponchos, black cloaks and makeshift waterproof jackets made from bin-bags, revellers gathered at the Heel stone - a twisted, pock-marked pillar at the edge of the prehistoric monument.

Peter Rawcliffe, 26, cycled to Stonehenge from his home in Oxfordshire more than 50 miles away.

'I've done this for the last three years, I suppose I'm a bit of a closet druid', he said.
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