Can you believe that the nights will begin drawing in soon? It feels like summer has only just begun but with the longest day, the summer solstice, fast approaching the days will begin getting a little shorter.
So what is the summer solstice? It’s when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest amount of daylight. Here in the UK this is 21st June.
Everyone is familiar with druids and pagans heading to Sailsbury to see the sunrise at Stonehenge on this day but what can you do locally to celebrate and enjoy this day?
Seen as a particularly fertile time of year, it is thought that collecting flowers and herbs on the evening of the solstice and hanging them in doorways can help someone find a partner.
Maybe not quote for you, but you can forage the local fauna to spruce up your salads, baking and more. As always don’t forage without knowing whether the plant is safe to eat.
Alex, Island Wild Food is a foraging expert and also runs courses to help you forage safely.
Watch the sunrise
There are so many great vantage points on the Island to watch the sunrise on the solstice, but if you are looking for something with a little more heritage and meaning visit The Long Stone. Standing in the village of Mottistone, (made famous by Benedict Cumberbatch as he was married at the church in the village) the Long Stone is steeped in mythological tales. The story says that the stones are part of a fight between St Catherine and the Devil himself. St Catherine’s larger (standing stone) dominates the Devil’s smaller one, depicting the battle and good overcoming evil.
More recently it is said Saxons used the Long Stone as a meeting point for judicial proceedings. Did you know moot is the old Saxon name for meeting place – perhaps giving Mottistone its name? (a modification of meeting ‘moot’ stone)
Time to feast
Many modern day druids and pagans use the day to be with family and feast. Why not take the time to explore all the Island’s stunning natural landscape. Take in the Tennyson Trail, from Freshwater Bay. A beautiful four mile walk along the cliff tops taking you towards the iconic Needles. Pack a picnic a stop by the Tennyson Monument to soak in the surroundings. You might just be lucky enough to spot some of the local wildlife, Glanville Fritillary butterflies and nesting peregrine falcons.
Taking time for you
Not only is the longest day on 21st June but it coincides with International Yoga day. A wellbeing way to see in the solstice could be to get involved in Yoga Vibe at Ventnor Botanic Garden. A weekend dedicated to health and fitness, there are a range of classes for all abilities, talks, demonstrations and food available to make you feel good inside and out.