2008's solstice fell on a conveniently weekendy day: Sunset on Friday the 20th June to sunrise on Saturday the 21st. Seeing as it was more accessible, it was an ideal opportunity to have a crack at the Coast-to-Coast run that we'd discussed in previous years: Watch the sun go down on a beach on the West coast, hop in the cars and drive horizontally across England to another beach on the East coast, set up the barbie, get some beers on and form a huddle until the sun comes up. We would lose the extra-sun-time advantage of being up a hill, but gain a few minutes by moving a few degrees closer to the sun during the night.
We get about 6 1/2 hours between sunset and sunrise so a fair journey is possible, but we didn't want to be driving the entire time so we selected a relatively narrow bit of England: Merseyside / the East Riding of Yorkshire. There are other narrower bits, but this made sense 'cos 1) it's easier for the midlanders to get to and 2) some of our number live near Hull so we wouldn't have too long a journey after sunrise before we could have a snooze.
So, the route was chosen between two places in this neck of the woods that had good, north-ish-facing beaches!
About 140 miles depending on which route we took, doable in about 3 hours so plenty of time to spare for extra partying at both ends.
And the team for this one:
We'd need at least two cars if we were to carry the usual clutter that we bring along to keep ourselves amused while the sun's down... guitars, bongos, melodicas, barbecue equipment, tea-making equipment, some kind of shelter, chairs, cameras, sacrificial goat, binoculars, lots of warm clothes, meat, biscuits, and so on.
As it happened, our work/travel arrangements meant us making our way to the starting point in pairs, so we would have three vehicles. A convoy!
Carbon-neutral, eco-friendly web address tagging:
Sunset about to happen (well, in a quarter of an hour maybe):
Cue a quick blast across the pennines...
The obligatory panorama of our sunrise-waiting spot:
And some low-light photography while we wait!