December 2013 update
by Duncan Lunan - 17:16 on 18 December 2013
I had hoped that there might be some definite news to announce by now, but we don’t yet have that, although things have moved on a good deal.
We have now had two meetings with the architects who are drawing up detailed recommendations for the redevelopment of the area taking in the present Sighthill Park. I’m happy to report that they are aware of the present wildlife and are trying to find ways to perpetuate it – the proposed ‘linear park’ won’t be just a series of manicured lawns but is intended to provide a wildlife corridor extending down to the Motorway, and they hope to preserve the trees in the existing south-east part of it. However, the removal of the rest and of the stone circle is now almost certain to happen in the first half of next year, as a preliminary to major lowering and modification of the hill where the circle now stands, to flatten it for housing.
The midwinter solstice sunset in a few days’ time is therefore almost certain to be the last astronomical event at the circle in its present form, and we intend to be there for it on Sunday 22nd, weather permitting. The Druid and Pagan communities have already had their farewell ritual for the circle at the September equinox, but there will be a final ceremony to bless the stones before their removal and in hopes of their resurrection elsewhere.
We still have no commitment in writing for that resurrection from the City Council, but senior officials including Gordon Matheson have told the media on numerous occasions that they hope to remove the stones intact and re-erect them elsewhere, and the architects are taking the challenge seriously. They’re aware of the technical problems of removing the stones and have outlined a possible solution. They are also keen to keep the stones within the confines of the development, and have suggested three possible locations. They took Linda, myself and David Horton-McGlone to see them, and David has since taken Nick Fuller to the one we thought was most suitable, so the architects are incorporating it into their overall proposals for the redevelopment, and if that meets with City Council approval, then the way will be clear for the reuse of the stones – not an exact recreation of the circle, but a new phase in the history of the stones themselves.
While it’s not what we had hoped to achieve, all this is a big improvement from the starting point that the stones were simply to be done away with. There is the historical precedent that the bluestones at Stonehenge were moved up to five times before settling where they are now. Perhaps in their new location the Sighthill stones will become more a part of the area and the city, and last for the thousands of years we originally intended.
As of tonight, the campaign to save the circle is just 115 signatures short of the original target of 5000, and it looks as if its objectives will in effect be met, even if not in the way we hoped. Many thanks to everyone who’s taken part, and I’ll let you know further developments as they happen.
Best wishes for the season,
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