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Solstice celebrations at the multiverse

Home | News | Solstice celebrations at the multiverse

Locals and visitors gathered at Crawick Multiverse in Upper Nithsdale as part of the week-long 2023 Summer Solstice Week programme from the 18th to 24th June. The programme, co-hosted by The Crawick Multiverse Trust and The Open University in Scotland, saw hundreds of visitors, locals, school groups and community organisations visiting Crawick Multiverse for the solstice celebrations.


The programme started on Sunday 18th June with a family-friendly day of interactive talks about space science and energy and informative tours led by local tour guide Kathleen Cronie at Crawick Multiverse. This was followed by an inspiring evening seminar hosted by meteorologist and former BBC weather presenter; Dr Heather Reid OBE in Sanquhar Town Hall. The seminars were delivered by Open University Professors; Stephen Peake, Mahesh Anand and Monica Grady OBE.


On Monday, around 100 pupils from Sanquhar Academy spent the morning exploring Crawick Multiverse with Dane and Erin from The Coalface, before hearing about the tales of Upper Nithsdale from Kathleen Cronie and learning about sensory mapping from Dr Lindsay Crisp from The Open University. In the afternoon, pupils returned to school for a lively lecture from Professor Stephen Peake on energy and climate change and an inspiring insight into potential careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) from Justin Thomas, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Dumfries and Galloway.


It was an early start on Solstice Day for the visitors, including Crawick Multiverse Patron, The Duke of Buccleuch, who turned up at 4am to welcome the new dawn on the longest day of the year. Visitors travelled from near and far to watch the sunrise and to take part in the early morning ceremony led by professional storyteller; Gordon MacLellan and OU colleagues in Religious Studies; Professor Graham Harvey and Luidmila Nikanorova.

It was a busy day in local primary schools too, with pupils from both Sanquhar and Kelloholm Primary Schools taking part in a drumming workshop led by Mat Clements and an ethics workshop entitled: The Planet Problem: Only you can save the Galaxy led by OU lecturer; Suzi Collins. The pupils then made their way to Crawick Multiverse for a picnic lunch and a talk from Kathleen Cronie about Crawick Multiverse.

Back on site, visitors spent the morning participating in wellbeing sessions including yoga, tai chi and qigong. Local dance group Activ8, The Cairn Chorus and internationally renowned harpist, Wendy Stewart provided on site entertainment.

School groups and members of the public participated in talks, storytelling and tours after lunch; including a talk from OU colleagues about significance of solstice day celebrations throughout the world and an insight into Yhyakh, one of the largest solstice celebrations in the world.

Everyone came together late afternoon for a Tilt Ceremony, which took place in the Sun Amphitheatre to mark the moment (3.57pm) when the sun reaches its highest point in the year. Pupils from the local schools put their drumming skills to the test during the afternoon ceremony, which was led by Gordon MacLellan, Professor Stephen Peake and Professor Graham Harvey and supported by Luidmila Nikanorova and Mat Clements.


By Saturday visitors enjoyed a more leisurely day and a picnic lunch at The Multiverse. A pop-up photo exhibition showing objects from ancient summer festivals was on display throughout the day and visitors were treated to an informal afternoon of entertainment from local performers including the Young Burnsian of Scotland, Winners of the National Burns Competition, Sanquhar Community Choir and Sanquhar and District Silver Band. The week ended on a high with a stunning outdoor performance from Claudia Wood – Soprano and Colin Thomas Bryce – The Tartan Tenor.


The Crawick Multiverse Trust and The Open University in Scotland would like to thank everyone who visited or attended events as part of Summer Solstice Week and to all those who sponsored events, delivered talks, tours and workshops and to those who hosted events, provided catering and entertained us. It was a great week – thank you all.

Look out for our Solstice Gallery coming soon…

Summer Solstice Week was co-hosted by The Crawick Multiverse Trust and The Open University in Scotland and supported by The Barfil Charitable Trust and DYW Dumfries and Galloway.

Photography by Mike Bolam.

This project is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Union – LEADER 2014-2020 programme
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