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Millennium Stone needs bigger push

News

A SHORTAGE of volunteers last week halted efforts to drag the 4t Millennium Stone from the Presili Hills in North Pembrokeshire to Stonehenge.

Just one day into the £100,000 Heritage Lottery funded project to recreate the 386km journey in time for the autumn equinox in September, organisers have had to revise plans after moving the stone only 2km of last Saturday's 5km first day target.

Insufficient numbers then prevented work on Sunday as half those expected failed to show up.

'What is fun for 40 people isn't quite that for just 25,' said David John, from community action group Menter Presili. 'But we still have plenty of time to meet our 23 September deadline.'

The journey began by sledge from the village of Garreg Waldo. Volunteers took turns to push the 2.5m stone or prepare the route with a Netlon geotextile carpet. According to engineers from Whitby Bird & Partners, this reduces the road's friction coefficient to that of damp grass (NCE 27 February).

'We had the full complement of 40 volunteers [on the first day],' said John. 'We drew crowds of local people and even children - it really brought a lump to the throat.'

But after heaving the stone for 1km, the team settled down to a specially prepared Neolithic roast pig lunch. What was meant to be a strength-building protein packed meal turned the enthusiastic crew into a mass of contented bellies.

'It seems lunch was too good,' said John. 'We had expected to progress about 5km a day, but we only managed about 2km on Saturday, which I think will be a realistic estimate from now on.'

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