THE START OF THE STOMP
The first Stonehenge Stomp event took place in 1989. It was always held on the same date, the last whole weekend in January. Originally the Saturday walk, the Woodhenge Womble, did not start until late afternoon and therefore some people did not finish until it was dark.
In the early days, the people who helped included local air cadets and although many helpers have come and gone over the years there were still some at the 2017 event who had helped in the early years.
In the early 1990s, Amesbury Sports Centre had a bar. Walkers would go into Amesbury for a meal and then come back to the Centre for a beer and some socialising with friends, some of whom they had not seen since the previous Stomp.
Overnight accommodation was provided in the Centre: you brought your own sleeping bag and chose your own spot in the gym hall. Everyone was up and about by 6ish looking for a cooked breakfast. Some were a bit bleary eyed, especially the cadet groups who had been playing about half the night!
The Stomp route has basically stayed the same over the past 29 years, with occasional diversions due to weather conditions. All four routes pass through the same checkpoints so if you are not having a good day you can drop back to complete a shorter distance.
The early years saw the most entrants and several local businesses let us use the car parks on their premises on the Sunday. Habits change and people go on to do other things; in more recent years the entry has averaged around the 500 mark. There are one or two who have completed each event since the start.
There has been a lot of commitment to the event over the years with people being there to help late into Saturday night and back at the Centre again at 6am on the Sunday morning. Local landowners have also been a great help, especially with placing the controls on their land.
It is the helpers who have started to run out of steam, rather than the walkers and it is good that CoSARC can come in and keep the event going. There has been a lot of interest in whether or not the Stomp would be held in 2018, so hopefully we will see a lot of the familiar faces from previous years and perhaps some new ones as well.
Teresa & Keith Burningham Braemar, Amesbury Walkers