I want to share with you something that does not require any explanation. It’s just something that happened to Rupert and me when we were filming Standing with Stones that so perfectly conveys the extraordinary privilege it was to have enjoyed this journey. It only proves that however hard and unyielding the stones themselves are and however dry archaeological facts and figures seem, if you spend enough time with them they cannot fail to deliver anything but magic.
At the end of February 2007, Rupert and I were stuck in Argyll, camped up in a car park near the Achnabreck carved stones. I knew that sometime during the next few days we were due to arrive at Callanish and, of course, as it is well known as a lunar observatory, I had been praying that when we did get there we could get at least some shots under a clear sky with a bright moon.
Sometime around the 27th or 28th I remember looking up at the sky and seeing through a break in the clouds that the moon was waxing very nicely – all I had to do was keep my fingers crossed that our arrival would coincide with the full moon. How cool would that be. However, I knew from experience that it would be next to impossible to manage things to coincide like that. We still had footage to get at Kilmartin and we had no idea of when the rain was going to let up. Moreover,there was still a lot of driving to do and we had no idea how frequent the ferries were.
However, incredibly, we did arrive at Callanish on the night of the full moon. All we had to pray for now was clear sky.
We were well out of the tourist season, of course and the only indication that there was anyone else here was a little canvas shelter down in the corner of the field and we could see two other guys in it looking rather forelorn. We waved vaguely at them and they waved back. Rupert went off to investigate and I wander about in a trance looking for camera angles.
After a while Rupert comes up to me with a rather stupid grin on his face. He says:
“Mike. I’ve just been talking to those two guys. Do you know what the first thing they asked me was?”
“They asked me was if we were here for the Lunar Eclipse as well”.
March 3rd 2007 was the first Lunar Eclipse since 2004!
Over all the miles, the accidents, the turnarounds, the hold-ups the – all this time of just going with the flow and being content with what we were given – and we had been delivered to the greatest prehistoric lunar observatory of them all on this very night!
It sends shivers up my spine to think of it even now. In the moment it simply occurred as a miraculous blessing – we just couldn’t get a hold on it – we were speechless.
But just to underline that something was clearly meant to be, it turned out that the other two guys had the same names as us. We’ve given up trying to work that one out.
Well, the skies cleared, Callanish presented itself in it’s best light and we were treated to the most fantastic display of cosmic alignment in the most magical place imaginable to observe such a thing. We were up until about 4 in the morning in a state of pure awe and thankfulness for what we had been given. Amazingly, we even remembered to write some script and get some footage and we hope what is in the film conveys some of the wonder of that night.