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Midsummer Fires

After all those winter fires the midsummer versions seem more laid back. ‘Owd Bartle’ gets burned at West Witton in Wensleydale on the Saturday after St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). The figure paraded through the village to be burned is said to represent an ancient sheep-stealer but his resemblance to Guy Fawkes is unmistakable. The Baal Fire burns in Whalton in August. Edinburgh celebrates the Gaelic Beltane Festival with a creation started in the 1980s which has grown to enormous proportions. Cornwall has always had their Midsummer Bonfires. And anyone can build a mighty beacon any time anywhere to commemorate a momentous event. Well, with permission from the council, H&S, the insurance companies, and the nimbys and assorted grumps who live in the vicinity, of course.