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BBC Wales's Rhidian Thomas reports
"For now the project is still on schedule, but it can ill afford any further delays"
 real 28k

Sunday, 4 June, 2000, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Stonehenge trek takes to river
Preseli bluestone
The Preseli bluestone is dropped into the River Cleddau
A project to re-enact a neolithic trek to Stonehenge with a three-tonne stone turned to modern technology for a helping hand.

A large crane had to be used to manouevre the Preseli bluestone into two specially-designed river coracles in west Wales before Saturday night's high tide.

A JCB had to be tied to the crane to ensure it did not topple into the Cleddau River at Black Mill Pool.

Menter Preseli, which is organising the transport of the bluestone from Preseli to Stonehenge, said the stone was sucessfully taken by the tide along the Cleddau River as far as Lawrenny, according to plan.

The operation had been postponed 24 hours earlier on Friday after the stone failed to slide into position, mid-stream in the River Cleddau.


Phillip Bowen, Menter Preseli
Phillip Bowen: On target
The coracles are being used to guide the giant stone downstream to Milford Haven.

Earlier in the week, a 24-hour security watch was mounted on the stone.

The decision followed the 'theft' of the sled used to carry the Preseli bluestone rock - from underneath the stone itself.

The team hauling the stone on its 240-mile journey arrived on Bank Holiday Monday at Castle Bridge Woods in west Wales to find the sled had vanished.



People on the project think it was some kind of joke

Phillip Bowen, Menter Preseli
A search was mounted and the sled was later found abandoned one mile away - close to the day's target destination.

The operation still managed to finish on time that day.

The team of volunteers managed just one mile on their first day - a third of the hoped for target.

Then a lack of volunteers caused another day of stone pulling to be called off.

The ambitious project aims to follow in the footsteps of the ancient builders of the famous monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

Neolithic

The plan is to drag the stone at weekends and reach Stonehenge in September.

The trek will include taking the stone across the Bristol Channel on the route, which may have been used by Neolithic workers.

Some experts say the inner ring of the monument is made of bluestones, which were carved out of the Welsh mountains before being heaved on sledges and boats to the Wiltshire site.

It will then be dragged the final 26 miles to the Stonehenge site.

The National Lottery funded Millennium Stone project will involve up to 300 volunteers.

It is being funded by a 100,000 Heritage Lottery grant.



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13 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Facing up to the Stone Age
08 Apr 00 | Wales
Mammoth Stonehenge trek starts
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