Lochnagar Crater Ceremony - Preparation


To keep the Crater in as near to its original condition as possible requires much time and effort. The foliage never stops growing and has to be trimmed back. Signs have to be erected and the site has to be kept clear of litter.

Clearing up near the entrance 2005Installing signs 2006
Clearing up near the entrance 2005 and installing signs 2006
Trimming the hedge around the rim 2005Clearing foliage 2011
Trimming the hedge around the rim 2005 and clearing foliage 2011
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The day before the Ceremony sees much activity in preparing the site. To assist in keeping the area around the Cross clear and to give wreath layers access to the Cross, temporary cordons are erected.

Erecting temporary cordons 2005Erecting temporary cordons 2005
Erecting temporary cordons 2005
Erecting temporary cordons 2005Erecting temporary cordons 2005
Erecting temporary cordons 2005 and 2011
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

To enable the congregation to hear the Ceremony a sound system has to be temporarily installed. Two microphones, four speakers, an amplifier and petrol driven electricity generator are all vital.

Speaker cables being laid out 2011Speakers placed  in readiness for the Ceremony the next morning
Speaker cables being laid out 2011, Image by Clive Gilbert © 2011 and Speakers
placed in readiness for the Ceremony the next morning, Image by Iain Fry © 2011
A small tent is erected to protect the amplifier and generator overnight 2011Testing the sound system 2006
A small tent is erected to protect the amplifier and generator overnight 2011
Testing the sound system 2006. Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

All the wreaths that are to be laid have specially printed labels attached. The petals for scattering into the Crater are placed into some 25 or so boxes to enable petals to be offered to as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.

Petal baskets being prepared ready for children to scatter into the Crater 2005Petal boxes being prepared ready to enable quick distribution to all the congregation 2010
Petal baskets being prepared ready for children to scatter into the Crater 2005
Petal boxes being prepared ready to enable quick distribution to all the congregation 2010
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

From about 4-30am Friends of Lochnagar start to arrive at the Crater to put the finishing touches to the preparation.

The wreaths are carefully placed in the order they are to be laid and a final check of the sound system is carried out.

Richard bringing the  wreaths and poppies for the 1st July 1983 CeremonyWreaths being laid out in correct order for laying 2011
Richard bringing the wreaths and poppies for the 1st July 1983 Ceremony
Wreaths being laid out in correct order for laying 2011
More wreaths being laid out in correct order for laying 2011 by Ceremony Marshalls Simon Pettett and Rick Allard.Final check of sound system just after dawn 2011
More wreaths being laid out in correct order for laying 2011 by Ceremony Marshalls Simon Pettett and Rick Allard.
Final check of sound system just after dawn 2011
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The red poppy has come to symbolise sacrifice on the field of battle and has become associated with remembrance. There is a large shell hole inside the Crater which is made to resemble a giant red poppy, which is then circled with 100 small white crosses. The sight of the red poppy from the rim of the Crater provides a reminder of the suffering that occurred hereabouts. But like everything else about the Ceremony it too has to be prepared.

The poppy inside the Crater being prepared 2005The poppy inside the Crater being prepared 2011
The poppy inside the Crater being prepared 2005 and 2011
The final poppy effect 2005
The final poppy effect 2005
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

A trickle of pilgrims start to arrive from about 5am but by 6.30am the numbers start to increase.

Pilgrims arriving at about 7am 2011
Pilgrims arriving at about 7am 2011
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The Ceremony
Petal Scattering and Hand Linking


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