Sunday 14th September 2014 dawned cool and misty and breezy, as members from across the south of England (Chiltern branch, South Wales branch, and one hardy traveller from London branch) gathered on a hillside in Oxfordshire, wearing the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain’s year of the horse T-shirt. Their destination, the Uffington White Horse, situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in Uffington, Oxfordshire, emblazoned on their chests. The band of 20 cautiously approached the ancient monument, a highly stylized prehistoric horse, 110 m long (374 feet), formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk, first setting up a camp half way up the hill, down in a dip, doing a couple of sets, and getting ready for the climb.
Approaching the horse means losing sight of it, as you climb the steep path, to come out near the horse‘s head. Though in photographs the top of white horse hill looks relatively flat, it’s oddly steep and uneven, So when the group began the first set, it was even slower and even more considered than usual. Bemused onlookers trying to make sense of the ancient art they had come to see found themselves captivated by the ancient art of tai chi, as the 20 moved together as one through a series of sets.
During a brief lunch break at ‘base camp’, the call came in that at 2pm there would be a flypast by two more members in a light aircraft to get some nice aerial photographs.
Gathering back up at the summit, the group lay down along the horse‘s neck, forming a mane which could be seen from the passing plane. The excitement was palpable, the onlookers astonished as the plane circled twice and the members rose to do a couple of full Tai Chi sets as the plane waved its wings and faded into the distance.
We decided then that there was no way we could leave without paying a visit to dragon hill, so we carefully made our way down the steepest part of the escarpment, then back up and onto the flat(ish) topped hill for a set. We all agreed that it would be great to have the dragon dance on dragon hill!
Definitely time for tea-break, so we headed off to the local tea rooms for cream teas and a well earned sit down!