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Castlerigg on a whim

This is my first weblog and I'm going to have a go at linking to some pictures, so bear with me, please.

Saturday had been glorious, I'd finished sorting out the garden and I began to think about going out for a walk somewhere nice on Sunday. It was amost teatime, but I suddenly thought, "let's go to the Lake District tonight, then get up early tomorrow to see Castlerigg before the crowds get there".

I made a quick phone call and booked us in near Keswick. We dressed ready for dinner and took a bag with our walking clothes for the next day.

It was around 6:30pm as we approached Keswick and our dinner was booked for 7:30, so I made a small detour just to have a "quick look" at the stone circle. To my delight, there was nobody else there, so we ventured into the field, Sandra (my wife) in a long dress and heeled shoes and me in my suit. Fortunately, it was reasonably dry, but we must have looked a sight. It's a good job there wasn't anyone else around.

It was beathtaking, standing alone in the circle, surrounded by the natural amphitheatre of the mountains. If I'd had to pick a place to build a stone circle I couldn't have made a better choice. I took quite a few pictures, but we only stayed about 10 minutes, knowing that we would return in the morning.

(Sandra trying to keep out of the picture - "Have you taken it yet?")

Since I'd already photographed the circle "sans persons", we decided to have a lie in and a leisurely breakfast. We were back at the circle by about 10:30, dressed in more sensible gear this time.

(Sandra in more sensible clothing)

Surprisingly there was only one other couple there and I managed to get lots of good pictures.

As I stood in the circle I began to notice that the tops of many of the stones seemed to echo the shape of the mountains behind them. I took lots of photos and made a montage to illustrate this:

Just then a group of youths turned up. The leader looked to be quite a bit older than the group and was enthusing about the circle and its setting and telling the lads about the history of the place. We decided it was a good time to leave and we set off towards the gate. I looked back over my shoulder and saw the leader climbing up onto one of the larger stones. Needless to say all the younger ones then wanted to do it too. I wished I'd had my Heritage Action badge with me to lend an air of authority, but without it I felt a wee bit outnumbered and I decided that discretion was the order of the day and left them to it.

We set off on a walk that led us around to the riggs on the eastern side of the circle just above Tewet Tarn. MY OS map showed the path striking off straight towards the top of Low Rigg from the Youth Centre, and passing a boundary wall just before the summit. However, when we reached the wall there was no obvious way over it and although I could climb up, I don't think my poor old knees could have coped with the impact of jumping down on the other side.

We ended up following the wall back downhill until we came across a brand spanking new sort of double-ladder-tressle thing left by West Cumberland Orienteering Club. The pivot bolts were set too low for it to straddle the wall properly, but by moving them up a couple of holes I was able make it secure. Once over the wall we then had to trek back to the top, but it was worth it to see the stone circle from across the valley. Below us Tewet Tarn sparkled in the sunshine as the moderate breeze ruffled its surface.

Reluctantly, we made our way back to the car and then (less reluctantly) headed down into Keswick for afternoon tea, before making tracks for home.

Apart from the ones here, I've posted three pictures to the Castlerigg site picture gallery.

Steve Gray Posted by Steve Gray
26th April 2004ce
Edited 26th April 2004ce

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