|A weekend in Avebury but with no opportunity for real site seeing put me in the mood for something special and as I've been meaning to do a few of the great rings in the Lake District for ages, they really were the only choice when I woke up this morning.
I got up later than I'd normally do for this sort of trip so I was time limited more than usual and hence really trimmed the possibilities to sites I'd wanted to see for ages.
[visited 31/5/4] Wow this is a great circle and really set the tone for the day. I walked up from the road below wondering if the circle was over rated as it took an age to appear. Of course then it was suddenly there, fantastically set against the hills with a kite flying high above it. Access is good if you're prepared to drive up the track; a small car shouldn't have too many problems. Otherwise its a mile or so up a rough track.
Maybe it was the perfect weather or the random company (hi btw) but this circle rates as one of the best I've seen. It seems to compliment the surrounding hills, having spent so long together they are perhaps now inseperable. The portal is immediately obvious despite being the first I'd seen and provides a real focal point from the centre of the circle.
So, after the sublime I fancied the ridiculous and a reconstructed circle next to Nuclear facility seemed ideal.
[visited 31/5/4] Strictly not a visit as I only managed to get within 15 metres of the circle due to it being in crop. Access is poor, you could be best off parking on the street near the golf course and walking down the right hand side of the course. There is a stile into the field with the circle towards sellafield. A note on the site security guards, they drove past me carrying a large telephoto lense and didn't even blink, so I think the golfer mentioned here, should be ignored. :)
Oh and I had another encounter with evil cows (tm) as I walked through their field between the circle and the access road. Beware the cows!
By this point I was starting to run out of time due to excessive lingering at Swinside, so I abandoned any more thoughts of non-show sites and set off to see the obvious choices.
[visited 31/5/4] My second visit here, the first being as a tourist many years ago knowing nothing about stone circles. Last time the surrounding hills were covered in mist & cloud and we left slightly disapointed not to have seen the expected supporting cast. This time however I was blown away. The circle is here to service the axe trade (amongst other things) but thats secondary to the placing, this circle was here and is here because of the amazing views. If you only saw one circle in your life, this one would not leave you disapointed.
Of course it is with its downside, tourists are highly prevalant and its ease of access means more dedications & bizarre stuff left in the name of belief. There was a weird circle of plaster druidesque figurines not 6 inches high in the centre of the circle and I didn't get a second alone here, but that changes nothing. I loved this so much I could share it with thousands and not care...
I was thinking 'time to head back home' by this point, but as I was going to Penrith anyway to get on the motorway, it would have been a waste if I didn't go see the bigsites nearby, wouldn't it?
[visited 31/5/4] I've wanted to visit this ever since I'd read about it, an 'irish' henge in England next to a classic style henge, how could I resist. Access is fairly good, you can park pretty much next to the henge and get in through a gate. So, I set off from my car almost at a run, straight up the west edge of the well preserved bank of rocks and pebbles. As I reached the top I looked down into the gloomy centre, the low sun not really lighting this place with its large tree and high banks. I inspected the remaining stone defiant in its solitude, Burl reckons it could be the last stone of a giant four poster, I remain reckonless.
A henge without an inner ditch is a weird one to see for the first time and I'm still left pondering who it was that built this. Was it irish traders in the Lakes backyard, maybe a permitted intrusion or was this a local tribute to a distant race or religion? Whoever it was this slightly foreboding henge is well worth a visit.
[visited 31/5/4] Sitting almost in the shadow of Mayburgh
is this Arbor Low
esque henge. Its a bit trashed by the road and forgotten by modern penrith but its doing remarkably well compared to compatriots about the country. Access
is ok, I stuck the car on the verge next to the henge and shinied over the gate. I think you can get in without gymnastics though.
Henge complexes are reasonably common in Britain but I've not heard of two so dramatically different, being so close as this and Mayburgh
are. Despite the closeness I feel this one is the true henge of the area, maybe the local henge for local people.
I'd now started to think up possible excuses for being late as I had one last visit of the day, a 'top ten' site I'd never been too, Long Meg.
[visited 31/5/4] This is a cracker and in the low sideways light, Long Meg itself comes into its own, its spirals clearly visible even from a distance. Access
could only be better if they built a track round the stones, you can after all park inside the circle. After 5 minutes here, I decided this was a cracker. Huge stones Avebury
size, in a massive circle. Its reminiscent of Stanton Drew
, both being colossal and bizarrely on slight slopes. This really is a circle to spend a day at watching the world go past.
Unfortunately I only had a cursory look, walked the circle, admired the spirals and left cursing the god that made each day only have 24 hours.
What followed was a mad dash south, but thats not really relevant is it?