The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Langdale Axe Factory

Ancient Mine / Quarry


The day started beautifully, and we climbed up to the nearby waterfalls behind the pub. How picturesque (but rather clinical with all the beautifully laid steps). Then it started raining. To begin with quite half-heartedly, so we thought 'We WILL see the axe factory' as it was something I'd really looked forward to. It's a beautiful closed valley, you just keep walking and walking and soon you've left the road behind, and it's just you and these towering peaks. You can keep going over the top, out across the lake district. We did not. I have never seen so much rain in my life. We were so inadequately dressed, with a couple of light anoraks and two woefully battered umbrellas. People in scuba equipment would have stared at us as though we were mad. We battled on. The rain ran down our faces. I felt like a prune. We were determined to see it. Was this it? Was that it? Would we ever know? But when you get there, you know. The stones just look Right. We picked one up, it looked like a blank for an axe*. We practically swam back to the pub. But it was worth it. Later at the bizarre and unmissable Keswick museum we saw a finished axe - same stone. Fantastic. These axes were traded for hundreds of miles. Go on a nice day.

*It probably wasn't. We weren't high enough up the slope. And I know you're not allowed to go nicking such things. But it was nice to have a bit of the same stone.

Regarding the rain, I've since read the following in a book of Lake District folklore: "How can you stand all this rain?" - "No sa weel. but we're thinking on getting a lid for t'dale."
Hence the phrase "We'll have to borrow Langden lid." Apparently.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th February 2002ce
Edited 25th October 2005ce

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