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

Rayseat Pike

Long Cairn


Dyer describes this long cairn as being 'badly damaged'......... but don't let that put you off for I believe this to be an essential visit. Despite the obvious robbing of the chamber areas, this remains a very substantial monument, the environs full of atmosphere, the state of preservation no doubt assisted by the relative isolation of the site - but yes, I agree that the dry stone structure within the eastern end of the cairn is modern. More's the pity, but you can't have everything, can you?

I approached from the cattle grid on the minor road to the east(ish) at approx SH69350680, a great road, as it happens, with a stunning panorama of the Howgills as you put on your boots. For put on your boots you must if you want to avoid soggy feet. From here a prominent fence line follows the course of Rayseat Sike (stream) towards the monument. There's a path of sorts to the left of the fence, but I'd recommend sticking to the right to avoid having to climb the barbed-wire later on. Although very boggy, with heather underfoot to twist those ankles if you don't concentrate, persevere because in about half a mile or so (I think) the long cairn is unmissable above to your right.

As mentioned, the vibe here is incredible, the landscape wild and uncompromising, a harrier (or similar bird of prey) hovering just above my head before obviously deciding a Gladman wasn't worth the effort. Probably too stringy or something. The Howgills skyline is the finishing touch.

Sad to report, however, the decomposing head of a ram caught in the aforementioned fence. Sure this wasn't some sort of offering, judging by the entanglement of the horns. I once had to free such a creature from a similar fate at Kilmartin with the hacksaw from my car tool-kit... but not today. Such is life... and death at Rayseat.
2nd November 2009ce
Edited 2nd November 2009ce

Comments (1)

The direct route to Rayseat Pike from the cattle grid is, indeed, horribly rough. But I found that if you drive a few hundred yards north towards Mazon Wath and park near a tall snow pole you come upon a faint trod in the heather on the left. This is directly opposite a clear track that comes down the fell on the other side of the road. It goes sort of up and left, down again, then up and right onto the ridge that defines the Pike. Here it hits a fire break and you just follow this along till you arrive at the cairn.

I was very impressed with Rayseat - I know of nothing else like it in Cumbria.
Posted by crossview
24th April 2011ce
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