I arrived at Carrock Fell after a long day on the hills. It had been a bitterly cold day of gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures on the fell tops.
The final approach, from the E, was over ground that would be boggy in warmer conditions, with the top rising above all else. This was the only direction which didn't involve a steep ascent to gain the fort.
Once there I found the summit rocks to be surrounded by tumble-down stone walls, which were obviously impressive in their time. Entrances exist to the four points of the compass, and the views are extensive in all directions. There is no way this place could have been approached by stealth. The ascent from the valley is strenuous.
Archaeologists are of the opinion that it was never occupied as a fortified enclosure. If that was the case, then why all the effort to construct these very substantial banks of stone?
This is a very beautiful place of great loneliness, with nothing to be heard, save for the wind soughing through the pale grasses and ancient walls, and the song of the lark.
In modern times, everything unaccountable, however harmless it might be in itself, was ascribed to the agency of the devil. By the hope of a trifling reward - too often the soul of his employer - he might be induced to undertake the execution of any kind of structure. The Pikes on Carrock Fell are specimens of his diabolical architecture, though for what they were intended, tradition does not inform us; and the stones scattered about the summit of the hill, are the result of an accident that happened to him whilst engaged in their erection. He had finished one, and was bringing in his apron a sufficient quantity of stones to complete the second, when the apron-strings burst, and the greater part of his materials scattered in all directions. And this, it appears, is the reason why one of the Pikes is so much smaller than the other. The heap of stones in Ullswater is ascribed to a similar accident. On this occasion also he had his apron laden, and was striding in great haste from the Nab to Barton Fell, when the stones fell into the lake, and formed a bank dangerous to boats at some seasons.
The Eternal, judging from his photos, had better luck with the weather than Charles Dickens' protagonists in his 'Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices':
Is this the top? No, nothing like the top. It is an aggravating peculiarity of all mountains, that, although they have only one top when they are seen (as they ought always to be seen) from below, they turn out to have a perfect eruption of false tops whenever the traveller is sufficiently ill-advised to go out of his way for the purposes of ascending them. Carrock is but a trumpery little mountain of fifteen hundred feet, and it presumes to have false tops, and even precipices, as if it were Mont Blanc...
..Up and up, and then down a little, and then up and then along a strip of level ground, and then up again. The wind, a wind unknown in the happy valley, blows keen and strong; the rain-mist gets inpenetrable; a dreary little cairn of stones appears. The landlord adds one to the heap, first walking all round the cairn as if he were about to perform an incantation, then dropping the stone on to the top of the heap with the gesture of a magician adding an ingredient to a cauldron in full bubble.
Goodchild sits down by the cairn as if it was his study table at home; Idle, drenched and panting, stands up with his back to the wind, ascertains distinctly that this is the top at last, looks round with all the little curiosity that is left in him, and gets, in return, a magnificent view of -- Nothing!
Pastscape has a record for two cairns within the fort enclosure, which are noted as "presumably" bronze age:
NY 3433 3363 & NY 3419 3363. Two cairns within the prehistoric enclosure on Carrock Fell.
In June 1996, RCHME carried out an analytical survey of the prehistoric enclosure on Carrock Fell as part of a thematic project to record the industry and enclosure of the Neolithic (Event record 923509).
The cairns, which have previously been described as part of the record for the surrounding prehistoric enclosure (NY 33 SW 1), were allocated a new number to enhance the record. Neither cairn is certainly prehistoric, although a Bronze Age date has been presumed. The western cairn is c 11m in diameter and up to 0.4m high, while the eastern one is up to 12.0m in diameter and up to 1.2m high. The larger eastern cairn was described by Hutchinson in 1794; despite this, a survey by the Lancashire Unit in 1986 suggested that both cairns had been built relatively recently by walkers. An alleged 'cist' in this cairn identified by is more likely to represent later robbing.