We started the morning at Swinside stone circle but concluded that sunrise would be happening from behind a thick bank of cloud, and seeing as ive experienced that particular spectacle twice already, I decided to get on with the days stone hunting festivities and headed off for Ash house pair of stones.
I've been here once before, but it was ages ago and my memory of the place has faded, all I knew was that they are on a hillside, and don't park where you did last time as someone bashed the car last time so find somewhere better to park.
My better place to park was in a parking place on the A595, north of Holme farm and below Stanley wood. Perfect.
The hillside was steep,steeper than I'd anticipated from just looking at the map, but we kept at it by just going straight up, up, up and away. Near the top we turned and saw through the trees the sun rising across Duddon sands estuary, damn and blast I thought, if we'd only stayed another thirty minutes at Swinside, we'd have got it all. Oh well, Jacks always a naughty lad. Keep going.
We emerged from the trees and made for the highest ground, as you do, to see further, and to find ones destination. Couldn't find it at all though. We wandered hither and thither, from hills crest to peak, looking at the map and saying it should be right here and such. I sat for a while, Eric silently champing at the bit next to me, looking at the map, and reckoning the positions of the three farms I could see on to it, the Eureka moment came like a flash, we were much too far north, in fact, the hill I could see when watching the sun rise across Duddon sands is probably where I should be. Off we went, again.
Five minutes, a gate and a fence later and we there, first one stone came into view, aye up I said, and then another. Result, just as I was entertaining the idea of giving up, inspiration guided me on, and we got there. What a place this is too.
Barring the big hill right behind the stones, the views are extensive, if I can really under use a word. North across lower fells is The Old man of Coniston, west is the pretty wooded hillside of Stanley wood, east is the inner reaches of Duddon sands, and south nothing cos of the big hill. When ever the sun breaks through and bathes the rolling landscape in it's glory, it's more pretty than, well, most things, at least.
It's been suggested that this is the remains of a stone circle, and I suppose it could be, but i'm leaning toward a pair of standing stones. For no other reason than I always thought that was what they were and every one knew it, now I don't really know at all.
The only certainties are both stones have fallen, well definitely one has, the stone with grooves on it. But if it had stood then the grooves would have been underground leanding credence to Fitz's misc note....... John Waterhouse speculates that they 'may have resulted from abortive attempts to topple the stone during the destruction of the circle........ or standing stone.
So, a confusing site, not the easiest site to find, but some marvelous views can be had, and why not have a crack at the mystery that is Ash house carving/standing stones/stone circle.
Regarding Stan Beckensalls comments on the origins of the grooves on the Ash House stone.
John Waterhouse speculates that they 'may have resulted from abortive attempts to topple the stone during the destruction of the circle'.
Megalithic Portal contributor, Jack Morris- Eyton states that the grooves were caused by wartime timber felling operations.
See his comments here http://188.8.131.52/modules.php?op=modload&name=a312&file=index&do=showpic&pid=15910