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Bleaberry Haws

Stone Circle

<b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Ambleside (15km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   SD264946 / Sheets: 96, 97
Latitude:54° 20' 28.96" N
Longitude:   3° 7' 56.03" W

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Bleaberry Haws Cairn Cairn(s)
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Bleaberry Haws Ringcairn Ring Cairn
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Bleaberry Haws Summit Cairn Cairn(s)

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<b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by postman <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Bleaberry Haws</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo


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I've been putting this one off for literally decades, there always seemed to be bigger fish to fry, and a long, perhaps difficult walk to seven little stones. Little stones or not, it's a stone circle, i'm going to have a look, one day. That one day ends up being today, well, over a week ago now.
It's the weekend of the autumn equinox and I've been out and about all day, this is site number five and the last port of call today. Desperate to make an easier job of it than Fitzcoraldo did, he definitely seems to have gone the hard and long way, but at least at the end of his notes he suggests another route, the quarry track to the south west does look better.

I was hoping to drive up the track a bit but the gate was locked, so I had to park at the entrance and walk up it. Having arrived at the tracks left hand hairpin, we depart right, cross over a low point in the wall and head towards the grassy hill that is Bleaberry Haws, directly behind the grassy hill is the Iconic south Lakes mountain The Old Man of Coniston.
It doesn't take long before the summit isn't far off, although the summit is where i'm heading it isn't where I'm looking, the mountains are pretty over powering attracting ones gaze and keeping it, i'm falling about the place whilst not looking where I'm going, but just then, over to my left I can see some grey blobs just above the grass line and I know I have found the stones. I without doubt let out a little whoop.

The stones are certainly small, seven in number and unequally spaced suggesting missing stones, perhaps only a couple though. I sit for a while on the largest stone drinking in the grand mountain view, it's also pretty good in the other direction down to the shimmering waters of the Duddon estuary and the Irish sea. This place has me incredulous, why did I put it off for so long? I absolutely should have been here before now, but being here today with such perfect weather, not a cloud to be seen, or perhaps there was a cloud or two but my sunny demeanor just edits them out, nothing could mire this sublime moment and place.
The only thing that could possibly have made it better is Scarlett Johansson insisting on holding my hand throughout. Failing that the Old Man will do.

The stone circle isn't the only ancient site up here, there's a cairn or two a ring cairn and some sort of Dyke thing, so that's where I'm off to now, starting off with the summit cairn north east of the circle. But Ill return to it on my way back to the car.
postman Posted by postman
29th September 2019ce

Please be aware. If you are in any sense hydrophobic stop reading this now and go and find another stone circle to visit.
My route to the Haws started in Torver, the footpath to the fells passed by my campsite and so was the most logical route to take. It is also the route given by Robert Harris in his book Walks in Ancient Lakeland.
The walled trackway from Torver winds its way up through beautiful gnarly woodland, the walls along the track are covered in thick green velvety moss giving them the appearance of having grown there. All around you is the sound of running water, unfortunately most of it is underfoot as the trackway and the Ash Gill Beck, which it follows, have joined forces. I wouldn't recommend wearing wellies here as the track is lined with slate chippings and is very slippery.
I'm afraid when you leave the woodland things don't improve much. The moor above the wood is waterlogged and I would recommend walking parallel to the trackway using the sheep tracks as they tend to follow the drier ground.
One thing that does lift the soul at this point is the view, the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag rise above you changing the whole landscape perspective from one of soft woodland to hard fell.
Your next obstacle is the Bull Haw Moss Beck, a deep, fast flowing stream. At it's shallowest point the beck is about three quarters of a metre deep and at its narrowest point about a meter and a half wide. Robert Harris mentions stepping stones, I couldn't find them. The only thing for it was to jump. I threw my bag over and then grabbed the terrier and leapt across.
Once over the beck things start to improve. The ground is still marshy but gradually rises. You can see the long ridge of Blaeberry Haws rising to your left.
I left the path here and struck out to climb the hillside, aiming for the cairn on the top of the Haw.
Once at the cairn the whole landscape opened out in front of me. There were views back into central Cumbria to the north east and the Duddon estuary to the south but the dominant unescapable influence here is the Old Man and his partner Dow Crag.
The hilltop cairn is modern but may be overlying a more ancient structure and the base platform is seems to be composed of stones and is out of proportion with the narrow cairn.
From the cairn the circle is on the slightly lower ground to the south west.
Once at the circle you'll notice the northern views are obscurred by the higher ground. I would suggest that although the Old Man is the dominant feature, the eye is drawn to the south and the silvery waters of the Duddo estuary. It's also interesting that the other prehistoric structures, the robbed cairn, earthwork and ring cairn are not visible from the circle.
The circle itself is a beautiful tiny ring, just four paces across with the tallest of the seven stones no higher then my knee.
After spending a little time at the circle I walked back along the ridge to the north east and had a look at the robbed cairn. The cairn is composed of cobbles and has a hollow centre. In the centre are a number of large pieces of slate, Robert Harris suggests that this may the the remains of a cist.
The next feature you encounter, along the north eastern edge of the Haw, is a linear bank running NW-SE and curving slightly to respect the cairn.
After the earthwork is a large ring cairn. Unfortunately my photographic skills do not do this structure justice as it is a large (nineteen paces), well-defined feature with bits of stone poking through the banking.
I spent a good hour up on the ridge poking around these sites but the clouds began getting lower and lower so I decided it was time to go.
I returned by walking along to the old slate workings and then following the Ash Gill Beck back down the hillside. In hindsight I would suggest this is probably the route I should have taken when ascending the Haws as the gradient is a little less severe and the ground is a little drier.

All in all I would say that Bleaberry Haws is well worth the effort. The domineering effect of the Old Man really grounds you in the landscape, a landscape that, at first glance, seems wild and untamed and the monuments here seem remote and isolated. But take a closer look and you'll see the hand of man on the fells. The Old Man of Coniston is riddled with mines and quarries. There is even evidence of prehistoric copper extraction here. So we are seeing a landscape that has previously been a place of massive industrial activity stretching back into prehistory.

In his excellent book, The Stone Circles of Cumbria, John Waterhouse suggests an alternative route to Bleaberry Haws
"The easiest approach to this tiny circle is from the quarry road.
Leave the quarry road at the point where it turns sharp left and cross a dry stone wall."
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
3rd September 2006ce
Edited 3rd September 2006ce


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Megalithic Mysteries

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IronMan Posted by IronMan
26th February 2002ce

Latest posts for Bleaberry Haws

Showing 1-10 of 22 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Bleaberry Haws Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

From the summit cairn of Bleaberry Haws (Follow directions for stone circle) I head off towards the big mountain the "Old man". First a strange linear feature is crossed, it's named as a dyke but it's exact function is I presume being guessed at.
Another hundred yards or so in the same direction is the cairn. A cairn, after several thousand years can take on a different shape depending on what's occurred there, some more pleasing to the eye than others. This cairn to my eye is very pleasing, the depth of the hole at it's center, the height of the cairn, the percentage of clear stone to grassed over stone, the fabulous views, the nearby rocky outcrop, all these things make you just wander round it, staring in wonder, sitting and staring in wonder. What a wonderful place.
Off to the ring cairn now.
postman Posted by postman
29th September 2019ce

Bleaberry Haws Summit Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Follow directions for the stone circle and then just head up.
Crowning the summit of Bleaberry Haws is a small modern walkers cairn but it sits on a much wider obvious bronze age cairn. The views are spellbinding in all directions, but it's the Old Man of Coniston that holds your attention. While looking towards the Old Man bring your gaze down to ground level and in the distance is a cairn to which I'm off to next but between us is the odd linear feature or Dyke.
postman Posted by postman
29th September 2019ce

Bleaberry Haws Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman<b>Bleaberry Haws Cairn</b>Posted by postman postman Posted by postman
29th September 2019ce

Bleaberry Haws Summit Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Bleaberry Haws Summit Cairn</b>Posted by postman postman Posted by postman
29th September 2019ce
Showing 1-10 of 22 posts. Most recent first | Next 10