Monday, 1 August 2011

Castlerigg, Birkrigg and St Anna

A rather unplanned trip to Cumbria this week to do some walking in the Lake District. All a bit last minute and as it is school holidays we couldn't be too choosy about where we went. In the end we found accomodation in Borrowdale and sallied forth.

Of course once I knew we were doing I couldn't resist a quick internet search for stone circles and of course Castlerigg came up.

It was busy. Very busy.  People having picnics, children climbing the stones and an idiot who thought carving his initials into the Sanctuary stones was a good thing. However I did manage to get a few pictures where it appears to be deserted!

This is a lovely location, the site is surrounded by some of the most famous peaks in the Lake District. It is believed to be an early circle- strictly speaking an oval rather than a circle with the rectangular "Sanctuary" added later.

It was too busy to really get much atmosphere so we decided to come back later when the crowds would have gone home to try and get some better pictures.

We were partially successful, one remaining family and a hyperactive 10 year old who was practicising his rock climbing skills on the stones as well as a couple of other photographers there to try and capture the sun set. However with some patience and a long wait I did get some nice pictures of the circle and we did eventually get it to ourselves.

Not all the Lake District is mountainous and to rest the legs we had a stroll near Cockermouth with the intention of finding the Holy Well of St Anna - also known as Stanger Spa.

The well is reputed to have health giving properties and the water was sold in Victorian times. The well itself is protected by a rusty iron grill and the water is definitely unappealling!

This was a short break and we decided to return home via Furness Abbey to take full advantage of the new English Heritage membership cards. Funny that there should be another circle on the route I chose - pure chance of course!

Birkrigg ( Druids Temple)   was a real challenge to find. It is on common land currently covered with waist deep bracken. If we had started from where we thought we were rather than where we acually were it would have been a lot easier but a little research confirmed that we are not the only ones to have worked hard to find this one, even if it is actually visible from the road!

This is a lovely little circle, actually two. There are two concentric rings here. The middle one is very clear but the outer one is not so well preserved. There is also evidence of vandalism in the form of traces of red paint on one of the stones. Why?
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