Friday, 2 November 2012

Castlerigg Stone Circle

If there is one list that will probably never be exhausted, it is "Things to do in the Lake District". Quite often it's the cause of a bit of a dilemma - on a quick weekend in the Lakes you want to cram in as much as you can, but you also don't want to rush things! Fell walking shouldn't really be rushed as there is always so much to take in, but sometimes time is a luxury you don't have.

My recent broken ankle has put paid to strenuous walks for the future months, but this has given me a chance to look at some of the walks that might get overlooked. This time around I made a trip to Castlerigg Stone Circle - one which has long been on the list. I originally visited Castlerigg back on my first visit to the Lake District with Crag Rat Rainer. Back then we weren't particularly in tune with navigation and so we chose short walks, relying on 50p leaflets from the Moot Hall. Well times may have changed and a leaflet will now set you back 95p, but the fells, lakes and sights are all still there.

Setting off from Keswick along the road towards woods surrounding Brockle Beck we were immediately rewarded with views of Derwentwater and the Newlands fells across the lake, these views just got better and better with every step upwards.

As with lots of the walks around Keswick this one offers plenty of variety. After pausing to say hello to the friendly highland cattle at Springs Farm we took the path heading up through the woods, before heading out across the fields behind Castlerigg campsite. I was surprised to see a fair amount of tents and caravans out in mid October!

From here there were great views over towards the Dodds and the Helvellyn range, and back over to Latrigg and the Skiddaw fells.

After crossing the A591 we headed along a little lane, with the stone circle not yet visible but just beyond. The views here were beautifully framed by the great bulk of Blencathra in the distance.
Soon enough the stile in the stone wall pointed towards the stones, and finally we had arrived at Castlerigg Stone Circle.

I guess you have to arrive either very early or very late to have the place to yourself, but when we arrived there were only a couple of people there. You would have thought that the handful of souls there would have a bit of consideration for the views and pictures that the others wanted to take, but one person evidently thought he was the only one in the world, and stood in the centre of the stones for an eternity, seemingly oblivious of the others stood not far away waiting patiently for him to move. Grrr!

Castlerigg is a pretty enchanting place, perched away from civilisation just far enough from Keswick to make it feel like it inhabits a world of its own. It occupies a beautiful platform stuck between various groups of fells and as well as offering amazing views it is a great place to be.

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