A church, a tarn and a stone circle; or our real-life escape to the country, Part 3.

We’ve walked to and explored the church, skirted the tarn surrounded by flocks of fluffy huggable sheep and now we have to figure out how to get to the stone circle. We have a book, with a map – surely it can’t be that difficult?

Getting to where we are now has been fairly easy. Well trodden trails to follow and obvious stiles to cross. Here’s a reminder of what we just came from:

And they kindly provide us signs to where we’re going.

Now, it may not look like it, because of that road above, but it gets a bit confusing from here. We know we have to get to a road, but we encounter a muddy, rocky field where there’s no visible path through. When in doubt? Stay close to the wall.

And head for the nearest gate. Not all entry ways will have lovely little stone or wooden stiles to scale. And there are many, many types of gates to figure out how to open. Well maintained ones with latches, heavy ones to lift and push, and nasty, rusty ones with barely a string to hold it together. I can only imagine that after thousands of trampers come stomping through their fields, manhandling their gates that making it shiny and pretty is low on the totem.

Signs of civilisation.

But none pointing us to the stone circle.

We knew we had to go over a bridge and then take a left through a field. And so we did.

I have some fantastic video of these little guys frolicking around. I’ll have to dig it out later and post it for your enjoyment.

This is where things get a weird. We have to go through a field. But there are so many fields. We have to stay close to the wall. But which wall? And what happens when the sheep are hugging the wall? Farmers don’t want us bothering their animals, but if they are in our way… what then?

We chose to go around them, and I think we ended up in a field that we were not supposed to be in. We began opening gates, hoping one of them would lead us to another footpath this way sign or at least a yellow arrow pointing the way. We weren’t lost. I mean, we knew how to get to the nearest road, we knew that Keswick was 3 miles that way. But to be diligent and stay on the walk proposed, we didn’t want to go somewhere and trample something that was never meant to have hiking boots all over it. When going on an outdoors type holiday such as this, one wants to take the most care with one’s environment. I wish more people felt like this.

So since we weren’t convinced we were on the right path, we did the sensible thing and headed to the road again, up a hill and through a field with cows on one side and mud on the other. Mud. Lots of it. Right in front of the gate. Tied up with string.

No yelling, no sirens, just peace and quiet as we walked up the road in the direction of the stone circle. And soon we came upon parked cars and an ice cream van. Eureka!

We knew we’d found the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

According to Keswick.org:

It is composed of 38 free standing stones, some up to 3 metres (10 feet) high. It is one of Britain’s earliest stone circles dating back to the Neolithic period 4000 to 5000 years ago.

The purpose of the stone circle, like most ancient stone circles, is largely unknown. Perhaps a place of worship, a trading post, a calendar? We may never know the answers to these questions.

It’s a stunning site, 360 degree views of the surrounding fells, white fluffy sheep dotting the landscape, keeping this plateau’s lawn well manicured. Having walked about 3 miles to get here, it’s a welcome sight.

A beautiful end of April day. Blue skies. Ancient stones. And promises of pints in our future.

Time to get walking!

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