Happy Midsummer!

Castlerigg stone circle

Castlerigg stone circle

Okay, I know it looks like I’m a day early, but the midsummer solstice takes place in the UK at 05.04am tomorrow (21st). Castlerigg is, of course, the most famous of Cumbria’s stone circles and sometimes – often – it’s obvious why. Continue reading

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Truth, lies and the antiquarian print in 1860s Cumbria

As we’re in an antiquarian mood (see previous post), I present for your delectation some prints from my collection. None of them are dated but I am given to believe that they are all around the 1860s-1870s-mark.

Workington

Workington

However: take a look at this, my latest, print of Workington, land of my ancestors. The harbour’s there, and the artist has added a few discreet-yet-picturesque smoking chimneys… but what’s with the mountains? Did the artist travel to Continue reading

The Druid’s Sacrifice, or History According to a Victorian Antiquarian

My observation in recent posts that interpretation of history has changed somewhat led to a few exclamation marks elsewhere in the halls of social media. In evidence, I present for your delectation a chapter which passed for history in the 1891 edition of Wilson Armistead’s Tales and Legends of the English Lakes.

Castlerigg stone circle, Cumbria

Castlerigg stone circle, Cumbria

‘The old road between Keswick and Penrith passes over a rough hill, called Castle Rigg1, which the new road now avoids. In a field adjoining this road, on the right hand side going on to Penrith, and at the distance of a mile-and-a half east by north from Keswick, are the remains of a Druidical2 Temple, popularly named Continue reading

And a Happy Midsummer to you all…

Midsummer isn’t much celebrated in Britain these days. There are a few revived festivals around – in Cornwall, especially – but most people’s ‘celebration’ is restricted to a TV news clip of folks at Stonehenge having a knees-up, courtesy of English Heritage.

Summer Solstice, Stonehenge copyright A Dunn

Summer Solstice, Stonehenge copyright A Dunn

Most of Britain’s midsummer festivities – including Cumbria’s – were dying out by the end of the 17th century1, although there is evidence that they lingered in the north of the county into the mid 19th century2. Continue reading

Castlerigg, a 5,000-year-old stone circle

Castlerigg stone circle, Cumbria

Castlerigg stone circle, Cumbria

There are a lot of stone circles in Cumbria; about 65, in fact. Some are huge1, and some are tiny2. Some have massive standing stones that can hardly be missed from miles away as long as you have an eye line1 and others are so stumpy that you could literally trip over them before you realise they’re not sleeping sheep3.

Cumbria’s most famous, and most visited stone circle is Castlerigg, which is a Continue reading

Castlerigg Stone Circle

There is a new, updated and much longer post on Castlerigg here.

Castlerigg stone circle

Castlerigg stone circle

Castlerigg is the most-visited stone circle in Cumbria, and for good reason. For one, it’s well signposted from the A66 and Keswick, and for two, its location is quite spectacular. It lies on a small flat area of a low hill, surrounded by views of Skiddaw, Blencathra, Lonscale, Derwent and Castlerigg fells and as you enter this National Trust site from the road, you can see across the circle to a view of a typical Lake District valley, framed by two massive stones.

Continue reading