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.

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Long Meg & her daughters

I confess to a great liking for Long Meg. For one, I live very near to it and being handy for one of this land’s ancient monuments really tickles my historian’s cockles. It’s enormous – some say the third biggest in the country, but frankly, I’ve also heard second, fourth, fifth and sixth – so let’s just agree that, at a diameter of 109m, it is really big.

Long Meg June 2013

Long Meg June 2013

The largest of the stones in the circle is 3.3m high and estimated to weigh 28 tons. There are 27 stones still standing in the circle, with a whole load of others reclining. ‘Long Meg’ herself is an outlyer, made from local sandstone, and is 3.7m high. The pink stone has a strange quality in certain lights – it ‘glitters’ – and it’s then that you catch sight of the faint, eerily ancient, spiral carvings. Continue reading