It’s now two weeks since I returned from holiday in the Lakes, and, depressingly, it feels even longer.
Still, I can at least share with you some of the photos I took – nothing special, just taken on my phone – and let you know that I managed to visit some of the places I mentioned in my last post on this subject, back in February.
The weather was set fine all week, and I had time to revisit the shores of Derwentwater (pictured above), and walk the three-mile footpath between Keswick and Threlkeld, that follows the route of the old railway line that closed back in 1972.
I was also able, with the help of my trusted friend, and native Cumbrian, Susan, to search out two of the county’s most prominent megalithic stone circles, Castlerigg, and Long Meg And Her Daughters.
The first of these (pictured below) took us less than an hour’s walk from Keswick, and was pretty busy with visitors even on a Monday morning in September.
Apparently when Wordsworth and Coleridge visited they were dismayed by the number of tourists there – they might have been happier at Long Meg And Her Daughters (pictured below), a megalithic circle several miles to the east of Keswick, near Penrith, as we only saw two other people there, and they left as we arrived.
There is more evidence here of recent neo-pagan activity, too, with a cluster of old tealights at the base of Long Meg herself, and ribbons tied round the branches of a nearby tree.
Long Meg stands apart from her Daughters, and there are strange circular carvings on her side:
I found this circle more powerful somehow than the one at Castlerigg – though it occupies a less grandiose setting (Castlerigg stone circle is surrounded by dramatic fells, whereas Long Meg And Her Daughters is tucked away in a farmer’s field, with a lane running through the middle). It could be, of course, that my preference is partly determined by the excellent lunch I had just after visiting it, at the Watermill in Little Salkeld (organicmill.co.uk) – lentil and coconut soup, with four different types of bread, warm from the oven and served with homemade butter, followed by a delicious chocolate brownie. The way to this antiquarian’s heart is through his stomach!