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Thursday, December 1, 2016

UK & Canary Islands Travelogue | Trippy Stone Circle

We spent a couple more days in Lake District and on our second day, we took the advice of our host and headed to Ashness Bridge and Surprise View which were places we didn't initially include in our itinerary. 

Ashness Bridge is perhaps the most photographed packhorse bridge in the Lake District due to its location and stunning views. This extremely popular viewpoint looks out over Derwent Water with spectacular views over Bassenthwaite Lake and the River Derwent. (Credit: x)

It was really cool driving along Ashness Bridge because boy was it narrow. Only one car can go through at any time and even then, if you're driving a really big car, you'll have to be extra careful not to scrape your car along the sides of the bridge. At this bridge, you can tell who are locals to Lake District and who are tourists. The locals drive across the bridge without hesitation at all, but tourists like us really cross the bridge cautiously, some even alight their passengers so that the passengers can help to keep a look out for the drivers.

Another spot that our host recommended was Surprise View which is slightly further up the road from Ashness Bridge. The view at the Surprise View was breathtaking. It is definitely worth the short drive up and if you want to pack a picnic lunch to bring up there you totally can because there's this little spot with huge exposed rocks so you can easily find a rock to sit on, munch on a sandwich or a salad and enjoy the uninterrupted view of Derwentwater, Keswick and beyond.

Our third stop for the day was the Castlerigg Stone Circle. I don't know about you but I find stone circles so mysterious. I mean who decided to just lift up a bunch of huge rocks and place them in a circle? 

There are few stone circles in Britain in such a dramatic setting as that of Castlerigg, which overlooks the Thirlmere Valley with the mountains of High Seat and Helvellyn as a backdrop.

It is not just its location that makes this one of the most important British stone circles; considered to have been constructed about 3000 bc, it is potentially one of the earliest in the country. Taken into guardianship in 1883, it was also one of the first monuments in the country to be recommended for preservation by the state. 

Although there are more than 300 stone circles in Britain, the great majority of them are Bronze Age burial monuments (dating from approximately 2000–800 bc) containing cremations in central pits or beneath small central cairns. By contrast, their Neolithic forebears, such as Castlerigg, Swinside in the southern part of the Lake District, and Long Meg and her Daughters in the Eden Valley, do not contain formal burials. 

The Neolithic stone circles also differ from those of the later Bronze Age in their generally larger size and often flattened circular shape – as is found at Castlerigg – comprising an open circle of many large stones. Castlerigg is about 97 1/2 ft (30 m) in diameter, and formerly comprised forty-two stones; there are now only thirty-eight stones, which vary in height from 3 1/4 ft (1 m) to 7 1/2 ft (2.3 m). 

Neolithic stone circles typically have an entrance and at least one outlying stone. The entrance at Castlerigg, on the north side of the circle, is flanked by two massive upright stones, and the outlier is presently to the west-south-west of the stone circle, on the west side of the field adjacent to a stile; this stone has been moved from its original position. It has been suggested that such outlying stones had astronomical significance – alignments with planets or stars – although examination of those in early stone circles elsewhere in Britain has shown that there are no consistent orientations for them. 

One of the more unusual features of Castlerigg is a rectangle of standing stones within the circle; there is only one other comparable example, at the Cockpit, an open stone circle at Askham Fell, near Ullswater. Castlerigg has not been extensively excavated, and it is therefore not known exactly what might be preserved beneath the surface. Three Neolithic stone axes originating from nearby Great Langdale were recovered from the site in the nineteenth century, and similar finds have been made at other Neolithic stone circles. 

 The precise function of these early circles is not known, but their importance possibly centred on their large internal areas with their formalised entrances. Sites such as Castlerigg were undoubtedly important meeting places for the scattered Neolithic communities, but whether as trading places or as religious centres, or even both, is not known. (Credit: x)

While driving to Buttermere Village for lunch, we drove through a snowy/icy landscape and it was breathtaking. Coming from a country where it is only ever wet or humid or both, the idea of snow intrigues everyone and even though I hate the cold, I love being warm in the car while driving through white landscapes.

For lunch, we spotted a little tea house in Buttermere Village and decided to pop in to get a spot of lunch. None of us were really hungry at this point so we opted for very light options.

Ham Sandwich

Soup of the day (Tomato Soup)

Cream Tea



After the previous few photos were taken, the weather took a turn for the worse and it started pouring like crazy so we decided to head to the nearest shopping centre to do a bit of shopping instead of attempting to brave the weather and continue sightseeing. We headed to The Lanes Shopping Centre in Carlisle and managed to get quite a few good items so if you're in Lake District and you want to do some shopping, be sure to head to The Lanes Shopping Centre!

For dinner, we drove back to the same Chinese restaurant we had dinner at the previous night and we ordered slightly different dishes this time. The food here was as good as before, and still very affordable so we had a really good meal.

High Mountain's Green Chinese Tea (£1.50/head)

Lemon & Honey Chicken (£7.50)

Special Chow Mein (£8.50)

Mixed vegetables (£5.90)

Beancurd Szechuan Style (£7)

Thank you so much for reading! x

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