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Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria.

This is the first place we visited on arrival in the Lakes for the little TE meeting a month or so ago. It was evening and had been raining; the prospects didn't look too promising for the next day, but which actually turned out fine.

"It is not just its location that makes Castlerigg 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." (English Heritage)

Both Mike and Bev have posted already from this site: and both chose b/w treatments. You can probably see why!

Shutter speed: 1/200 sec
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 400

Click here to see the larger Beta TrekEarth version.

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Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1070 W: 301 N: 3089] (14105)
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