Castlerigg Stone Circle

My early morning run took in the Castlerigg Stone Circle, a 4,500 year old monument built by the earliest farming communities who took advantage of the fertile lands of the valley bottoms1Historicengland.org.uk. (2012). Castlerigg stone circle and two bowl barrows, St. John’s Castlerigg and Wythburn – 1011362 | Historic England. [online] Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1011362?section=official-listing [Accessed 19 Jan. 2022]..

Castlerigg is particularly impressive, giving a 360° panorama of the surrounding fells. This is a view south up the tiny Naddle valley. It’s thought to be older than Stonehenge2Historic UK. (2017). Stone Circles in the Lake District and Cumbria. [online] Available at: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Stone-Circles-in-Cumbria/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2022]..

Perhaps those Neolithic farmers carefully selected this site precisely because of the natural drama provided by the surrounding fells.

Stone circles may have been a meeting place, for ritual, ceremonial or administrative purposes. Or perhaps all three. We will never know for sure and can only surmise. Maybe goods were traded here, and customs negotiated for the seasonal movement of animals, quarrying of stone. Disputes settled. Or maybe ‘marriages’ were agreed here.

The site has been a visitor attraction since the earliest tourists of the 18th-century and its popularity steadily increased to the extent that the fields in which the stone circle stands, where brought by Canon Rawnsley, whom I posted about yesterday, in order to prevent damage and exploitation3Harrison, Philippa. “Mountain Republic”. Page 8. Head of Zeus. 2021. ISBN 9781838911827..

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