Last Photographed: Sunday 10th July 2005
Castlerigg is one of Britain's earliest stone circles, dating back to 3200BC. It sits on a level area in the middle of a bowl of hills. The monument consists of 38 stones of local slate, forming a 33 metre diameter ring (flattened on one side) with a gap between two larger stones on the North side suggesting an entranceway. The tallest of the stones stands at around 5 feet in height. On the East side, an interior grouping of 10 stones forms a cove - a unique structure, as far as I'm aware. Estimates suggest that Castlerigg originally consisted of 40-41 stones, so the monument that we see today is remarkably close to its original design.
I've been wanting to visit Castlerigg for many years, but somehow the opportunity has never arisen. Living down in the south-west doesn't help. So when holidaying in Yorkshire, it seemed like an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
I'd always heard that Castlerigg was a bit of a tourist magnet, so it was fortunate that I arrived late in the day. Consequently, I was lucky enough to find the circle deserted. Not only did I have the place to myself, but the late evening light was working magic with the colours of the stones and the surrounding hills, making it virtually impossible to take a bad photograph.
Castlerigg certainly isn't a site that will easily disappoint. If you can avoid the busier times of day, favouring the late evening, it offers an experience second to none. The surrounding views are breathtaking and probably amongst the best you'll find in Britain.