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Castlerigg and Keswick in the snow

Date & start time: Sunday 5th December 2010, 1.45 pm start.

Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Road journey to Keswick, Castlerigg Stone Circle and Castle Head.

Walk details : Several shorter walks inter-mixed with local driving.

Highest point : The views at Bassenthwaite, Castlerigg and Castle Head.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Beautiful, blue sky winter's day with consistently below freezing temperatures.

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]

Castlerigg and Keswick in the snow at EveryTrail



After a morning walk locally, Ann and I take a drive over to Keswick but decide to visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle first.

Our route takes us out of the valley on slippery roads, using the A66 to Keswick as Whinlatter Pass is closed.

The magnificent bulk of the north western fells under a blanket of snow, as seen from the road to Embleton.

Zooming in on Grisedale Pike, Ladyside Pike and Hopegill Head behind (the face of which is in shadow).

Looking sheepishly (pun !) down or should it be up Lorton Vale.

Whiteside and Grasmoor to the left, High Stile and Red Pike are central, and the double hump of Mellbreak just visible to the right.

The view of Skiddaw is so stunning we pull over for a photo.

Not only Skiddaw but the ridge of Ullock Pike stands out so well that it makes this picture appear slightly 3D.

Another shot before we leave the layby.

Ann catches a picture as we start to drive along the Bassenthwaite Lake dual carriageway.

Another layby . . . another photo opportunity.

This is the distant Helvellyn Range over a partially frozen Bassenthwaite Lake.

Skiddaw and its outlier Dodd are looking stunning across the lake.

The winter reflections are superb . . . who made that ripple ?

Click here or on the photo above for a big value, Loweswatercam panorama.

Ice on the surface stops a complete reflection of Dodd.
Bleaberry Fell and High Seat over the southern end of Bass Lake.

A third layby opposite Thornthwaite Village . . . and I climb to the top of the embankment to catch the view.

Click here or on the picture to do full justice to this view of Skiddaw across the misty field.

Winterised Rose Hips . . . in the hedge as I return to the car.

At Braithwaite we turn off onto the old road so we can see the view at a more leisurely pace.

White roads and no traffic as this gentleman walks his dog.

The hint of valley mist is forming across the fields as we look towards Barf.

More low lying mist on the fields towards Skiddaw before we get back into the car.

We park just near this gate . . . opposite the entrance to Castlerigg Stone Circle.

With our back to the sun, the views across to Blencathra are superb.

- - - o o o - - -

Leaving the car, we walk into the field and pass the information board about the history of the Stone Circle.

An artists impression of the summer stones . . .
. . . even one under an icy mantle . . . how thoughtful.

Clough Head towering above the entrance to St Johns in the Vale.

A wider panorama (with more sheep) reveals the length of the Helvellyn Massif from Clough Head to the summit.

Bright sunshine and a closer view of High Rigg, Dale Bottom and Brackenrigg Woods.

The magic attraction of the Stones.

The Castlerigg Stone Circle

is set on the high ground above Keswick

and its open aspect gives anyone visiting this point

a wonderful view of the fells round about.


Their history is lost in the mists of time

but Stone age Man certainly knew

a good site to build this impressive structure.


It may not be the size of Stonehenge

but its purpose was the same,

a centre for civilisation, power,

maybe even of religion at that time.

The stones of a rectangular structure within the main circle.

Looking out from the centre across Latrigg towards Skiddaw.

Zooming in on the visible summit from here . . . Skiddaw Little Man.

"You may take our picture now if you like "

That's a better smile.

"Me and my Mum" . . . look my leg must be better !

3.15 pm and the sun is low in the winter sky.

Sunburst around the stones.

Direct into the sun . . . shining past Walla Crag on the left.

It was probably built around 3000 BC . . . the beginning of the later Neolithic Period . . . and is one of the earliest stone circles in Britain.

A 360 degree panorama has the strange effect of aligning the stones in a perfect straight line

Click here or on the photo for that panoramic photo

We leave it for others to enjoy and to photograph.

Into the setting sun . . . time to leave and drive the short distance to Keswick for one last, short climb of the day.

The track up through the woods onto Castle Head.
Never one to pass up a photo opportunity.

The last afternoon sun catches the summits of Skiddaw.

Keswick Town and St John's Church spire have seen the last of the sun for the day.

Castle Head is a smaller rocky mount just outside the town and gives wonderful views despite its low aspect.

The views are renowned since Victorian Times

and a modern viewpoint indicator gives visitors the names and distances of many of the local features.

Derwent Water also has a partial covering of ice.

The classic outline of Catbells as seen across the lake.

Derwent Isle blends in with the trees of Friar's Crag below us

but the irregular outline of Causey Pike behind is another instantly recognisable mountain feature.

The houses and boats at Nichol End Marina are looking cold

as the first lights of the afternoon start to be switched on.

Gone 4 pm now and the sun has set behind the fells sometime ago

but with such a fine view and sufficient warm clothing there seems little point in rushing away.

Home we must, leaving the viewpoint indicator to talk to itself as there's no-one else about.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring ?

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a warm drink by the fire on our return home.

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Previous walk - 5th December 2010 Morning and the Low Fell Tree walk

A previous time up here - 13th July 2006 Castlerigg and the Keswick Railway Path

Next walk - 10th December 2010 The Gated Road to Crummock