Castlerigg Stone Circle is just one of over 1,000 stone circles in the UK. This particular one is located in Cumbria, North West England, and archeologists estimate its creation at around 3200 BC! This makes it one of the earliest stone circles in the UK, and possibly in all of Europe.
No one knows for sure what the actual purpose for stone circles was, but we can guess. My favorite theories involve magic and witches, because the theories about sun formation and telling time are just boring.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is set among the high hills and surrounding mountains, making it appear even more romantic and magical.
When I visited Stonehenge, I had a completely different experience. Stonehenge is located on flat land, and is now near a highway, so you can see and hear cars whizzing past. At Castlerigg, we were in a secluded area and couldn’t see anything except the looming hills (and one little cottage in the distance that I want).
Stonehenge has footpaths to keep visitors a good distance away from the stones to preserve them, and is entirely surrounded by ropes. Castlerigg had nothing like that; there was only a sign by the road explaining what it was. People were free to get as close to the stones as they wished. A lot of tourists were climbing all over the stones when I was there.
When you’re a history major dedicated to preserving historical artifacts and are appalled that you can touch and climb freely on something this old…..
But then you get over it and become really really excited to touch and climb freely on something this old….
As an Outlander fan, I had a moment where I thought about time-traveling through the stones to the 18th century to meet my dashing Scottish husband.
But then I remembered that I like 21st century things, like women’s rights and deodorant and WiFi and stuff.
One of the more magical aspects of this place – the only place to buy a visitor’s guide or get any information is from the single ice cream truck parked at the top of this nearly-deserted dirt road.
Read more about my road trip through the Lake District here.