Buttermere and Castlerigg Stone Circle, Lake District
On Tuesday, we drove to Buttermere, which is a large body of water that lies north of Keswick. It was about 40 miles away and took us about 90 minutes to get there.
To get to Buttermere, we had to cross the Honister Pass. Although narrow and winding, normally this would not be an issue. However, today, there was a truck carrying very heavy cement, that laboured its way metre by painfully-slow metre up the hill. On several occasions, we had grave doubts that it would make it to the top. A long line of cars had built up behind it and all were trying to edge forward and not stall on this 1 in 4 hill. Fortunately all the motorists seemed to be well-skilled in the fine art of hillstarts!
Eventually we got to a point where the truck could pull over, which thankfully it did. We were treated to some spectacular views on the way down the other side.
We parked in the National Trust car park, had an early lunch and made our way to the water. Greg decided he would take some photos at the starting point of the water and the mountains and I would take myself on a hike around the lake.
Fortunately I found I path that ran parallel to the main path, but was higher up, so I was away from the crowds of walkers. This is a very popular area, because the walk around the water is on a wide, flat, well-made path, so it is easily accessible to everyone. As I ambled along through the woods, I came across a small deer and an even smaller fawn in the undergrowth. They seemed quite startled to see me.
This path eventually rejoined the main path and I walked all round the water, including a pause to allow a flock of sheep to go past on the bridge.
The sheep are called Herdwick and are a unique breed. The lambs are boen almost black and their wool gets lighter with age. They were much loved by Beatrix Potter, who won many prizes for breeding these sheep on her farms.
This valley is one of the most photographed valleys in the Lake District and it is very easy to see why. Snow-capped mountains in the distance and dramatic slopes that come right down into the Tarn itself make this a photographer’s paradise. As the afternoon sun moved across the sky, it lit up different parts of this valley, giving some spectacular effects as parts of each slope moved from shadow into light.
The circular around the lake was just over 5 miles.
I got my walk and Greg got the photographs he wanted, so we were both really pleased!
Here are some of Greg’s stunning images:
Castlerigg Stone Circle
On the way back, we stopped at the Castlerigg Stone Circle, just outside of Keswick. This is a fascinating site, with a complete circle of stones and a small area that is described as The Sanctuary.
It is a Neolithic site, located in a field and surrounded by mountains. It is unclear what the purpose of it originally was.
We arrived there shortly before sunset and there were already numerous photographers set up with their cameras on their tripods, ready for the sun to light up the stones and the mountains behind them.
We were not disappointed.