Castlerigg Stone Circle – in ice and otherwise

Castlerigg is a stone circle that lies just outside of Keswick.  Usually when I'm up in the Lakes I'll take the time to walk up to it, as it is a place of breath-taking beauty.

Rocks of Castlerigg

Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick

Whilst it's easy to see that it's pretty, the sheer drama of the place is hard to convey in any photograph – Castlerigg is on a low hill, so the landscape dips down somewhat on all sides, but then beyond that you have mountains in every direction.  There is a dramatic view in every direction.

Castlerigg Stone Circle from a distance

Castlerigg Stone Circle

But the really interesting thing about stone circles isn't how they look, it's how they feel.  Many of the stone circles I've visited have a vivid atmosphere to them, often one that can wash away my own mood or emotions and leave me feeling something distinctly different (I'm a big fan of the Rollrights, which are almost guaranteed to make me feel better, healthier, and happier, as I've written about elsewhere).

Castlerigg is no exception – although I've always had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with it.  But that seems to have changed now I've visited it in the midst of winter.  Why, and more pretty pictures of the stone circle, particularly when covered in snow and ice, after the jump.

As I've said, Castlerigg has a powerful atmosphere. But one that seems to divide people – some of my friends really like it, some find it rather off-putting and confusing. I was definitely in the latter camp.

Castlerigg Stone Circle at Dusk

Castlerigg Stone Circle at Dusk

I think the above picture gives a sense of how dramatic it can be to be at Castlerigg at dusk.  I remember it being a rather spooky evening, not scary so much as just being a little uncomfortable.  Whenever I meditate in the circle I find that the images that come to mind are chaotic, fiery, confusing.  I always feel like I don't 'get' the place, that it's energy doesn't make sense to me… it's too chaotic, too unfocussed, I don't feel I can get a handle on what it means.

But for some people it seems to 'click' immediately, and they feel quite at home.  I don't think this is necessarily a normal response.  For instance, the Scarlet Girl loves the place, yet described being within the circle as being 'comfortable and relaxing, like being at the bottom of a deep hole'.  So yes – the kind of person who finds Castlerigg easy to get along with is the kind of person who finds the idea of being at the bottom of a deep hole 'comfortable and relaxing'.

I like the place… but I've never felt like I really connected with it.

Until our visit just before Christmas, when we found the place to be rather changed.

Castlerigg Stone Circle on ice

Castlerigg Stone Circle on ice

It wasn't just the snow and ice making everything look different, by any means. The atmosphere was dramatically different. It felt… calm. Quiet. Peaceful and at ease. None of the chaos of before, none of the fire… just a sense of relaxation and ease.

Castlerigg Stone Circle in winter

Castlerigg stone's go marching on through the ice

This was a very cold day – well below freezing – yet it felt like a comfortable place to just stand, relax and be quiet.  It was the day after the winter solstice and somehow this time of year seemed to just suite Castlerigg – it felt like it was in its element and as a result it was far more at peace and ease than before.

Stone and Sun

Stone and Sun at Castlerigg

A beautiful place to be, but for the first time I felt like I really 'got it' – really understood and could make sense of Castlerigg. I didn't feel that I had to fight to wrap my mind around it, but instead could just relax and find comfort there. It was an entirely different experience to my many other visits.  For me, at least, Castlerigg is a winter place, a place that comes into its own when the sun is at it's lowest and the ground at it's crispest.  Whether this is an effect of the energy of the location, the intention of it's builders, or an association we carried with us I couldn't tell you – but if you've ever been there in summer and been confused, try it again in the depths of winter – it really opens up to you.

5 Responses to "Castlerigg Stone Circle – in ice and otherwise"

  1. Love your pictures.
    Visited here many a time over the years rain sunshine or snow. Am trying to write an adventure fantasy novel based on the stone circles in the lakes with Castlerigg a focus.

    • Warlock says:

      Thanks for the kind words – although I can't take credit for the pictures, they are down to the Scarlet girl.

      Good luck with the novel – I know how hard it is to a) write and b) get published, so I wish you the very best of luck.

  2. Aromakate says:

    Came across your site by accident & began reading your thoughts. Likewise I first discovered Castlerigg Stones by accident about 10 years ago & immediately felt its power. Have been back many many times since at all times of the day/night/year.
    I have always enjoyed visiting, whether I felt a need for answers, direction, or just some peace & quiet. I have met some truly wonderful people there, and on one magical occasion met a Reiki Master and some of his pupils there for their Master Attunments. I had the pleasure of receiving 5 Attunments.
    In the early years I occasionally felt that the energies weren't there, and then gradually came to understand that sometimes they are not meant for me that day, but to someone else in more need than me. Now I can approach the Stones, coming up through the gates, take a look around and almost immediately see who they belong to at that moment.

    You mention that you have often felt confused or disquiet when amongst the Stones, particularly in the summer months, but have felt the utter stillness & peacefullness of the atmosphere during the winter months. Could this be that you naturally recognise that during the winter months, when there are very few visitors, that the Stones are recharging their energies?

    Another thought for you to consider is that you may not be naturally attuned to this particular Stone Circle. From visiting other Circles and finding them interesting places to visist but no atmosphere or magic for me(Stone Henge amongst them) I am coming to the conclusion that those of us 'in the know' each have a Stone Circle to which we are more naturally attuned and from which we derive the most benefit.

    Hope tomeet you there

    • Warlock says:

      Thanks for coming by and taking the time to read and comment…

      I do agree that we are more naturally attuned to some circles over others. For me, the Rollright stones have always been the circle in which I feel most at home – it completely 'clicked' for me the first time I went there, and always does every time I visit. Stonehenge I also find to be 'washed out' – it's alike all the tourists passing by have scrubbed the place clean of its original energy.

      However, the Scarlet Girl felt completely at home at Castlerigg from the first time she visited. It's always been much more 'her' place than mine – but even she felt that the circle felt much more comforting, welcoming and at ease in mid-winter than at any other time we'd been there. The energy of the place, and the time, just seemed to fit together to create a peace and ease that was often missing.

      Of course, this is all conjecture, all guess work based on feelings… but I do find it interesting how places have such diverse energies, and how those energies can shift and transform, become more or less harmonious, depending on the season, the weather, and what we bring to them.

  3. fanulka says:

    Nádherné obrázky! (Very nice snaps!)

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