The crossing and the cauldron
So I walked beside the boiling frothing cauldron to the main fall, whose presence was announced in advance by the water's roar. I remember coming down the stairway leading to the main view and saying "wow". Wordsworth was more expressive.
After a walk along this part of Ullswater, Wordsworth wrote 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'.
In 1906 Gowbrrow Park, including Aira Force, came up for sale for housing plots. An appeal was launched by the recently formed National Trust, which resulted in the purchase of 750 acres.
The bridges, in addition to looking great and allowing passage across the river, are in honour of two members of the Spring-Rice family from nearby Watermillock, and were erected by friends and members of the family. In All Saints Church at Watermillock are memorial tablets to members of the Spring-Rice family, one of whom wrote the words to the hymn 'I vow to thee my Country'.
An audio trail on cassette is available from the National Trust information vehicle for those with impaired vision, together with a 'talking postcard'. Wheelchair and pram access to Aira Beck is possible but the waterfall mainly requires walking.
There's the cafe by the car park, to which Rosemarie had retired but later I met her on the trail after she was suitably refreshed. It contains information panels describing the area and its history. Leaflets are available describing the story of Aira Force and Gowbarrow, and family walks from the car park.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle became the joke of our vacation. Since we were not going to be in the vicinity of Stonehenge, I decided that I wanted to see Castlerigg Stone Circle, the most heavily visited stone circle in Cumbria, instead. Castlerigg is one of the oldest stone circles in Britain and is quite expansive; however, the 38 stones themselves are not that large.
Castlerigg is a little out of the way. In fact, on our last day in Cumbria as we saw a few sites before returning our rental car in Penrith. One of those was to be Castlerigg. We were driving in the direction that we thought was Castlerigg; however, we had gotten completely turned around and lost. WE ENDED UP IN COCKERMOUTH! Entirely defeated in our search for Castlerigg and pushing our deadline for returning the rental car and catching our train to Manchester, we got on the A66 and headed for Penrith.
Driving along the A66 east of Keswick I had almost forgotten about Castlerigg, when we saw a sign for it. We both laughed and I did a U-turn and headed back to the Castlerigg exit. After driving a couple miles on secondary roads up into the hillside, we came upon a series of cars parked along the road. Castlerigg at last!
Getting out of the car and walking through the field to the circle, we were underwhelmed to say the least. It was OK, but not worth the time to find it in my opinion. Not unless you are a stone circle nut. I couldn't help but think if Stonehenge was also this underwhelming?
Since then, if anything in our lives turns out to be a wild search for something less than spectacular, we call it Castlerigging. All in all, even though the site wasn't worth the effort, the experience was.
Oh, and we did catch our train to Manchester on time; however, I had to run from the rental car drop off area to the train station (twice - but that is a later story) in order to make it.
Keswick - Lake District
"Keswick - Lake District"
We decided to go to Keswick to visit the Cumberland Pencil Museum, home of the worlds longest pencil no less and to visit the nearby Castlerigg Stone Circle.
Keswick is also a nice little town to stroll around and visit the shops too.