I hiked from Grasmere to Keswick one misty morning with a travelling
companion I had met along the way. He was terribly into Keats and carried a
book of his letters like a sacred tome. It sort of ended up being such,
because we had a rather magical walk, retracing the poets steps all the way
to the Derwentwater and breathtaking falls of Lodore.
I had been making a point of seeing most of the stone circles and megalithic
structures that I could, however I hadn't expected to be lead to this one by
a reference in Keats' letter. The poet reffered to it as the "Druid's
circle" and I imagined it to be a humble little mass of rocks. As we entered
the field that contained it, the drizzle stopped and I realised this was
Castlerigg, one of the better known circles of the Isles. My immediate
impression was that I was in the pages of a Tolkein novel, the ancient
rolling black and green hills in the distance, and names like Lodore and
Helvellyn and the ancient stones about me in a circle within a circle.
Anyhow, never saw the Swindon circle. I was there in the summer of '94.
I had just come from the Isle of Man at the time and was still giddy from
its charms. Prior to that I was in the auld sod, Ireland, days before peace
broke out in the North. Ireland of course is a perrenial favourite for me,
but I had arrived in the North for the first time from Scotland, the ferry
from Stranraer to Larne. Saw the Giants' Causeway and had a "deoch an
dorais" in the Bushmills distillery. Scotland too was amazing, favourites
were Inverness and Skye, especially the Quiraing. Another place that was not
a place in a time that was not a time...
But enough about me.