Three weeks before the Full Circle workshop, Stuart and I had headed north to Cumbria on our ‘recce’ trip. Stuart had been ill for a couple of weeks and shouldn’t really have been going anywhere. But you can’t run a workshop without knowing the ground, so to speak, and we had a lot of work to do.
We got an early start and were in Cumbria by lunchtime, exploring the sites. By the time we finished our first day’s reconnoitering, and headed out towards our hotel for the night, we had been obliged to drop one of the major sites of the workshop, as the path to it was unsafe and a variety of other clues had made us rethink what we were planning.
That is one reason why these recce trips are so necessary. Plus, you never quite know what the land itself might suggest…and next day it was to give us two more sites that we had barely considered.
Our hotel lay between Penrith and Keswick, so we were heading west as the sun began to set. Knowing that the circle was just a few minutes drive beyond our destination, we decided to try to reach Castlerigg in time for the sunset.
We made it just in time, as the sky turned to soft flame, and for once I wished I had a better camera. Even so, it was more important just to be there and I would not have wanted to waste the moment fiddling with controls and settings.
We watched the sun as it sank behind the hills, noting that they resembled a reclining profile. Then, after it had disappeared behind the hill, there was one final flash as the sun peeped through a notch in the hills, lighting up the ‘eye’ of the figure.
We need no convincing that these ancient circles were designed to be part of the landscape and skyscape around them… but to see the winter sun set in the eye of the mountain? That was simply amazing.