Before we go further, here are a couple of shots during the drive.
First stop was Lowther Castle. Built between 1806 and 1814, it's not the oldest castle I saw on my trip. The family have been living on this land, in this location for 800 years. Due to failing finances, the house was closed in 1937 and the roof was removed in 1957. The house and gardens were only just opened to the public in 2011 and they're working hard to restore the gardens. Though they think it will take another 20-25 years for them to be anywhere near where they were previously. Because it's a more modern house, there are plenty of photos of what the grounds used to look like. I've tried to take a few photos that show both the original photo and the current state.
|The grand entrance.|
|The view of the back of the house.|
Look closely and you can see how nice the formal garden was.
One of the many separate gardens around the house was the Rock Garden. You can still see all the rocks and where the pond used to be, but they've had to work hard to clear it of all the trees that had grown up.
Just beyond the Rock Garden was the Japanese Garden inspired by a visit to Japan. While the pond still remains, the plaque says they have no plans to return it to it's former formal state.
|Sweet smelling flower garden. Well it was previously, now just a few stagnant fountains.|
|View from the guest cottage.|
|Ok really look at the photo in the photo. You can't even see the pond from this angle.|
|All the railings are rusted and wobbly.|
Back on the road, I was lured off slightly when I saw signs for Clifton Hall. Clifton was my grandmother's middle name as it was a family name. My cousin has also carried on the tradition by giving her son the same middle name.
Next on a whim, I followed the signs to Brougham Castle. Just like with Holker Hall, my guess paid off. A fantastic ruin with almost no tourists awaited me. With an almost intact medieval keep that I could climb.
Even though the cute boy at the entrance to the castle told me that Penrith Castle wasn't as good, I decided to head there next and take a look. He was right, though it's impressive as a city center and early home of the man who became Richard III.
So I had seen enough ruins and decided it was time to head back to some earlier history. And for that, I made my way to another stone circle. This one has a single tall stone set up outside the circle. She's known as Long Meg. She presides over the circle of stones known as her daughters.
On this side of her, Long Meg has some ancient carvings.
And for once I'm going to copy directly from Wikipedia as the folklore section was just too good to pass up.
The most famous of the many legends that surround the stones is that they were once a coven of witches who were turned to stone by a wizard from Scotland named Michael Scot. It is said the stones cannot be counted - but, if anyone is able to count them twice and come to the same total - the spell will be broken or it will bring very bad luck. Another legend states that if you walk round the circles and count the number of stones correctly, then put your ear to Long Meg, you will hear her whisper. The name itself is said to come from a local witch, Meg of Meldon, who was alive in the early 17th century. From a certain angle, the Long Meg stone resembles the profile of a witch. Long animal bones found buried at the site may have been misinterpreted in the past as a 'Giant's bone and body'
And no, I didn't try to count the stones. ;-)
With one more stop in mind, I headed back towards the lakes themselves. I had wanted to see a waterfall I only knew as Aria Force... well for once I didn't do enough research and paid the price. I found Aria Force, but apparently it's a whole series of small waterfalls and I never managed to see the one I wanted. However, I do know where it is now, so there's already something on the list for next time. Here are a few photos of the smaller falls. I way playing around with a long exposure to soften the water and some turned out pretty well.
|The beginning of the path.|
|Yep, you see those trees down at the way way bottom of the path? That's where I'm headed. #broken|
After I managed to climb back out of the field, I was lucky enough that my route took me back over one of the higher passes. So enjoy these last few views.
|Yep, that's my little Smart car making a cameo.|
So that's it for this trip. I haven't bothered to take any more photos this last night in London other than the ones that are already on Instagram. It's been a great trip and I've learned a few things to do differently next time, but I'd 100% come back to this area. Thanks for reading and safe travels!