A visit to two castles in Cumbria

With our English Heritage membership about to expire hubby and I went to see two castles we had not previously explored. Although their names look very similar (as are aspects of their history) the way they are pronounced is quite different. Brougham sounds like broom and Brough rhymes with gruff.

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We broke our journey at Rheged and had a look around some of the shops there. Brougham castle is just off the A66 beyond the Penrith junction. We found a parking place and took our picnic lunch through the ticket office/museum. We ate it overlooking the river Eamont. (There are more benches and picnic benches farther into the site, but it was convenient for returning our surplus items to the car rather than carrying them round.)

There are history information boards around the site and it is possible to climb up the keep for views of the surrounding area. Hubby climbed to the top, but I decided that the first level was quite high enough. I am not good with heights!

As it was still fairly early in the afternoon, we decided to proceed to Brough Castle, which is also close to the A66, rather than returning home immediately.

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Unlike Brougham Castle, entry to Brough castle is free. It was very busy, but I managed to take some photos avoiding the other visitors.

Our journey home took longer than expected due to the volume of traffic on the A66. In spite of that, it was another good day out.

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Visiting English Heritage sites – Lanercost Priory

The day we went to Lanercost Priory was the Saturday following our visit to Wordsworth House and garden.  The weather was much brighter, which added to our enjoyment and to the opportunities for taking photos.  There were yellow bicycles along those parts of our route, which coincided with the rout of the recent Tour of Britain cycle race.

We ignored the SatNav’s instructions and followed the signposts to a large car park.  We had taken a picnic lunch with us, but there is a café adjacent to the car park.  There are also some interesting-looking footpaths nearby – perhaps next time!

The Priory is partly run by English Heritage, whose staff are helpful and knowledgeable.  The remainder is in good repair and is in use as the parish church. It has an unusual clear glass East window, giving views of the ruins beyond.  We visited the ruins first.

The remaining stonework had similar features to some at Furness Abbey and at St Bees Priory Church, which like Lanercost Priory is the site of a former monastery with a well-loved parish church.  Little remains of the monastic buildings at St Bees.  The stones have been reused elsewhere in the locality.  However the history is fairly well documented.

The stones used to build Lanercost Priory had been quarried (recycled) from Hadrian’s Wall, which is not far away.  We made a detour to it before returning home.

So here are the photos.

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Visiting English Heritage sites – Castlerigg Stone Circle

As part of an outing in and around Keswick we stopped off at Castlerigg Stone Circle to take some photos.  As far as I can remember this was only my second visit to this amazing site.  The first time I was distracted as our children were young .  This time I could take as long as I wished to admire the panoramic views and the prehistoric standing stones.

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Clouds add atmosphere and interest to any view. The day was dry but overcast.  In one photo a hillside is spot-lit through a gap in the clouds.  I did not attempt a photo of the entire circle with my phone camera.  It works better for close-ups.  The sheep were oblivious of their privileged location.

One of my hobbyhorses is that people ignore signs asking them to keep dogs on leads.  Earlier in the day I had seen a National Trust sign saying, “Lambing season keep dogs on leads”.  Although I live within sight of sheep in fields, it took me a little while to realise that in October the ewes are already pregnant and this constitutes part of the lambing season.

Warning: The road leading to the site is narrow and steep.  Proceed with caution, whether in a vehicle or on foot!

If you are looking to visit a stone circle at the other end of England this post may help. It is by another blogger.