Spring 2014 – The Borrowdale Yews

As we crawled at a few miles per hour towards the dead end that is Seathwaite in the Borrowdale valley we kept our spirits up and our frustration levels down by focusing on the end point – a set of three yew trees which I knew to be of ancient origin. They were among the oldest trees in the country, and I wanted to see them on this special “gateway” day, because the yew tree was such an important part of the start of my ritual year. Kal was excited too. Over the years he’s grown to like visiting these ancient trees, and now he was curious to see what these old specimens might have to offer. The rain got worse. The tractor pulling a trailer was going our way – all the way to the end of the road! We parked at the ample parking area...

Spring 2014 – The Water Angel

There are plans, and then there are impromptu moments. Our plan was to go to the Borrowdale valley to see some ancient yew trees. Things were conspiring to slow me down to a crawl however. We literally drove at no more than 10mph along the edges of Derwentwater as we waited for cars to pass each other, and then everything got tangled up at some temporary traffic lights. Sigh followed sigh and soon my attention became distracted. I began to let my attention wander, and it was picked up by the lake itself. I felt an increasingly powerful pull to go to the lake’s edge. I felt like there would be somewhere to stop close to the end of the lake. We got through the interminable traffic light shuffle, and around the corner was a sign for Kettlewell car park. No...

Spring 2014 – The Air Angel

Spring is here! Well, it’s beginning to feel a bit more spring-like, even if only briefly at the moment. Kal and I went out for the Ostara festival date on Thursday 20th March this year. We had contingency plans due to the weather. The day before had been fine and still. The day after would be the same. Yet Spring Equinox itself was dull, grey, cold and windy. In some ways we cursed our luck, but in others we got to see all four elements in one day. That was the theme of the whole day – elements. Our first stop was Castlerigg Stone Circle – Cumbria’s jewel in the crown, so to speak. The wind had reached a ripping rate by the time we arrive and dark clouds were threatening rain. Nobody had to tell us that this was going to be a quick visit!...

Imbolc 2013 Part 4 – The Maiden In Pink

In the final part of our Imbolc excursion to Cumbria I will be showing you another new site for us – Maiden Castle – near the village of Wreay above the north end of Ullswater Lake. The story of how we found it is the real tale here, and the communion we had while there adds the final flourish to the whole episode. Having already taken a wrong turn trying to find the narrow lane that led to the field in which the castle was supposed to be, according to the maps, we were somewhat exasperated already as we cruised along the hillside at slow speed trying to get a visual fix on any form of earthwork or stone cluster that might indicate a ‘castle’. Kal had been fully expecting a proper castle with turrets, flags and portcullis, but I assured...

Imbolc 2013 Part 3 – New Circle and New Guide

In the clear blue sky day of Imbolc this year the sight of Skiddaw mountain was a breathtaking, awe-inspiring experience.  The mountain formed the scenic backdrop for your next sacred site – a stone circle that we had never visited before. The circle is called Elva Plain stone circle near the village of Embleton just north and west of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria. You can’t see the circle from the road,nor can you spot it when walking up the muddy track to the farm that manages the fields around the circle. Some advice tells you to try to reach the stone circle via the farmyard. Maybe in Summer that would be feasible. In Winter after much rain I don’t recommend that. Kal and I struggled up the sides of the track trying to avoid the worst of the...