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24 May 2006 @ 12:00 pm
Stone and Water  
I went to Castlerigg Stone Circle in the morning, then to Coniston. In Coniston I took a boat to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin.

Places: Castlerigg, Coniston, Brantwood, Cumbria, England
Dates: May 24, 2006
Weather: Partly cloudy with showers

I got to the stone circle pretty early. That was good because I had it to myself and could really soak up the atmosphere and get good shots. This is the whole circle, seen from the north-west with a snow-capped Helvellyn and other high fells in the background.

The impression is rather different with lower peaks, and even some flowering gorse in the background.

Here I've moved closer so that you only see the cluster of stones in one corner. In this shot the close-cropped vegetation on the hills in the middle-distance looks almost like the flocked surface you get on plastic hills in prefabricated model railway dioramas. It's only the rather lumpy topography that makes it obvious that this the real thing.

The snow-capped peak of Helvellyn seen between two raised Castlerigg stones.

There were sheep grazing around the stones. Here a ewe is resting with her two lambs. There are lots of different breeds of sheep and the Lake District ewes evidently have horns. (No desktop version)

I'm a sucker for lambs and two lambs cuddling just makes me all gooey.

Of course two lambs cuddling next to an ancient raised stone is even better.

A closer look at those cuddling lambs at the foot of the stone. Aren't those nubbular little horns adorable?

When I had had enough of lambs and raised stones, I started my journey home via Coniston. There I took a boat on Coniston Water. The destination was Brantwood, just opposite Coniston but the boat took the long way around. I didn't mind a little cruise on the lake. It was very pretty there. The pier can be seen here but most of the village is hidden by trees. The fell behind Coniston is of course Old Man Coniston.

First we went north a little bit, then we drove down toward the south end of the lake.

This is looking north with the flag on the right. It looks very patriotic, doesn't it? Too bad I'm not British.

The National Trust runs a steam-powered yacht on Coniston Water. It's called the Gondola and runs between Coniston and Brantwood. In this photo the Gondola is about to land at Brantwood.

We overtook the Gondola, so I got a closer look at it. It's a rebuilt Victorian coal-fired Venetian gondola. The original was launched in 1859. Inside there are two compartments, one for first class and one for third.

We passed Brantwood, going south on the lake. It looks lovely in the sunshine.

Like many of the lakes in the Lake District, Coniston Water is a very oblong lake. It has a rough north-south orientation. This is the southern end.

Heading back north again, I spotted a red boat on the western shore. It looks rather like a toy boat, I think.

On the way back north we were treated to a profile view of Old Man Coniston. It's about 800 m (2,634 feet) high.

Here I've landed at Brantwood and the little launch is put-putting away from the pier, heading back to Coniston. It was a nice little cruise.

Turning my attention toward Brantwood, back on land this gate marks the entrance to the estate. The azaleas and rhododendrons are in full bloom. (No desktop version)

Here are the flowers of one of the yellow azaleas. It's a lovely, pale shade of yellow with orange markings, and it was fragrant too.

There were other spring flowers too in the garden. Like these white and blue aquilegias.

Going on a tour of Brantwood and learning more about both John Ruskin and the house was very interesting.

Most of the garden was disappointing, though. It's a big property and think the Brantwood trust was struggling with it. Obviously the house is more important. But this part of the garden, right under the little outlook was doing rather well.

When I came back to the pier at Coniston, a swan family was visiting. I took the opportunity to take some photos of the little grey cygnets. And on that downy note, my final day in the Lake District ends.

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