Pre-amble: Long Meg, Kirkoswald & Great Salkeld

Day 7

A series of arrival points created by their close proximity. The route leaves Langwathby and passes through Little Salkeld to Long Meg and her daughters. Here is the dramatic destination following which the route takes in some more recent sites having special interest at Kirkoswald and Great Salkeld

Long Meg & her daughters

The third largest stone circle in England composed of granite with ‘Long Meg’, of sandstone, outside & standing at approx 12 ft height.

Even in this ‘pre-amble’ the nature of this site is sufficiently impressive to leave explanations to others…..

…….. and simply sit and appreciate of what people ‘then’ achieved.

‘A weight of awe, not easy to be borne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit – cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past
When first I saw that family forlorn..’

Mee quotes Wordsworth’s impression and calls the collection of stones ‘Cumberland’s Stonehenge’.

He then rather finely states:

‘It is a place to stand and wonder, a place where history and religion grow dim’.

Precisely the sort of place at which to complete a pilgrimage.

The final perambulation:

The route away from this ancient collection of stones leads to Kirkoswald

‘For the pilgrim today it has three special attractions, a castle, a church, and a house’. Curiously appropriate language from Arthur Mee.

‘St Oswald: half buried in the shoulder of the hill that hides it from college and village… The church is without a tower…having instead a cute Gothic belfry topping the green hill immediately E’.

The walking route finishes at Great Salkeld: ‘A famous little place near the River Eden, it has a fascinating church with much in it to see…’

It is a useful place at which to finish this walk – with its greater intention of exploring further and into Scotland. The tower of the church is a Pele tower – a particular feature of the Northern Marches, protective against marauding visitors. Scotland is close by!

The two places visited after the destination of Long Meg also relate to the wider purposes of the pilgrimage.

Oswald and Cuthbert – the two church dedications – both formed part of that period of time following the Romans when historical events are difficult to precisely understand (are they ever?) and in the earliest part of which Kentigern/Mungo lived.

Oswald (C7th) is rather more famous as a warrior – but his story takes in almost all the territory covered by the walk. His military adventures also extended to the Welsh Border – his final battle may have been there or at Winwick (part of the route from 2010).

Cuthbert (late C7th) was very much the saint of what is now North East England. Much of his travelling occurred after death when his bones were transported away from places under Viking attack. Great Salkeld was probably one of those places.

They both came out of times when religious and social views, however strongly held or publicly presented, were not fixed and formal – times to which we have returned. The carvings in the church at Great Salkeld probably reflect a mix of Christianity & native Scandinavian religion.

23rd April

Langwathby dep 09.00

Lanes 567340, 566350, Little Salkeld, 570366, Long Meg stone circle (5 kms), track 570376, Daleraven Bridge 565396, lane, Kirkoswald (11 kms), B6413, Eden Bridge 551404, Lazonby (14 kms) B6412 Grt Salkeld (17 kms)






A WEIGHT of awe, not easy to be borne,

Fell suddenly upon my Spirit–cast

From the dread bosom of the unknown past,

When first I saw that family forlorn.

Speak Thou, whose massy strength and stature scorn

The power of years–pre-eminent, and placed

Apart, to overlook the circle vast–

Speak, Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn

While she dispels the cumbrous shades of Night;

Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud;

At whose behest uprose on British ground

That Sisterhood, in hieroglyphic round

Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite

The inviolable God, that tames the proud!


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