Castlerigg, Great Wood and Derwent Water

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Leaving Castlerigg stone circle we took the narrow metalled road heading south towards Castlerigg farm. Conditions were pretty treacherous underfoot through the fields but we persevered yomping though the gloop until we came to farm where we joined the path alongside Brockle Beck in the direction towards Keswick.

Views started to open up down to Derwent Water and Cat Bells on the western shore

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We took a left turn and set off along the path which would take us through Great Wood and the lake.

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Just after the National Trust Car Park we crossed over the Borrowdale Road and followed the path along the lake shore back to Keswick. – taking care to avoid the dangerous wildlife!

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The rain held off until we reached the jetty near the Theatre by the Lake.  A little window browsing in the shops in Keswick and then we headed back up the hill to our B and B and a nice cup of tea!

A pleasant but not very demanding walk and a good start to the holiday!

Castlerigg Stone Circle

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A couple of miles to the east of Keswick town centre – all uphill – we came to the Castlerigg Neolithic stone circle..Four and a half thousand years old, with 38 stones (some claim more!) laid in a flattened circle in the middle of a field surrounded by some of England’s highest mountains with Skiddaw and Blencathra to the north and Helvelyn to the south east. The high peaks were shrouded in low cloud, but that only made it more atmospheric

It is not just its location that makes this one of the most important British stone circles; considered to have been constructed about 3000 bc, it is potentially one of the earliest in the country. Taken into guardianship in 1883, it was also one of the first monuments in the country to be recommended for preservation by the state.(English Heritage)

The land is owned by the National Trust and the monument itself is managed by English Heritage.

Being outside the holiday season, and a grey day, there were relatively few visitors, so it was a good opportunity to take a few photos.

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A week in the Lakes

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We’ve just spent the last week up in the Lake District – an early holiday to celebrate a significant birthday. We stopped a couple of nights in Keswick over the weekend and then drove over to Kentmere where we’d hired a cottage for a 4 night stay.

Although we didn’t have wall to wall sunshine and there were some rainy periods – this was the Lake District after all – the weather wasn’t bad with some sunny spells. The only day that was a write off with wind and heavy rain was the Friday when we had to set off for home. So we managed to do a number of walks. Nothing too ambitious – we certainly weren’t up to doing the Kentmere Horseshoe! – but enjoyable and good for getting back in condition! It was good to be able to relax and “chill out” too, particularly while we were in Kentmere.

In Keswick we stayed at the Lookout on the eastern edge of the town – a really nice B and B. A little walk into the town centre (about 20 minutes) but no big deal especially as it has good car parking, a great view over the fells to the west (this photo was taken from the balcony outside the breakfast room Sunday morning)

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really nice rooms, excellent food and very friendly, welcoming and helpful hosts.and a number of walks starting from the doorstep.

It’s just less than 2 hours drive from home up to Keswick so we arranged to check in around midday so we could make the most of the day. So after unloading our bags we set off down into Keswick and had a quick look around the shops and the Saturday market.

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After that, it was time for a coffee and cake in one of our favourite independent coffee shops – Java – which is just opposite the old Market Hall.

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Re-energised by the caffeine (and well stocked with carbs!) we set off towards Castlerigg for the first walk of our early Spring break. It was a bit of a grey day, but it was great to be back up in the Lakes!

William Blake at Tate Liverpool

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Satan smiting Job with boils

Tracey Emin’s bed was being shown as part of an exhibition which is meant to explore the connection between this controversial work and the paintings of William Blake.

According to the Tate

This new display affirms Blake’s Romantic idea of artistic truth through existential pain and the possibility of spiritual rebirth through art, shared in the work of Tracey Emin.

I have to say I found it difficult to see any real connection – if there is one it is rather tenuous. But it was great to see a significant collection of magnificent prints and drawings by Blake, most of which I hadn’t seen before “in the flesh”, displayed together in Liverpool. A real treat.

William Blake is something of a hero of mine. As well as a visual artist – a painter and printmaker – he is also well known as a poet. He was a political radical – a supporter of the French Revolution – and a religious visionary.

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(Picture source : Wikipedia)

He was also an innovator, developing a printing technique known as relief etching and used it to print most of his poetry. He called the technique illuminated printing and the poetry illuminated books. Many of the works on display in the exhibition were created using this process.

This is just a small selection of them

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Pity (c 1795)

This image is taken from Macbeth: ‘pity, like a naked newborn babe / Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim horsed / Upon the sightless couriers of the air’. Blake draws on popularly-held associations between a fair complexion and moral purity. These connections are also made by Lavater, who writes that ‘the grey is the tenderest of horses, and, we may here add, that people with light hair, if not effeminate, are yet, it is well known, of tender formation and constitution’. (Tate website)

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The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve c.1826

This work shows Adam and Eve discovering their dead son. His brother Cain, the murderer, flees the scene. Despite his evil deed, Cain, appears as an ideal male figure. (Tate website)

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Nebuchadnezzar 1795–c.1805

 

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The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy (formerly called ‘Hecate’) circa 1795

Enitharmon is an important female character in Blake’s mythology, playing a main part in some of his prophetic books. She is the Emanation of Los, and with Los gives birth to various children, including Orc. Although symbolising spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration (some critics have argued that Blake’s wife Catherine was the inspiration for the character) she is also used by Blake to represent female domination and sexual restraints that limit the artistic imagination (Tate website)