Alan Gilpin's seemingly Blencathra-obsessed stone circle builders didn't, like him, have the benefit of the internet and Wikipedia (Letters, July 2, 'More thoughts on Blencathra'). What they referred to instead was their world of stone, water, earth, sky - and their ancestors.

When they built the Cockpit circle on Moor Divock near Pooley Bridge, the circle formed part of a landscape on the moor of related prehistoric monuments - burial cairns and standing stones - that, as you follow them in traversing the moor from south east to north west, bring into view not only Blencathra, but Carrock Fell. This is a mountain referred to by Wainwright as 'something of a rebel, a nonconformist', due to its craggy nature, totally unlike most of its neighbouring fells.

The summit of Carrock Fell is surrounded by a vast interrupted circuit of tumbled stone. Long thought of as a prehistoric hill fort, Professor Richard Bradley (The Prehistory of Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press 2007, 70-1) and others claim this as a causewayed enclosure - a 5,500 year-old ceremonial centre.

The recent discovery of a prehistoric stone axe source nearby adds weight to this argument.

Carrock Fell is visible from more than 20 prehistoric monuments in the Eden Valley, and the Swarth Fell circle referred to by Alan. Blencathra has no prehistoric monuments on it, and is not a source of prehistoric stoneworking.


Steve Dickinson