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upEnigma Issue 4: Lights and Circles
by John Vigay | Autumn 1994

I have for many years had an interest in stone circles and barrows. With the advent of crop circles, it seemed no coincidence that they largely occurred in the same areas as stone circles and ancient earthworks. Nowadays many would suggest that they occur in areas convenient for access by hoaxers. This may be a reason for there being few, if any crop circles in the more remote parts of the country where there are spectacular stone circles, perhaps fewer fields growing a suitable crop, but nevertheless possibly of interest to the genuine makers of crop circles. Those faithful to a belief in crop circles are still looking for clues to their origin and there is an increase in the awareness of small balls of light moving in the region of crop circles. Is there just possibly a connection between ancient circles in stone, modern circles in crops and moving lights ?

Magical Places
Imagine my surprise when reading a book entitled "Atlas of Magical Britain" by Janet and Colin Bord, I came across an entry under Keswick - Castlerigg Stone Circle - I visited this amazing stone circle with the family whilst on holiday in the Lake District in 1982 - surrounded by mountains, a lonely spot but well worth a visit. Janet and Colin Bord give the following description :-

"One of the most spectacular sited stone circles in the British Isles, Castlerigg clearly was an important site when first constructed - but what was its purpose ? John Glover, one researcher who has been trying to find out, observed the phenomenon of shadow paths. At sunset on the summer solstice the tallest stone casts a long shadow. This shadow was possibly used by the ancients for astronomical calculations, because at Candlemas (2nd February) it points to the sunrise."
"Earlier this century, two men walking home to Keswick at night passed close to the stones and saw white lights moving around. One came straight towards them, but it went out as it drew near. Mysterious lights of this kind may be of supernatural origin, or they may be formed as a result of earth movements (similar to earthquake lights) or they may be ball lightning. At present although similar lights are quite often seen worldwide, their true nature and origin are unknown."

Strange Lights
I wonder if any reader has experienced seeing lights around ancient stone circles at night. Castlerigg, although only one and a half miles east of keswick (Map Ref: NY292237) is in a fairly remote but exposed site, worth a visit if you are in the Lake District. It is very photogenic and who knows? - a night walk may find the lights are around again. It was a pleasant sunny day when I visited, but next time I'm in the area I will certainly attempt a nocturnal visit. More information and illustrations of Castlerigg can be found in the "Traveller's History of Britain and Ireland" by Richard Muir.

Awesome Feelings
There is a strange feeling of awe and wonder upon entering stone circles in remote areas, perhaps this is similar to that experienced by some on entering a crop circle, but then - there is the down to earth feeling that the modern circle might be a hoax - not usually experienced with stone circles. Can you imagine the possibility of an Iron Age or Roman warrior going up to Stonehenge and saying "I do not think it's genuine! we'll knock it down." I suppose it's just possible that this is what did happen to Stonehenge. Monuments like Stone-henge and Avebury do not however produce the same feelings as some of the less known and remote circles. In fact on one occasion I had strong feelings about a very insignificant and isolated stone circle. On a holiday in South Wales near Llandovery, we walked miles in search of a Roman camp called Y Pigwn. On the first day we gave up but made a second attempt approaching from the opposite direction armed with an O/S map along the course of a Roman road straight over the top of the hills. When we estimated that we were nearly there we saw a few stones about a hundred yards to the right. On approaching we discovered two circles of stones, one had several stones and holes in the ground where some had been removed, the other had just four stones, but each with a flat side arranged at about 45 degrees towards the sky. Strange feelings entered our heads as, all alone, we puzzled over their purpose and who placed them in position in such a remote spot, perhaps they are still important to beings unknown. They certainly do not have many human visitors and at night I would think any visitors would have total peace and seclusion. Maybe this would be a good spot for a night watch, you could at least be assured that anything that appeared was the genuine thing!

An atmospheric scene at Castlerigg stone circle. (photo ©M.Vigay)


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