Carlisle Castle looks set to play its part in some large event over the next few days as it closes to the general public for three days.
During my walk this morning I noticed that bright yellow signs placed at the entrance to the large red sandstone complex indicate all access is prohibited between Monday 15 September and Wednesday 17th.
Further adding to the puzzle is the placing of a temporary road surface onto the Castle lawn in front of the main gate.
Temporary structures also look as if they have been erected inside the fortified walls.
A quick glimpse into the courtyard shows a large white marquee and what looks like an inflatable promotional awning. Just like you would see above a finishing line of a road race.
Searching around the web for answers upon my return home and possibly two coinciding events maybe going on here.
The Cumbria Way Ultra
The first is possibly a race finish line. However, the second use is mysterious and as yet unknown.
According to the website http://www.pureoutdoorsevents.co.uk Carlisle Castle is to play host to the finishing line for the Cumbria Way Ultra Challenge race between Ulverston, in South Cumbria, and Carlisle.
The race started at 6am on Saturday with the prize presentation in the Castle at noon today, Sunday.
Given one of the sponsors for this event is headware retailer Buff, and it appears to be their inflatable arch inside the castle, then possibly this solves the first mystery.
Carlisle Castle – filmset?
The second mystery is not so easily solved and is a bit of a patchwork of evidence at this time.
Firstly it is well known that many stately homes and historic venues offer their services as filming locations.
A quick look on the English Heritage website, who maintain Carlisle Castle, shows some of their recent projects:
- Gucci advert with James Franco (TV advert) – Eltham Palace
- Notting Hill (movie) – Kenwood House
- Jane Eyre (TV series) – Bolsover Castle
- Lily Allen (Music video) – Wrest Park
So it would not be too much of a leap to think that it is going to be used in some way with possibly a TV programme, advert, film or product launch.
Crew quarters on car park
Secondly there is the temporary road surface at front of the castle. Could this be to put large trucks for lighting, props or generators on to avoid damage to the grass?
Further adding to the pile of evidence is what appears to be a welfare area based on the nearby Devonshire walk car park. This is not the sort of thing used on an endurance race.
A large white marquee sits alongside a number of static caravan sized hospitality trailers and assorted vehicles within a coned area of tarmac. Could this be where the actors or crew take rest and meal breaks?
Finally one piece of evidence reportedly comes from within the Castle. One image has been posted on the social media service Twitter from user @mildlymadmedic. He is based, according to his profile, in Newcastle.
His image appears to show a number of items including a gallows and possibly a covered wagon. This may offer a timeline around the mid 1700’s -to 1800’s.
Possibly confirming this is one paragraph in The Wrap – a Hollywood news website. It reads in an article published on September 13, 2014 at 7:00 am:
“Outlander” star Tobias Menzies is headed back to Scotland on Sunday – to finish filming the last few scenes of the time-traveling Starz drama’s first season.
According to Wikipedia – Tobias Menzies is an English stage, television and film actor. He is best known for his TV roles as Brutus on Rome (2005–2007) and as Edmure Tully on Game of Thrones (2013).
Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. The plot is set in 1945, where a married World War II nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she encounters civil war and the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser.
If this is the case, and I have no confirmation, then the timing is really interesting with the referendum on Thursday.
This is because the Castle was claimed many times by Scotland and according to English Heritage, Carlisle Castle was the most besieged place in the British Isles, being on the border between the two countries and is the only castle to have been residence to both English and Scottish monarchs.
Checking the English Heritage website and they are not giving anything away. A simple message reads:
Due to an event, Carlisle Castle will be closed on 15, 16 and 17 September. There may be some slight disruption to your visit as a result on 8 – 14, 18 and 19 September. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please do contact our Customer Services team if you require any help or more information.
So I will just have to wait and see what all the fuss is about. Possibly everything was for the event over the weekend and it will take a while to remove. Only time will tell.
Do you know what is going on? Let me know in the comments area below.
Licks and wags