Date : Thursday 26th January 2006, 11.30pm start.

Location : Barf, the Bishop and the Clerk, Cumbria, Uk.

Occasion : A walk with Ann and myself, plus the dogs.

Walk details : 2 miles. 1475 ft of ascent, Time 1.3/4 hrs - didn't rush it - have you seen the slope !

Weather : Blue skies and fluffy white clouds


Today we wanted a shorter walk, but one that was outside the valley for a change.

We decided to re-climb Barf from the Old Swan Hotel at Thornthwaite. The hotel has now shut and is being converted into private residential accommodation. The builders are already in and busy bashing it about.

Our route would take us up the Beckstones Gill path, which is opposite the old hotel, a route we haven't taken since we last climbed Barf in 1997. Doesn't time fly !

The path starts up through the birch trees. At the foot of the hill is the first white painted rock known as the Clerk.

High above is the second and larger painted rock, The Bishop.

The dogs lead the way up the slippery scree path

up to the rock high up on the hillside.

Up here - what took you so long ?

Harry and Bethan beat me up as usual - this time by a big margin.

The recently re-painted Bishop Rock on Barf

overlooking the southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake.

Tradition has it that in 1783, the Bishop of Derry ventured a wager after supping a few beers at the Swan. He bet he could ride his pony up the hillside but only got as far as the rock before falling.

Both the Bishop and his horse both died as a result of the wager and they were supposedly buried adjacent to the Clerk Stone at the bottom.

My thanks to Gordon Nicholson for the info.

Question: Now the hotel is closed who will keep the re-painting tradition going ?

--- o ---

I retraced my steps down and rejoined the main path in order to catch up Ann who didn't feel as mad as me and held the rucksack while I slithered up and back.

Our target for this afternoon was of course to finish the climb to the top that the Bishop never completed, but for us by using the easier forest path !


The top part of the route has been felled for the commercial timber leaving the usual unsightly jumble of forest waste.

The route did briefly entered the forest, before crossing right above the small falls, and then climbing to the top of Barf.

A surprise view of Bassenthwaite Lake

not named as such, but isn't it great when a hidden view opens up as you reach the crest of the hill.

and to its right, the bulk of the Skiddaw massif

with sunlight on the Ullock Pike / Longside Edge ridge and dappled shadow below.

It looks a lot warmer there than when we climbed it last month.

Looking south from Barf - Derwent Water, Newlands Valley with

the Helvellyn Ridge behind Ann, and the central Fells hidden in the haze of the afternoon sun to the right.

Ann again, wrapped up slightly warmer due to the cool breeze on the summit.

Lords Seat is the high point behind.

Two shots on the way back down.

Beckstones Gill before it cascades over the falls, and Helvellyn and Keswick above the trees of the Whinlatter forest.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . but without a pint in the Swan Inn this time !

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