Barf over Bassenthwaite

  • Panoramic Views over Keswick and the northern fells
  • Easy walking between the 2 main summits
  • Visit the Bishop of Barf (or not!)

1,536 ft. The Bishop of Barf always catches my eye on the A66 drive from Keswick to Cockermouth; a splash of white washed rock on steep screes and surrounded by what looks like dense forestry. The walk itself is a steep climb but the rewards are many as the path breaks out on to the flatter lands near the summit. The walking between Barf and Lord’s Seat is exceptional, as are the panoramic views with an airy feel uplifting the spirits. The path from Thornthwaite is a good pull but in the wet can be a little unpleasant (particularly when navigating a large uprooted tree) but I climbed it recently with the children and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, particularly messing around in Beckstones Gill.

The Bishop itself lies off the main track and is not a recommended route of ascent (a grinding scree slope) but the story behind the whitewashed rock is good: apparently in 1783 the Bishop of Derry killed himself and his horse whilst trying to drunkenly ride direct to the summit….mmm.

Recommend: If time permits carry on from Lords Seat in to Whinlatter Forest and drop slowly down to Braithwaite, if they have not altered the forest roads!

Download GPX file

Barf map


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL4 The English Lakes North West Buy Map
Start Point: NY 221263. Opposite the Swan Hotel is some parking and a lane leads towards the hill for 100 yards. Turn right at the obvious gate.
Height to Climb: 410ms (1,345 feet)
Terrain: Even the forest track can be rough in places and is uni formerly steep. The walking above on the higher open fellside is lovely
Eating & Drinking: The Swan Hotel is now self catering apartments so best pop along to Braithwaite and the Royal Oak or Coledale Inn
Similar Walks Nearby: Whinlatter Forest and Fell
Barrow from Braithwaite
Sale Fell, nr Cockermouth
Places to Stay:


Beckstones Farm Guest HouseIrton House Farm Cottages


  1. mountain mike says:

    Hi everyone its Mountain Mike again and with Skiddaw Steve leading the way our target today is the summit of Barf via The Bishop,as Jonathon has previously said this is indeed a pull in the rain.Conditions are low cloud and fine sea fret temperature is mild,I follow Steve up a very steep gradient,my Gp Pro is working today lets hope we get some good footage.Having passed The Clerk its a big push towards our first target,the scree is still pretty dry and before we know it we are taking photographs at The Bishop hpoe he didn’t mind,I was in Cotswold Outdoor Store in Keswick earlier today and one of the guys advised me not to take this route but with Steve with the lead we make good time.Pictures taken we head on,wind is getting up and the great views are fading,after a half an hour we come to a point where we had to scramble around a corner this looks very dodgy that’s climbing speak for technically difficult.Steve hands me his rucksack and makes his way around this obstacle,I throw mine to him and also take off my Go Pro and attempt to get around this corner its tight and I’m a well made lad Steve lends me a hand and I’m round what a guy.We head off towards the summit and the wind has now got up handshakes all round and a few photographs and we head for Lords Seat to bag another Wainwright.A short push and we are taking photographs in the Lords Seat the wind is now at around 40 mph we get off the top and head back down,the path down isn’t bad but it does require some repairs Steve tells me that nothing has been done repair wise for years. (Fix the fells take note)

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