Where is this walk?

Barf over Bassenthwaite

January 9, 2018

Barf over Bassenthwaite is little more than a craggy outcrop. It is a short steep climb to its summit but here the trees open out and there are some excellent views.

The Walk

1,536 ft. The Bishop of Barf (not the summit) over Bassenthwaite always catches my eye on the A66 drive from Keswick to Cockermouth. It is a splash of white washed rock on steep screes and surrounded by what looks like dense forestry. The walk itself is a steep climb. However 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. In particular the panoramic views with an airy feel uplifting the spirits. Skiddaw and the Ullock Pike ridge are very well seen. The climb from Thornthwaite is undoubtedly steep and in the wet can be a little unpleasant. However I climbed it with young 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. It is perched to the north of the path on a scree slope. However 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.


If time permits carry on from Lords Seat in to Whinlatter Forest. Descend by dropping down to Braithwaite through the trees. Easy if they have not altered the forest roads! Alternatively continue to Broom Fell and the rarely visited walking nearby.

Navigation Tips on Barf over Bassenthwaite

My normal rule of thumb on steep slopes. If you are unable to see gaps on a map between the contour lines (ie: they merge) it will be a scramble. A fall and you will roll down the hill.

If you do want to tackle such a slope make sure you climb it rather than descend so you can see what is ahead.

  • Jonny says:

    I’ve taken the direct route each and every time I’ve “barfed”. Love it. Short but steep and with one tricky step – though you can easily avoid it. Easy down through the trees the off to the next Wainwright. If the wind is westerly you’re sheltered until the top.

  • 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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