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 © 2020

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