Thornthwaite

Legend of Barf and the bishop

There is a Viking burial ground here at Powter Howe and just behind it is a hill called Barf.

You wil see two large white rocks – one halfway up Barf, one at the bottom. The higher one is the Bishop, and the lower the Clerk. They commemorate the tale of a deadly 18th century drinking session at the Swan Inn (now transformed into holiday apartments) during which the bibulous Bishop of Londonderry (doubtless on diocesan duty) bet his clerk that he could beat him to the top of Barf. They downed their glasses and set off. The Right Reverend keeled over half-way up, while the clerk pegged it at the bottom. The stones are said to commemorate this foolhardy wager. I do not know whether they were on their way up or down. Informed readers are welcome to write in.

Thornthwaite overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake, the only lake in the Lake District. This may seem strange, but all the other expanses of H2O in the so-called Lake District are Waters, Meres or Tarns.