There's a carpark opposite the old Swan Inn, now private flats, on the A66 just a mile or so north-north-west of Braithwaite but there are plenty of other spots where you can leave your car within a short distance. Of course, you would do no better than to use the X4/5 bus service which runs between Workington, Keswick and Penrith and start your journey with a real Wainwright twist. Of course, the other link with Transport for Lakeland is that the A66 follows the route of the now defunct Cockermouth, Keswick, and Penrith Railway which was closed by the Beeching Act. On April 18th, 1966 all services west of Keswick ended whilst the last passenger train left Penrith for Keswick on on a wintry Saturday, March 4th, 1972.
AW Says:On Barf..."This rugged pyramid contrives to arrest and retain the attention of travellers."This ascent of Barf is certainly a dramatic one and would be best left after a couple of warm up ascents. Leaving the car, the first feature to find is the 'clerk'. Wainwright describes the stone as, "a poor drooping individual who attracts little attention to himself." The direct assault on Barf can be regarded as more of a scramble as sections are undoubtedly very far from the amble! The first objective, The Bishop is an ideal focus for the initial route. Ascend loose scree but take care as you pick your way through the talus. The Bishop is an interesting edifice, historically maintained in its white vestments by the landlord of the Swan. Sadly, with the passing of that establishment this historical connection has been severed, but the whitewashing is now carried out by members of Keswick Mountain Rescue. If in London, there is no doubt the Bishop would be 'tagged' and graffiti would cover him, but people respect his high perch or perhaps urban hoodies won't climb so high!
Did you know?Barf was formerly known as Barrugh Fell and indicates a derivation of Berg, meaning mountain. Barrugh, also a local surname, is locally pronounced 'Barf'.Beyond The Bishop, the slope continues scree style. Before long, the crux of Slape Crag is reached, but for the sure of foot it shouldn't present a problem. Breathers may be many on this ascent, but in clear weather the views behind give ample reason to stop and take photographs. With the impressive aspect of Skiddaw across Bassenthwaite, it really is a spectacular vista and keep an eye out in summer, you might catch a glimpse of the Thornthwaite Ospreys on a sorti for fish in the lake below. Beyond a series of false summits, Barf summit is achieved and after a break to take in the view, the easy ascent of Lord's Seat is achieved. This is the high point of the day but a fine little ridge presents itself north-westwards. Traversing Todd Fell, Broom Fell with its fine cairn is easily reached whence the route turns nearer to south-west descending past Darling How Plantation at Widow Hause.
Did you know?Although rarely eaten in the UK, the red berries of cowberry are edible and have a sharp taste.In the true spirit of adventure, say "Ullister Hill" and few will have any inkling of where it is. However, I am sure that without a carpet of trees and the nearby Lord's Seat it would feature more readily on people's lists of hills to climb. As it is, I doubt whether anybody will be with you on this section of the journey and if in summer you'll be accompanied by a carpet of treats in the form of wild bilberry and cowberry.
The Route Map and Path Profile: