Hill Guide


Address: England
Phone number:
Height(m) 468
Height(ft) 1535
Our Rating Rating is 4 out of 5
Location Lake District: Northern Fells
National Park Lake District
Grid Reference NY214267
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View On OS Map Click Here
Hill Classification Wainwright

Your Rating

Average reviews rating is 3.5

(Based on 2 reviews)

Ranked 5 of 16 hills in Lake District: Northern Fells

Wow factor

rating is 3.5

Route variety

rating is 4


rating is 3.5

LFTO Review

Wainwright: "This rugged pyramid contrives to arrest and retain the attention of travellers.”

User's Reviews

  • Barf - a rogue mountain according to Wainwright!


    User's Overall Rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Wow factorrating is 4
    Route varietyrating is 4
    Viewsrating is 5

    Alfred Wainwright called Barf a "little rogue mountain" and alludes to the fact that even the forestry planters have left its steep, steep slopes well alone. He also points out that passers by look up at Barf with no thought of climbing it. Well, I climbed it on a hot day in June 2010! Not only that, I "persuaded" my wife to join me on the walk and, for good measure, I strapped my little baby daughter onto me and took her too! Looking back, Barf is definitely hard enough without trying to carry anything extra up its excrutiating slopes. We took the direct route described by Wainwright as "not a walk - a very stiff scramble for those overflowing with animal strength and vigour". If the previous reviewer honestly made it from the Clerk to the summit in under 40 minutes I'm almightily impressed. This took us hours! The heat, the extra weight, and the agonising angle of ascent meant that frequent rests and lots of fluid were the order of the day. The initial scree slope to the Bishop is frustrating, in that you slide back a few steps about every fourth or fifth step, hampering progress. However, the views become pretty impressive as you get closer to the Bishop thanks to the rapid gain of height! After the Bishop the rock gully awaits and is full of crumbling rock and hidden jagged rocks. My wife has a large black bruise on her knee to show for her troubles! At least progress can be made through this section without slipping backwards in the loose scree of the lower slope. We followed the Wainwright route up - or rather around - the cliff face by climbing behind the oak and rowan tree. By now the view was simply majestic, but my pulse was racing and sweat was literally running off me. The final push through the heather and grass is compratively easy, but for the fact that by this stage weariness and tiredness are kicking in! Stunning views of Lake Bassenthwaite from the summit, and a nice gentle stroll to the nearby summit of Lord's Seat offers itself for those that want more! A great test of fitness and vigour, but like I've said keep your carrying load to the minimum required and it's probably wise to avoiding blazing hot or significantly wet weather. A cool and pleasant day is what Barf was made for!!!

    (Written by: jonathonuk)

    28 June 2010 11:38

  • Barf the small fell with the big attitude!


    User's Overall Rating rating is 3

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    Wow factorrating is 3
    Route varietyrating is 4
    Viewsrating is 2

    I thought this poor little fell deserved a review as it has none already; so I take great pleasure in being the first. Barf can be seen from the A66 heading West from Keswick to Cockermouth. It rises from the ground in quite dramatic fashion and is well known by locals due to the large boulder painted white situated approximatly one third up its North Eastern flank. The boulder in question is called the Bishop according to OS maps and it is detailed by AW in his book 7 the North Western Fells. It was when reading this book that I decided to tackle Barf via the Bishop from Thornthwaite. May I give a word of warning, this fell is not for the faint hearted! This is a difficult scramble up scree with most of the time spent facing the fell and planning your next step. Although many may not see the beauty in ascending a mountain in this manner, its difficulty and severity is what attracted me and I was not disapointed. I begun at the clerk (another smaller white painted rock) and scrambled up the first third to the bishop. Great views already due to the amount of height gained. From here I followed AW's route up the scree gully to a solitary tree where at this point I thought my lungs were going to burst! Having regained my composure I proceeded to drag my tired legs up through the heather to the summit where I finally collapsed and laid on my back! The views of Bassenthwaite lake are superb from Barf and I wholly recommend this AW route for anyone wanting a stiff challenge. I managed the climb in 35 mins. (400m of ascent in 1200m)Give it a go you might just enjoy it!!

    (Written by: WestCumbKev)

    09 May 2009 17:38