We went to Keswick yesterday via Binsey Fell, spending a pleasant hour going up and down from Binsey Lodge. Keswick was heaving with people but Binsey, probably because we were so early, was quiet, bar one fell-runner and his dog that we passed on the way up.

Top of Binsey

The ascent of Binsey is dead easy, perhaps a mile up a wide and gently sloping track. But for all its hilly modesty, the fell has not only a lovely cairned summit but a staggeringly grand view across the Solway into Scotland, around Criffel in one direction, and back towards Skiddaw and its subsidiary summits and Bassenthwaite in another. Some of the best walking countryside in England.

Blue Sky over Binsey

Apart from the waters of Bass, you get some glimpses of Over Water. It was once owned by the huntsman Norman de Courcy Parry, the chap who – in his younger days – may or may not have shot dead Percy Toplis, the Monocled Mutineer and sometime bandit, on the old Carlisle road leading out of Penrith.

The View over Bass

Whether he shot Percy or not, and he tended to deny it, he did sell Over Water for £500, something he later regretted. Apparently, he was drunk in a Welsh pub one night when he heard someone declare how much they’d like to own a lake in the Lake District. The inebriated de Courcy Parry muttered that he had one to sell – hence Over Water changed hands.

A Glimpse of Over Water

de Courcy Parry very much wanted to change his mind as he sobered up, but considering himself a gentleman couldn’t bring himself to renege on the deal.

Top and Skiddaw

We had been meaning to go up Binsey in January, but all the roads were closed for ages. Now they are mostly open, though I notice the road along Bassenthwaite is closed for the day on April 26th.

You can read more about Norman de Courcy Parry and Percy Toplis in The Monocled Mutineer by John Fairley and William Allison.

15 thoughts on “An Hour on Binsey

  1. Did you notice whether the trig point had been wrecked again? Someone is doing it most weeks and I can’t catch who it is. I mend it every time I go up but they keep at it! They keep removing stones from one of the sides and I think that one day it will collapse because of it! 😦

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      1. no doubt it will be due a visit from them soon then 😦 Really can’t understand the mentality. By the way, do you know if there is anyone who takes an interest in repairing trig points? It’s alright me jamming rocks back into it to keep it upright but it really needs cementing.

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      2. When the OS stopped using them there was an adoption scheme set up. Might be worth a search.

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      3. Think all that’s gone – I searched for ‘Trig Point Society’ as there definitely used to be one of those – the only websites I can find are ones where you ‘bag’ trigpoints now…

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  2. What breathtaking views, John, especially the one over Bass. Wonderful story about de Courcy Parry and Over Water. Stories like this always add so much to the appreciation of a place.

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