Rescuers in action during the latest rescue on Barf. Photo: Keswick MRT

Rescuers in action during the latest rescue on Barf. Photo: Keswick MRT

A Lake District rescue team was called out to a regular blackspot, just a week after it advised walkers to use an alternative route.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team had to bring a pair of walkers to safety from Barf on Sunday after they got stuck on difficult ground.

It was the fourth rescue at the site this year and comes seven days after an almost identical incident. The team described the ‘abundant horridness’ of the ascent, which was detailed by celebrated guidebook author Alfred Wainwright.

At the time, rescuers urged walkers to ignore Wainwright’s route and use an easier alternative.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team was alerted about 9.40am when two men called the team after getting stuck on the route. The pair then called back to say they could cope, only to ring again 16 minutes later when they got stuck above Slape Crag.

A team spokesperson said: “We went and did what we always do, and got them off. The previous comments about what an unpleasant route this is still apply.”

The diminutive peak rises to 468m (1,535ft) north-west of the hamlet of Thornthwaite and overlooks the southern reaches of Bassenthwaite Lake.

Wainwright’s ‘direct route’ up the fell, past the white-painted boulder known as The Bishop, is described in his sixth volume of the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells as: ‘Not a walk. A very stiff scramble only for people overflowing with animal strength and vigour.’

After a rescue of a grandfather and his family last Sunday, the Keswick MRT spokesperson said walkers often find themselves at a difficult step at the foot of Slape Crag.

“Once they are there, they decide that they can’t retreat down what they climbed up.

“It’s worth emphasising the unpleasant nature of the scree on the route, the looseness of the surrounding rock, and the apparent lack of a clear escape route when it all goes wrong.

“Once you’ve read Wainwright’s description, you’re better off ignoring it, and finding the path that goes up through the forest on the south side of the gill, to come out above the waterfalls.

“That way, you won’t get stuck in the abundant horridness, and we won’t have to come and retrieve you.”

In his guidebook, Wainwright described this easier route to ascend Barf, via the forest path of Beckstones Plantation and Beckstones Gill, which he said was: ‘one of the very best of the shorter Lakeland climbs’.

The latest Barf rescue involved 10 Keswick MRT volunteers for almost two hours.

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