Ruskin memorial by Derwentwater copyright Michael Turner
Ruskin memorial by Derwentwater

Uniquely Derwentwater

Did you know

  • Keswick comes from the Norse for 'cheese farm'.
  • The world's largest pencil can be found at the Pencil Museum (opens in new window) in Keswick.
  • Thousands of people take part in the annual Keswick Christian Convention (opens new window). It spans three consecutive weeks in July.
  • Keswick was named the UK’s most dog-friendly town in 2012 in the Kennel Club's Open for Dogs Awards.
  • The George Hotel is Keswick's oldest coaching inn, dating back some 330 years. The Earl of Derwent Water visited it on his ill-fated journey to join the Jacobite rebellion.
  • Friar's Crag is a key setting in "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome. It appears as the Peak of Darien, where the Swallows spend their first camping adventure.
  • In 1981 there were scooter riots in Keswick. There was a stand-off in Lake Road before police charged the mobs and made arrests. This was reputably the first time UK police wore full riot gear.
  • The site of our Information Centre has a very colourful history - find out more in Moot Hall, Keswick.

Keswick folklore

Ghosts in the Moot Hall?

An article appeared in The News and Star on 8 March 2001 that "Men working on a face lift for Gasworks Moot Hall have been spooked by a ghost in the tower. The first sighting was reported by a labourer sweeping up in the corner of the tower. He said the atmosphere went cold and when he looked around, he saw the dark shadow of a man disappearing through the wall. Then a colleague who had volunteered to go back up into the clock tower with him felt a hand on his back as he was descending the last flight of stairs."

Read more about Moot Hall.

Keswick's characters

Bob Graham

The Bob Graham Round is a race that crosses 42 Lake District fells within 24 hours. It starts and finishes at the Moot Hall, Keswick. It is named after the guest house owner who ran his great round aged 42. Buy a copy of the route from Keswick Information Centre.

The Keswick Brothers

In 1887 the Abraham family had a photographic studio business on the corner of Lake Road in Keswick. It is now the George Fisher outdoor shop. The "Keswick Brothers" George and Ashley Abraham, were some of the first to take photos of the evolution of early rock climbing in the English Lake District.

Millican Dalton

This self-styled "Professor of Adventure" was a hermit that lived in a cave in Borrowdale. He started offering guided mountain adventures in 1923.

Rusty Westmorland

This man formed the first Mountain Rescue unit in UK, called Borrowdale Mountain Rescue. It changed its name in 1951 to Keswick Mountain Rescue (opens in new window).

Saint Herbert and his island

St. Herbert's Island on Derwentwater is named after the saint and hermit who lived there. He ate fish from the lake and grew vegetables around his tiny cell. He was a close friend of St. Cuthbert, once the bishop of Lindisfarne, who visited Herbert every year. Herbert died on the island on 13 April 687 AD. His feast day is 20 March. Strangely, Cuthbert died on the same day on the Farne Islands.

Friars Crag viewpoint on Derwentwater is named after the monks who sailed over to St. Herbert's Island on pilgrimage to visit the saint.

St. Herbert's Island features in Beatrix Potter's tale of Squirrel Nutkin when the character Old Brown sails to Owl Island.

Sir Hugh Walpole

The author of the famous Herries Chronicles is buried in St John's churchyard in Keswick. Visit his grave on the terrace overlooking the lake and the Borrowdale fells.

Skiddaw Hermit

During the late 19th century George Dodd lived in a cave on the side of Skiddaw. George was a harmless fellow who eked a living as an artist. He had one major failing - he drank too much liquor. This meant he was often drunk and forcibly ejected from the local inns. Sadly, his inebriated condition made him a target for the local ruffians. They often raided his cell and stole his belongings. He died penniless.

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Moot Hall in Keswick, home to Keswick Information Centre - copyright Keswick Tourism Association

This page is brought to you by the staff of Keswick Information Centre.

We can help you with booking accommodation, tickets or attractions. See us in Moot Hall in the Market Place, home to Keswick Information Centre.