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Good binsey.jpg
Binsey from Longlands Fell to the east
Range: Lake District Northern Fells
Summit: 1,467 feet NY225355
54°42’31"N, 3°12’16"W

Binsey is a hill in Cumberland, on the northern edge of the Lake District. It is detached from the rest of the Lakeland hills, and thus provides a good spot to look out at the Northern and North Western Fells of Lakeland, as well as the coastal plain and, across the Solway Firth to the fells of Galloway. Snaefell on the Isle of Man is also visible on a clear day.

Binsey is the northernmost of the 'Wainwrights'.


Binsey stands on the otherwise low-level watershed separating the catchments of the Ellen to the north and the Derwent to the south. A slight ridge connects it to Great Cockup in the main massif of the Northern Fells, two miles to the south east. Binsey itself has a rounded form, but somehow manages to impress the eye more than the similar Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell.

The "pudding basin" shape holds all around Binsey except to the north-west where a ridge descends over Whitas Park to a depression containing the remains of a Roman fort. Beyond is St John's Hill (950 feet) (called Caermote Hill in Wainwright's Outlying Fells) which is topped by an earthwork called "The Battery". Finally the ridge descends to the village of Bothel in the Ellen Valley.

Binsey sends out a further spur to the east, culminating in the shapely top of Latrigg (1,030 feet)— not to be confused with Latrigg near Keswick. Beneath Latrigg is Over Water, a large tarn which was raised by damming in 1920 to provide drinking water for Wigton.[1] The ouflow of Over Water feeds the Ellen, as does the gloriously named Humble Jumble Gill which drains Binsey's northern flank.

The hill is largely grass and heather, with only one significant outcrop of rock, West Crag. Flanking the eastern slopes of the fell is a thin belt of mixed woodland and a further plantation sits below West Crag.


The summit is crowned by a tumulus whose stones have been raided to produce several small circular wind-shelters. There is also a modern cairn atop the tumulus and a trig point.

Regarding the view, Wainwright stated: is a most excellent station for appraising the Northern Fells as a preliminary to their is a viewpoint of outstanding merit.".[2]

Far to the south the Coniston Fells of northern Lancashire can be seen, almost 25 miles away, while to the north the Solway Firth and the hills of Galloway are visible.

The furthest point visible on a clear day is the top of Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains of County Down, 115 miles away.


Binsey is formed from volcanic rocks, namely various sub-units of the Eycott Volcanic Group,[3] which consists of basaltic andesite, andesite and rhyolitic lavas.[4][5] There are several small disused quarries to the east and north.


The hill can be climbed by several routes, perhaps most simply beginning in the south-east (parking on the road between Binsey Lodge and Fell Side Farm), following a track to the summit. An alternative is along a lane from the A591 road, just north of Bewaldeth. From the top of the lane a loop to the left and behind a disused pit will enable the track across the summit to be picked up. Wainwright also lists a further route from High Ireby.[2]


  1. Blair, Don: Exploring Lakeland Tarns: Lakeland Manor Press (2003): ISBN 0-9543904-1-5
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wainwright, Alfred: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Five — The Northern Fells (1962)
  3. Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994): ISBN 0-00-218406-0
  4. British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)
  5. British Geological Survey 12997 Cockermouth England and Wales sheet 23 Solid & Drift geology. 1;50,000 (Keyworth, Nottingham: BGS)