Horrible history and spectacular scenery near to Winder Hall.
I can’t take credit for this version of the Rannerdale Massacre but I love it so much I’ve re-printed it here word for word.
It is said that about 1000 years ago, there was a fortified homestead on the site of what is now Woodhouse, the white building that holds a prominent position at the head of Crummock. This was the home of Earl Boethar (Buttermere is said to take its name from Boethar’s mere).
When the Normans were advancing through the Lune Gap on their way north to create a stronghold at Carlisle, Boethar’s men raided the convoys of troops. In a way they were getting their own back on the advancing conquerors that had driven the natives away from their homesteads into the central core of the mountainous region. Boethar was their champion and a thorn in the flesh of the Norman’s.
His location was a closely guarded secret, but friends of his were captured, brutally tortured and his secret Buttermere hideaway was revealed. The Normans planned an attack from the rear, from the Cockermouth direction. They brought a heavily armoured troop through the oak woodlands and through the marshy valley ground to attack Boethar from the rear.
However, Boethar’s own spies brought news of this attack, and he laid his own trap. He hid his fighting men, who were known as “berserkers”, in the thickly wooded sides of what we now call Rannerdale. The Normans were lured into this valley, and struggled in the marshy conditions where they were hampered by their weight of weapons and armour. When the word was given, the berserkers swept down from the fell sides and massacred the whole Norman troop. Boethar and his berserkers were victorious. And one reason why there is such a magnificent show of bluebells – the flowers reminds us that the land on which they grow was once woodland, is that it had the finest dressing of bonemeal and blood manure it was possible to have!
The original article can be found here http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/fellwalkingclub/
It’s a great site and I highly recommend joining the group if you love walking and love the Lake District. Fancy exploring Rannerdale yourself. It’s just a three mile drive up the valley past Crummock Water and before you get to Buttermere.
Click here for our latest offer and we hope to see you soon, Nick