All things ghostly are usually in the news as October 31st approaches, but none offers as spooky a swimming spot as the east side of Windermere.
England’s largest lake offers no shortage of places to take a dip, but the wooded area just north of the ferry crossing that links Bowness with the Sawreys is literally on the map like nothing else in Britain.
The Crier of Claife is marked against the map over the woods below Claife Heights, and is the only ghost on an OS map. The story holds that a monk from Furness Abbey had tried to help a fallen woman, had fallen in love with her, only to be rejected, and had retreated to Claife Woods where, driven mad, his cries could be heard even after his death.
Subsequently, a boatman is said to have investigated after hearing the ghostly cries from the woods, saw the spectre and never spoke again. Even now, a hooded figure is allegedly sometimes seen at dusk in the vicinity.
Whether you believe in the story or not, this part of Windermere is a great one for swimming in. It is safe and shallow, with lots of islands, while the presence of the landing stage at Bass How means you can also swim with a boat nearby if you like.
There are plenty of other spooky Lake District spots you could choose to visit. The National Park Authority suggests places like Fang Brow near Ullswater and Boo Tarn, although the latter is too shallow and full of reeds to swim in.
However, the best other option for a dip might be Bowscale Tarn. According to the famous Lakes poet William Wordsworth, this allegedly contains the exact opposite of a ghost - two immortal beings. The creatures in question are fish, but apparently one of them can talk, which would probably be an even more disconcerting experience than meeting the Crier of Claife!
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