Lake District Myths and Legends

Lake Windermere has it’s very own mini-monster, called a “Tizzie Wizzie”. At the beginning of the 20th century , a boatman near Bowness used to tell tourists stories of this strange and shy creatures. He said that it had hedgehog’s body, the tail of a squirrel and a pair of wings like a bee. Although many people thought he was borderline insane, sightings of Tizzie-Wizzies are still reported today along the shores of the famous lake.

photo by Aussiegirl
Cumbria has many links to King Arthur, such as the stone monument near Penrith to the east of he lakes called King Arthur’s Round Table. The historical Arthur if he existed, would have been a Romano-Celt, leading a local resistance to the invading Anglo-Saxons from present day Germany. As Cumbria was one of the great centres of Celtic resistance, this could have been King Auther’s territory.

Lakeland has many stories of faries, ghosts and even phantom dogs. In the village of Beetham on the southern edge of the national park, there are a set of “fairy steps” carved into the limestone rocks. If you can go down them without touching the sides, locals say that the fairies will grant you a wish. The same area near Arnside is said to be haunted by a pair of demon dogs. One, the “Cappel” whose fiery eyes induce terror into anyone who looks at him – usually at twilight. The other is a Headless Hound, if it follows you then you have been marked out for an early grave.

The church at the village of Renwick was supposed to have been haunted by a giant ghost bat, which flew around the village on various evenings. Some villagers said that they could sense its presence as the air would suddenly become cold as it passed.

On particularly dark and stormy nights, the ferry men working at Ferry Nab on Lake Windermere heard calls from the hills at Claife for a boat to come across the lake. The ferrymen were too afraid to answer the “Caller of Claife”, but one night, a brave young ferryman decided to row across to see what the fuss was about. He returned so scared at what he had seen that he couldn’t speak, and he died the following day.