May 23, 2022

     ‘Was there ever a ferry here?’ I asked late one evening, as The Major, John and I enjoyed
a whisky.
    Heavy rain was lashing against the small window next to the front door. The darkness
outside was relieved only by an occasional flash of lightning, illuminating the sky over Nab
    ‘There was,’ replied the Major. ‘The locals say there used to be a small boat on a rope
pulley to take people across the Rothay, just before Rydal Water.
    ‘That’s where the river’s at its deepest,’ explained John. ‘You can still see the remains of
the wooden posts it was attached to on both sides. The ferryman lived in a wooden shack on
the water’s edge. Travellers could call him by ringing the bells that hung from the top of the
    ‘It operated night and day, all year round,’ added the Major, shaking his head. ‘It must
have been awful for him in the winter. It’s said he disappeared the day the footbridge was
opened. He was never seen or heard of again.’
    Instinctively, the three of us turned towards the window to peer out into the rain and
    ‘In Greek mythology, Charon, the Ferryman of Hades, carried the spirits of the deceased
from the world of the living across the river Styx to the world of the dead,’ I explained. ‘If
you couldn’t pay the fee, you’d be left to wander the shore for a hundred years.’

    ‘I suppose there must have been a few over the years who couldn’t pay the Ferryman of
Rydal because they’d spent all their money in here,’ laughed the Major, reaching for the
Knockando. ‘Still, the only spirits in this pub come in bottles, so let’s have another glass
while we can.’