In former times when maps were rare it was usual to make a formal perambulation of the parish boundaries on Ascension Day or during Rogation week. Knowledge of the limits of each parish needed to be handed down so that such matters as liability to contribute to the repair of the church, and the right to be buried within the churchyard were not disputed. The priest of the parish with the churchwardens and the parochial officials headed a crowd of boys who, armed with birch or willow sticks, beat the parish boundary markers with them. Sometimes the boys themselves were whipped or even violently bumped on the boundary-stones to make them remember. The object of taking boys along was to ensure that witnesses to the boundaries should survive as long as possible. The boundaries of the Parish of St. Patrick, Patterdale, are very extensive (30 miles). It was in this tradition, that in 1990 the Rector of Patterdale and two local parishioners walked the boundary in 13 hours. In 1992 they invited other people to walk the boundary to raise money in sponsorship and donations for Patterdale School and St Patrick's Church.
This became an annual Walk, or (for a few experts) a Run, right around the boundary, starting at the Car Park at Glencoyne and finishing at Patterdale School. (The boundary actually crosses Ullswater but only rarely does anyone include the swim in order to follow the boundary in every respect). It takes place on the first Saturday of July. Many entrants 'clock in' at Glencoyne between 5 a.m. and 6.30 a.m. to start the thirty mile route, with 10,000 ft.of ascent and only one crossing of a road - at the top of Kirkstone Pass - where a team of helpers provide drinks, sandwiches, cake and bananas - and where some of the walkers withdraw but where some start on the shorter leg of the route - a mere fourteen miles and 3,000 ft. of ascent !. In 2010, another route was added - from Kirkstone Top downhill to the finishing point at the school, this was to encourage younger (and older) participants. For more information or to 'sign up' for the next walk, visit the Boundary Walk Website