The legend of Windermere's killer pike

There is an enduring local legend about the existance of a man eating killer pike that haunts Windermere's icy depths. The mintcake mine is going to hunt down this legend, harpoon it once and for all and exploit the merchandising possibilities ruthlessly.

(See "Bownessie" for related info.)
Shop for Killer Pike goodies at...

With its massive size, razor sharp teeth and crazed lust for blood dare you dangle your feet in to the dark and icy world of the Killer Pike?

Windermere lake is the largest lake in England. It measures about 10.5 miles in length (depending on who you believe) and about a mile across at its widest point. It can be quite deep in places and has lots of islands, most of them quite small.
(See our "Windermere Lake" page for full details)
There is a lot of rubbish talked about not calling Windermere a lake because "mere" means lake anyway. Locals don't really care and tend to call it anything including Lake Windermere, Windermere Lake and just Windermere but mostly they will refer to it as "the lake".
The lake is long and thin with only one large town actually touching it. This is Bowness on Windermere and tends to be where most tourists get their best view of the water and local hills & mountains. Bowness is about halfway along the lake on its eastern shore. At the northern end is Waterhead, which leads into Ambleside. Above Bowness is the town of Windermere and the railway station. At the southern end is Newby Bridge and Lakeside. There are houses dotted along and overlooking the lakeshore and most of these are now so hugely expensive to buy that it horrifies the locals. Some hotels also overlook the lake but generally, outside the tourist hot spots, much of the land around the shores is wooded and often private, especially at the southern end. Even when walking the paths at the edge of Windermere it is often difficult to see much of the lake without getting your feet wet as trees are used to bind the shore line together preventing erosion. The water can be very cold, often taking swimmers by surprise. A warmer surface layer hides a bitterly cold sub-surface, which can suddenly rise up to the top.
The main fish in the lake are trout, char, pike, and perch but more wildlife has returned to the lake since the reduced speed limits were introduced in 2000.

Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. Pike are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike. In short, they will inhabit any water body that contains fish, but suitable places for spawning are essential for their numbers. Because of their cannibalistic nature, young pike need places where they can take shelter between plants so they are not eaten. In both cases it comes down to rich submersible vegetation nearby. Pikes are seldom found in brackish water, except for the Baltic Sea area. Pike is known to prefer water with less turbidity but that is probably related to their dependence on the presence of submersible vegetation and not to their being a sight hunter.
See for more details of what a pike should be.

The killer pike book (and almost a film!)

In the early 1980's Cliff Twemlow* wrote a book based around the story of a massive killer pike in Windermere Lake. Later there was an attempt to make a film of "The Pike", starring Joan Collins. Unfortunately the budget could not be raised despite Collins’ star power and Twemlow and Collins promoting the film on the BBC’s Look North programme. During the promotion Joan appeared on a BBC TV Tomorrow's World special featuring the innovative and technically advanced mechanical Pike, made especially for the film. The Mechanical Pike apparently now resides as an exhibit of robotics in Japan.
Ever since the speed limit was reduced on Windermere Lake noise and pollution has been greatly reduced. A walk around the lake these days no longer involves listening to the sound of jet skis and spoilt boy racers in daddy's speedboat. Otters have even been spotted!
Could this be the ideal time for the killer pike to return to the surface of Windermere?
The Killer Pike hunters have just taken delivery of a copy of this hard to find book and intend to re-read it, with their feet up, on the shores of Windermere lake (but only where it is safe to do so!)...

Review of "The Pike" by Cliff Twemlow.
"The Pike" isn't great literature, just a good read. With 160 fast moving pages this book doesn't hang about and owes an obvious debt to Jaws. First a swan, then a fisherman are attacked. A fairly large cast of characters is quickly assembled and a couple are picked off. Relationships are formed, a bit of romance is followed by some action and there are two major twists near the end. The first is unexpected and a bit daft but the second is quite satisfactory in a perverse way. The locations in the book are either real (Windermere lake, Bowness and the Low Wood & Belsfield hotels) or slightly changed (the national park?). The landscape is well described and some local legends are mentioned.
It doesn't ruin anything by revealing that the pike escapes, at the end of the book, to carry on haunting Windermere's dark and icy depths.
If you see a copy turning yellow in a second hand bookshop buy it. You won't be disappointed!
This book is also crying out for a sequel!

Meanwhile, this year’s must-have fashion in the Lake District is the Killer Pike clothing brand!
Don't visit Windermere this year without some of our cool kit!
Visit our online store for t-shirts & sweatshirts etc at...

*Cliff Twemlow Mini Biography
Twemlow was a one time nightclub bouncer and avid movie fan who entered the film world via working as a stuntman. Based in the Manchester area, Twemlow came into his own by starring in a series of extremely low budget action films mostly shot on videotape. The first, 1983's G.B.H., was a true labour of love for Twemlow in which he not only played the lead role but also produced, co-ordinated the stunts and wrote the music for all under a variety of pseudonyms. It features Twemlow as an embittered former nightclub bouncer called Steve Donovan a.k.a. 'The Mancunian', drawn back into the violent world of Manchester club land. This was a world Twemlow knew only too well, his autobiography published around the time of the film's video release was called 'Tuxedo Warrior: Tales of a Mancunian Bouncer'. Although boasting fine performances from such curiosities as 3-2-1 voiceover man Anthony Schaeffer and stand up comedian Jerry Harris, most of the cast were merely Twemlow's mates from the local gym and fellow stuntmen. Movie buff Cliff filled the film with references to the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and did the music under the name 'John Agar'. GBH very much set the tone for Cliff Twemlow's unique blend of cinema, with impressive stunt ridden set pieces, heavy emphasis on Manchester settings and Mancunian characters plus lots of very Northern humour. The average scene in GBH involves a character referring to Donovan as 'the big hard type' to which he responds to by looking down at his trousers and remarking `I didn't realise it was showing'. For all his crude one-liners Twemlow emerges as highly likeable and, in his fifties at the time, admirably refuses to exclude himself from being the butt of jokes by having characters refer to him as 'poppa' and 'a bit too old'.

A modest success GBH begat around 13 Twemlow vehicles filmed throughout the 80s and 90s. Mostly directed by David Kent-Watson they include the horror themed The Eye of Satan (1988) and a GBH sequel called Lethal Impact (1991) which was shot in Malta, Liverpool and naturally Manchester. Twemlow was also a horror novelist penning the paperbacks 'The Beast of Kane' and 'The Pike', the latter of which was meant to be made into a film starring Joan Collins which never happened. Sadly Twemlow passed away in 1993, but his two fisted legacy of action films and horror paperbacks is well worth celebrating.

There is a bit of a monster buzz around Windermere lake at the moment and it isn't being blamed on our killer pike.
A creature called "Bownessie" (after Bowness bay+Nessie) has broken the surface and been spotted by eagle-eyed locals. Our local paper, The Westmoreland Gazette, has details on it's website for anyone that is interested.
We believe, however, that Bownessie is a fiction dreamed up to boost tourism to the Lakes.
Anyway "our" Killer Pike would have eaten Bownessie by now!

For more Bownessie madness check out our dedicated page!

Killer Pike Caught?
Don't panic! This one is plastic and on display at the Low Wood hotel on the edge of Windermere Lake.

Judging by this sign it is open season on giant pike on the lake!

If you see a giant KILLER PIKE be sure to contact us at

Fin. ...where?