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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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WHAT DO THEY KNOW?

HEAT WAVE: Tourists enjoying the hot weather flock to The Glebe Bowness Monday 3rd July 2006. SHEENAH ALCOCK REF: 0343207

TOURISM bosses and a councillor have hit out at a “sad” and “offensive” website which slams Cumbria and the Lake District.

Some have called for Uncyclopedia.org to edit the articles on Cumbria and the Lake District, or impose stricter regulation.

The Cumbria article, which mirrors and mocks the style of the Wikipedia site, refers to the county as the only “British county in which women are not allowed in bars”.

It adds: “This has led to a growth in a phenomenon known as ‘Male Homosexuality’”, which it says includes some Cumbrian rugby players.

The author starts the Lake District article by writing: “Frankly, it bored the a*** off me, and I only went for five days.

“Anyway, this is a rough guide to the Lake District, which, hopefully, will discourage you from visiting it.”

It reads: “The Lake District is situated in the middle of Nowhereshire, a county in Northern England.

“The District itself is the last part of a long stretch of land known as Harse. This has given it the nickname; the Harse-end of England.”

The article goes on to make claims that the Lake District was built as a tourism attraction for Victorians in 1858 where hills were made from “piles of corpses”.

The Cumbria article also satirises famous residents and makes reference to towns such as Barrow and Cleator Moor.

It says of William Wordsworth: “That poet that liked daffodils. And not much else” and lists “John Peel (but not THE John Peel)” and “Stan Laurel, who was born in Ulverston-in-the-Furnace. But that was before the Anschluss so I guess he doesn’t really count”.

The article claims everyone from Cleator Moor has webbing between their fingers and toes, the county has a high teenage pregnancy rate and some Cumbrians known as “marras” must marry at least four of their immediate relatives.

Angela Knowles, of the Lake District Peninsulas Tourism Partnership, said: “It is quite offensive really and I don’t think serious visitors to the Lakes would be in agreement with what’s written there.

“You just read through it and it’s just ridiculous. Nobody could possibly condone anything like that, especially the comments about homosexuality.

“You just never now how widely these things are noted. If there are means of monitoring and editing these sites, I would be all in favour of that.”

Windermere district councillor Kathleen Atkinson said: “I think it’s sad. I don’t know why people do this. They obviously have a lot of spare time.” Cumbria Tourism spokesman Ellis Butcher said: “Some people will find its references to Cumbria and the Lake District in bad taste but it’s obvious that this is intended to be a satirical look at the official Wikipedia website which some people have found unreliable.

“We credit our visitors with having both a sense of humour and the ability to distinguish between a prank website and the real thing.”

Windermere, Bowness, Grasmere and Ambleside town manager Paul Holdsworth said: “The great pity about Uncyclopedia’s Lake District entry is that it falls so far short of being ‘searingly sarcastic’.

“Most local people can be much, much funnier about the Lake District than this.”

A Lake District National Park Authority spokesman declined to give an official comment about the website, but added: “I think we’ll let the readers of this article judge for themselves whether or not this guide has any value at all.”

Uncyclopedia spokesperson Sierra Lovelace said: “Uncyclopedia is a parody and humour site. None of the articles there are intended to be taken seriously or as anything other than as a parody of an encyclopedia. The humour is often dark, mocking, satirical, and sometimes offensive.

“But, at its best, it can also be very funny as well as thought provoking and enlightening, giving a new twist to an old subject.

“Dark humour is always likely to offend some, and the articles that are found funny and those that offend, vary from person to person.

“Uncyclopedia often treads a difficult line, and often challenges those that read it.”

Click here to view Uncyclopedia's Lake District article.

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