Location:- Wast Water, Wasdale, Cumbria.
Looking towards Wasdale Head with Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable. The slopes on the right lead to Lingmell and Scafell Pike. As you can see from the sky it was a day when the the weather changed back and forth as the clock ticked. Not that unusual in the Lake District 🙂
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020
Location : Crystal Clear waters of Wast Water, Wasdale looking towards Great Gable and Scafell, Cumbria in the English Lake District. (HDR Image)
(C) David Oakes 2014
Yesterday the rains persisted for most of the day and finished with just a little jink in the clouds at dusk…may be a hint of what to expect the following day….
That little bit of promise materialised this morning with a sky full of cotton wool clouds and warm sunshine….
Skiddaw from Hand Point, Brandelhow
So with the promise of a good day we headed off to Wastwater and Wasdale, one of the wildest in Cumbria…..
Great Gable, Great End and Lingmell from Wasdale
The valley is surrounded by the largest of Cumbria’s mountains including Great Gable, Great End, Lingmell and Scafell Pike. Like all Lakeland valleys waterfalls are numerous and in heavy rains dramatic….
The valley is rich grazing for the hardy Lakeland Herdwick sheep….
But the surrounding mountains dominate with the famous Wastwater Screes casting a shadow over the lake……
Wasdale is a dead-end valley so it is back the same way as we came in, but the views back are worth pausing for a final view back to the mountains….
Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell
It had rained hard overnight so the morning started grey but did hold promise…..so we headed off to one of The Lake Districts remotest and perhaps wildest valleys. The clouds were still heavy as we came over the last rise on the road into Wasdale and there suddenly spread out before you is the dramatic spectre of Wast Water.
For the most part it looks dark, deep and threatening, all the more so for when the southern shores of the lake are dominated by the dark scree slopes that reach from summit ridge to shore….
The southern end of the lake remains rocky and rugged for about a mile of its length until suddenly the valley briefly opens out with a wider vista. To your left Yewbarrow is the first of the mountains that surround the head of the valley arousing your interest and anticipation of more great things to come….
Beyond this point the mountains start to dominate Wasdale and so they should as this is where the highest mountains in England can be found. Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Lingmell, Great End and the highest of them all Scarfell Pike.
At the end of the valley is the hamlet of Wasdale Head a handful of buildings. Sheep farming is the staple so it is not surprising that traditional stone walls separate the fields demarcating old farm boundaries interlinked with tracks and paths all giving access to the hills that enclose the head of the valley…
The hidden Church of St. Olaf
Hidden within a coppice of ancient Yew trees is the tiny stone built church of St. Olaf. Despite it lonely location it is still acts as Wasdale’s village church. History is told in the grave yard and the stones worth a read and contemplation. To-day it would seem that locals are the only folk that are buried there; three large memorial stones are testament to mountaineers who have fallen to the deaths on these hills. With accidents on these hills not uncommon they perhaps felt that there would be no room left for locals.
One stop worth making is at the Wasdale Head Hotel the largest of the buildings in Wasdale Head Hamlet. Good Beer, good Food and for the most part the good company of mountaineers….a touch of civilisation in this wilderness of Wasdale….
Lakeland Herdwick Lambs