Wastwater Screes

Wastwater Screes

Southern Lake District

Route: Wastwater Screes

Area: Southern Lake District

Date of walk: 22nd June 2014

Walkers: Andrew

Distance: 9.7 miles

Weather: sun and blue skies at first, clouding over later. Warm

The two fells which plunge spectacularly into Wast Water are Whin Rigg and Illgill Head but are usually referred to collectively as the Wastwater Screes. A glance at the OS map, or a view of the screes from the other side of the lake, makes it plain that a direct ascent from the lake would be suicidal. I doubt if climbers would even try as the rock face is so unstable

An indirect approach is needed and I decided to try a route I’d never walked before, and parked the car in quiet Miterdale. I made my way up through Miterdale Forest to join the easy ridge path running along Irton Fell to Whin Rigg. There can be few people who climb Whin Rigg and don’t go on to Illgill Head, since the walk between the two is thrilling if the path along the edge is followed

I followed the edge as closely as I dared, looking down the fearful gullies and aretes which plunge into the lake below. It was a fantastic mile or so – as good as it gets – with views of Scafell and other lakeland giants ahead making it even more special

When I reached Illgill Head I admired the classic view of the fells at the head of Wasdale as I had my picnic, then wandered down the easy slopes, walking back into Miterdale along a path above Burnmoor Tarn. It was a pleasant return leg, but the memory that will linger is that of fantastic ridge walk between the two fells

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Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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