Around Wastwater

I had long debated how best to tackle the Wastwater Wainwrights: driving a car is not my favourite occupation, and the head of Wasdale is well over an hour away from Keswick.  In the end, Joanna solved the problem by suggesting we all went over there for a few days for a holiday, so that's what we did!  Two nights in the famous Wasdale Head Inn, which should have meant three days' walking, and that should have been enough.  Good thinking, except that the day we arrived was a complete wash-out, with not only rain but clouds down to about 1000 feet: not a fell-top in sight, at least until after 4 pm, when it suddenly brightened up.  At that point the weather must have felt ashamed of itself, because the next two days were wonderful - blue skies, and warm enough for shorts. 

The Friday walk took in the fells on both sides of Wastwater.  This would normally have meant traipsing for over a mile along the lakeside road, but today we had a willing driver who deposited us at the bottom of the first fell, and we walked back to the hotel.  Much appreciated, especially since we had 13 miles to cover, plus 4000 feet of ascent.

Here are the pictures (click on any picture for a larger version):

We started from Greendale, about half way along the northern side of  Wastwater between Buckbarrow, in the background, and Middle Fell, our first objective.
The view from the top of Middle Fell over the lake and Yewbarrow, in the foreground, towards the high fells in the distance.  Kirk Fell is on the left, then Great Gable, then the Scafell massif.

From Middle Fell you drop down north onto a col and then climb to the top of Seatallan, where Sophie is seen in her usual pose.  The summit is featureless except fot this large cairn and an OS trig point - but we will remember it as our 200th Wainwright!
The same view as from the top of Middle fell - but we are a bit further away this time.

It's not surprising that people first thought that Scafell (on the right) was higher than Scafell Pike, on the left...
Seatallan is now up there in the distance, and we are on the top of Buckbarrow, which overlooks Wastwater behind us.

As AW suggests, the best views from Buckbarrow are certainly not from the cairn, nor from the highest crags.  You need to drop down to the next layer of crag, which juts out more into the lake, and this is what you see.
plus quite a lot more, on the other side of the lake.

First, we needed to get off Buckbarrow, which was easier said than done.  There is no path on the OS map, but Stuart Marshall says you just track over to the gill and follow it down.  He didn't mention that there are two gills, and we took the first one, which proved quite painful, since the path degenerated into a mixture of bracken and very sharp gorse.  On quite a slope, as you can see.  However, having ploughed across to the wood on the right, we found the other gill - and a nice, wide track through the gorse.
This end of Wasdale is a lovely mixture of farm-land and woods.

From where you can look up to the high fells beyond Wastwater.
Looking back at Buckbarrow and Middle Fell.

This is Lund Bridge, over the River Irt which flows out of Wastwater.
Soon after the bridge you start a serious climb up Greathall Gill, where most people pause quite frequently to gaze at this view.

Or this one, towards the sea.

 The paraglider accompanied us the whole time we were on this side of the lake.  Now, if I were a little younger, that would be something to learn...
The view from the top of Whin Rigg, one of the two fell-tops of the Screes.

The ridge along to Illgill Head
Not an edge to fall over...

Over the other side of the lake you can easily trace our route this morning, from Greendale, the white house below the fells, up Middle Fell to the right, then across to Seatallan, then down back to Buckbarrow.

Some innocent souls are known to have embarked upon the lakeside "walk" beneath the Screes.  This is not Buttermere, and the result is usually quite unpleasant, with scree and boulders all over the place.  Of course, you can extract yourself by just climbing up to the top ridge - here are some alternative routes...

Not far back from the edge is the summit of Illgill Head.
The view south-east, where you can see the tops of Harter Fell and Green Crag in front of the Coniston ridge.

On the way down from Illgill Head.  It's always nice to see your destination (in this case, Ritson's Bar in the Wasdale Head Inn, to be precise).
Although it's only 2000 feet high, Yewbarrow is really quite an impressive fell, isn't it?  Something we were to appreciate at first hand the next day...

From this angle Scafell looks rather bland...
Not like Yewbarrow!

Down in the valley, looking up at Illgill Head.
Why many people come to Wasdale Head: the route to the Scafell massif via Brown Tongue.

Tired?  Happy?  Probably...
Wastwater as the sun begins to fall.

The end.

And the beginning, for tomorrow, when we will be tackling the Mosedale Horseshoe.

If you would like to sponsor me and Sophie in our quest to walk all the Wainwrights for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, please click here - and thank you for your generosity!