Wastwater Screes Walking

The Wastwater Screes are justly admired as a spectacle from across the lake, but not so frequently climbed. True, the ridge that joins the two Wainwrights, Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, is a hands-in-pockets grassy romp rather than the pinnacled arete that might be imagined from below. But it’s an enjoyable romp, with impressive views to Yewbarrow and Gable, followed by the gloriously rough track that improbably picks its way back along the southern lakeshore. Finally, at the lake-foot, the classic prospect of the dalehead is revealed, with ample opportunities for photographic compositions.

Evening light streaming across the length of the Wastwater Screes  © Norman Hadley
Evening light streaming across the length of the Wastwater Screes
Fetching Map

Detailed description

NY1280603844 From the distinctive triangle of roads at Cinderdale Bridge (not to be confused with Cinderdale Common, which is near Crummock Water) cross the bridge south over the River Irt.

NY1283603714 Turn left on the track to Easthwaite Farm. Follow this, past the farm for about a kilometre and a half. If you reach the pumping station at the foot of the lake, you've overshot waymark (3) by a couple of minutes.
Wastwater lakefoot in bright weather  © Norman Hadley
Wastwater lakefoot in bright weather
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2022

NY1428803721 Turn right to pick up a track onto the open fell. The crags of Whin Rigg rise impressively on your left. Depending on the season, you may see or hear the resident peregrine falcons wheeling the updraughts. The track works its way up the side of the deeply-gashed Greathall Gill to a grassy plateau, with an easy walk to the summit of Whin Rigg.

NY1515303429 Follow the escarpment north-eastwards. The terrain is easy but the views are sensational. The drop on your left is as vertiginous as a peregrine's stoop.

NY1686804945 From the second summit, Illgill Head, descend broad grassy slopes towards Wasdale Head, picking up the beautiful slanting bridleway down from Burnmoor Tarn.
Wasdale Head from Illgill Head  © Norman Hadley
Wasdale Head from Illgill Head
© Norman Hadley, Aug 2018

NY1840407157 Turn sharply back on yourself to the left, picking up the shore path. This is a wild ride, with bracken and saplings eking out a precarious existence on chaotic jumbles of rocks.

NY1465403900 At the lakefoot, pass the pumping station with its stupendous views up the lake. The word iconic is overused but this prospect, the basis of the Lake District National Park logo, surely qualifies.
Wastwater Symmetry  © Norman Hadley
Wastwater Symmetry
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2022
Going straight ahead downriver, rejoin the Easthwaite Farm track back to the start.
Yewbarrow Reflected in Wastwater Lakefoot  © Norman Hadley
Yewbarrow Reflected in Wastwater Lakefoot
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2022

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Further Routes

by Norman Hadley

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