23rd September 2008

There are just so many things to see if you wander about - Scafell and Slight Side


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 15.30
Duration 5 hr 30 min
Distance 7.6 mile
Ascent 3300 ft
Walking with On my own
Wasdale Road - Brackenclose - Green How - Sca Fell - Slight Side - Broad Tongue - Hardrigg Gill - Bulatt Bridge - Burnmoor Tarn - Maiden Castle Cairn - Corpse Road into Wasdale - Bracken Close - Wasdale Road
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, near Brackenclose camp site, Wasdale

Unless I intended to begin a walk from Wasdale Head itself, then this would be my first choice for parking at this end of the valley. It isn't that large of a parking area, but I always seem to have been lucky and managed to get a space here. Failing that the car park next to the camp site is only a stones throw away.


Route Map

Kirk Fell and Great Gable, both looking their best as I made my way from the Wasdale road to Brackenclose.

A close up of Wasdale Head.


What a gorgeous morning.

Last night on the local news they seemed quite keen to tell everyone that it was 'officially' the first day of Autumn. I'm not sure what happened to Summer this year, but according to them is was now over anyway. As I looked down to Wast Water and across to Buckbarrow, Middle Fell and Seat Allen from the steep grassy fellside above Wasdale, it was actually more like Summer today than it was in June, July or August.

Much higher up Scafell and looking further to the left you see Burnmoor Tarn and the Illgill Head / Whin Rigg ridge, and of course the Irish Sea.

And as a close up, you get a better view of the tarn and the Eskdale Moor end of Miterdale.

Looking across the rocky area around Scafell towards Great Gable, Symonds Knott and Scafell Pike.

Standing at the side of Symonds Knott for a view past Scafell Pinnacle, over Kirk Fell, Great Gable and towards the north western fells.


Scafell summit.

A close up of Foxes Tarn, taken from one of the rocky outcrops just below Scafell summit.

Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

Looking back up to Scafell.

And again, from Slight Side.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell, also seen from Slight Side.

And a third picture from Slight Side. This one looking towards Buckbarrow, Middle Fell, Seat Allan and Haycock.

I hadn't put any thought into which way to go after leaving Slight Side at all. I'd intentionally left it until I got here, so I could decide on something at the time. As it had been ages since I'd been to 'this side' of Burnmoor Tarn I opted to walk straight down to Broad Tongue, have a look at the waterfalls on Hardrigg Gill and then head across to Bulatt Bridge (next to the tarn).


Airplane wreckage found near to the rocky area around Slight Side's summit. The plaque in the previous picture is found at the bottom of the cross.

The waterfalls in Hardrigg Gill were very nice to look at, but the gill wasn't the easiest place to cross. Even at most of the narrower sections the stones were just a bit too slippery for me to 'give it a go'.


What a fantastic place, standing next to Burnmoor Tarn and Bulatt Bridge.

And on the opposite side of the bridge with a view across the old corpse route which runs between Wasdale Head and Boot in Eskdale. On a perfectly clear day such as this, with warm sunshine and only the slightest of breezes, this is undoubtedly a pleasant and most welcoming of areas to walk through. I have however been along here on my own on a winters day when the mist was down, and with no breeze at all, the total silence merely served to feed the imagination. I can tell you now, in those conditions this is possibly the most eerie place I've ever been to.

Scafell and Slight Side seen from somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
As much as I enjoyed being up on the lofty heights of Scafell and Slight Side, this was actually the section of the walk I got the most satisfaction from.

A short detour from the main path took me to Maiden Castle Cairn; seen here providing a nice foreground for a picture of Haycock, Yewbarrow and Pillar.


Heading down the final section of the old corpse road now, and although the walk was nearing its end there were still a few more items of interest to see.
The fells in the picture are Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Lingmell.

Looking in almost the same direction as the previous picture. This time the photo was taken from one of the collection of about half a dozen ruins found next to the path.

A little further down from the ruins at the point where Hollow Gill and Groove Gill meet you walk across this lovely old bridge. It's only a bridge, you may say, but, , , ,

, , , when you see it from above, it turns out to be two 'very' small bridges joined together to cross both gills at the same time. The effort that must have went into this is amazing. I'm sure if a new bridge was needed here today, they'd just stick half a dozen old railway sleepers across both gills and attach a wooden railing on each side to stop us falling into the water.

I seem to have done an awful lot of down hill walking today, but I was now on the final level section and heading back to Brackenclose.

Today's walk was possibly the most enjoyable I've done all Summer (or is it Autumn). Whatever the season I had perfect conditions, I only saw four other people and because I had no real plan in mind, I could wander around an area where there is just so much to see.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks