15th September 2011

Scafell to Whin Rigg and Wast Water


Walk Overview
Time 08.30 to 15.55
Duration 7 hr 25 min
Distance 14.4 mile
Ascent 5000 ft
Walking with On my own
Brackenclose - Hollow Gill - Hard Rigg - Scafell - Long Green - Slight Side - Long Gill - Hard Rigg Gill - Maiden Castle Cairn - Illgill Head - Whin Rigg Tarn - Whin Rigg - side of Great Hall Gill - Lund Bridge - Low Wood - Wasdale Hall - road back to Brackenclose
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

I almost fainted when I saw the weather forecast was for blue sky and sunshine today. We haven't seen much of that lately have we. As seen as though I hadn't been on Scafell since 2009 I thought it was about time I came back and this turned out to be the perfect day for it. So good in fact that I extended the walk to about double it's original length.


A view up the side of Illgill Head.
I didn't know it when I took this picture, but I'll be walking up there later.

Yewbarrow, seen on the opposite side of Wast Water.

Whenever I come here I can never decide at what point I want to leave the 'Corpse Road' path and start heading up towards Scafell itself. None of the paths or off path routes I've ever taken turn out to be easier or harder than any of the others, so I generally end up using the pot luck approach. Today however, I thought I'd be a bit more structured and I decided that I'd walk for exactly half an hour and then leave the path.

Illgill Head again.


Looking into Mosedale.

Wast Water, taken from the top of the steepest section of the route (just below Scafell summit).
The fells in the picture are Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Buckbarrow, Seatallan, Middle Fell and Yewbarrow.

The crowds are already starting to build on Scafell Pike.

As far as winning and loosing goes, I definitely think Scafell won when it came in at a slightly lower height than Scafell Pike. Scafell is a wonderfully quiet place where you rarely see more than a couple of other people. During your time at the summit you can sit and look at its overcrowded neighbour and be thankful you're here and not there.

Scafell summit. Behind, you can see Symonds Knott, the Skiddaw fells and Blencathra. On the right of the picture is Scafell Pike.

A close up of Great Gable.

Burnmoor Tarn, Miterdale, Muncaster Fell and the sea. Notice Burnmoor Lodge on the left of the tarn.

The two Scafells, seen from Long Green.

Upper Eskdale; one of the more squelchy places in the Lake District.

Slight Side summit.

and the other pointy bit, found no more than a stones throw away. Not that I'm suggesting you should throw stones while you're up here.

Given that this was forecast to be the only decent day for the foreseeable future, I figured it was far too early to head back. So, after thinking of a few possibilities for extending the route I finally settled on a walk over Illgill Head and Whin Rigg. What I would have liked was a dry (ish) route across to the side of the fell. Familiarity with the place told me that was asking too much, and by the time I reached the bracken on the side of Illgill Head I was caked with mud up to my knees.


This is the lovely and secluded Long Gill.

Looking back up Long Gill to Scafell and Slight Side.
It doesn't look very wide, but getting across was easier said then done.

Just to the left of centre is Maiden Castle Cairn which seemed like a good point to head for and easily achieved in a straight line.

And here it is.

Suddenly my legs feel like they have weights tied to them. Needless to say this section was walked at a plod instead of my normal walking speed. That's what you get for walking for so long off path through grassy tussocks.

A view back to Scafell and Slight Side.

People on Illgill Head. It was only a matter of time until I started meeting other folk.

A rather blue looking Wast Water taken from above The Screes.
Would I have stood here a few days ago while the hurricane winds were passing over, , , , not for a gold clock.


Looking back to Illgill Head.
There seemed to be a build up of cloud now and I began to think the day was changing. It actually got much warmer as I lost height and even though the sun was a bit 'washed out' it did little to lessen the enjoyment.

A close up of Wasdale Hall.
Later on I'd be walking along the path next to the lake.

The path to or in my case, from Whin Rigg.

Time to be heading down.

Wast Water and its western fells.

In the woods next to the River Irt.

Lund Bridge.

Peace and quiet.

Wast Water's familiar skyline.
I still need to walk past the far end of the lake.

I suppose if this is your hobby it doesn't matter if it's raining, although I'm sure it might be a little bit more enjoyable on a day like today.


The Screes.

It was red hot as I headed along the side of Wast Water back to the car.


Yewbarrow and Great Gable.

Nether Beck.

Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell taken as I neared the end of what had been a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks