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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Wasdale Screes

Wasdale Screes

A tale of two halves.

A walk in two parts, and may be a desire to go back to my ostrich technique, don’t read or listen to, tales of the route.

The hills,  Whin Rigg and Illgill head, after an initial pull upwards were rather benign.  Even the weather was a little uninspiring.  Not the fantasic blue of the day before and  not high enough to hit the snow, though the ground was solid under thin winter grass.


Despite low cloud, the air was clear and beyond the Lake District was not only the blot of Windscale , and the not too blotted wind farm, but the Isle of Man and North Wales across the Irish sea.


The uninspiring tops belie the drama  of ‘The Screes’ literally tumbling down into Wastwater.


Screes, the sight of  which, have become rather familiar  while walking the hills around Wastwater.   Until a few days ago, I was  unaware of the ‘path’ along the southern shore.  The scree falling so dramatically into the lake I presumed it was impossible to circumnavigate.


When it was suggested as a route , I did read the appropriate, newly  purchased Wainwright book,  (cheap skate version).  It did not endear me to the challenge.   Then, in the morning another kind friend put this link on my FB page!  I’m glad I did not have time to read it before I set off.


It was when I was right on the edge of one of the dramatic crags when my friend chose to tell me the story of the death of Veronique  Did I really want to know about someone falling off the scree and not being found despite days of searching, with their clothing and body only being discovered years later?


Wastwater was suitably dark and foreboding.  The colours in its depth reflecting a beauty worthy of Snow White.


No other walk has had a more challenging low return to the start.  This was not a time to switch off and enjoy the evening light.


I felt as though I was in a giant game of Jenga.  At any moment someone would pull a boulder from either above me or below me and the whole hillside would roll me down into the lake.  Another victim.  Or when my imagination was really let loose, I could hear the boulders crashing along side me in some kind of giant video game.  May be that is an idea?  A game for walkers?  Could it compete with Grand Theft Auto?  Who can Survive the Screes?


This is what happens when I can’t talk.  Concentrating too much on putting one foot in front on anther is distinctly bad for my imagination.


I must admit, I prefer vertical scrambles, although the work out was pretty good, there is not the same sense of achievement as gaining height.

The route


Map and book

The Map
The book
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  1. A great walk. I enjoyed the scree path but it was tricky in places. I did it as a lake circuit not including any fells.

    • Lovely place. Probably better not doing the scree path at the end of the day. Rather wish we had done it at the beginning.

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