Illgill Head, Whin Rigg and the Wasdale Screes.

Start. Wasdale Head.

Route. Wasdale Head - Down in the Dale - Brackenclose - Hollow Gill - Streighthead Gill - Illgill Head - Whin Rigg - Greathall Gill - The Screes - Wasdale Head Hall Farm - Brackenclose - Down in the Dale - Wasdale Head.

Notes. View Illgill Head and Whin Rigg from the south, grassy slopes kiss the mosses of Burnmoor, no indication is given of the drama just over the horizon, the primeval world above Wasdale, where cliff and scree plunging to the icy waters of Wast Water, a world of shattered rock not for the faint hearted. This walk crosses the grassy ridge between the two summits, keeping as near the vertigo creator as is safe, the icing on the cake a traverse of The Screes, a chance to view this primeval world from close up. A word of warning, since I last traversed The Screes a rather large land slip has occurred, a 400 yard section of the path swept away, vanished under masses of football sized scree, sizeable pieces of rock, half the size of the average family car teeter ready to crush the unwary walker. If you walk this path take care I'd hate to loose any readers.

Early morning at Wasdale Head, the village green was already littered with parked cars, I abandoned mine before heading back down the road. A finger-post on the left encouraged me to head for Boot. With a good path under foot I crossed the valley, passing the National Trust Camp Site and Brackenclose before stepping onto the old corpse route. With Fence Wood to my right and the lower slopes of Sca Fell my left I ascended the hill, a quaint foot-bridge aided my crossing of Hollow Gill before reaching a number of ruined peat huts. Shortly after leaving the peat huts I stepped off the old corpse route to join a foot-path heading up the steep grassy slopes of Illgill Head. With this green trod under foot and a dry stone wall to guide me I climbed the hill, the path abandoned the wall to cross the head of Straighthead Gill before continuing to the summit.

The next half mile was a sheer delight to walk, dizzy views between teeth of rock accompanied my every step, stopping at regular intervals to peer into a primeval world. All too soon I was on the summit of Whin Rigg starting my descent, first to the deep cut ravine of Greathall Gill before turning north to plunge through bracken to reach the valley floor. Safely on level ground, with a stoney lane under foot I wandered to the outflow of Wast Water, a pump house marked the start of the scree path. Easy at first traversing a number of scree runs before reaching the big one, pre-warned by other walkers, some had crossed others had retreated, all had tales to tell. I begun my crossing, using hands and feet most of the way I safely reached the other side, just a number of cuts and bruises for my efforts. The rest of the route was easy walking, after passing Wasdale Head Hall Farm I reached the camp site passed earlier, all that remained, to re-trace my steps, passed the parked car directly to the Ritsons Bar at the Wasdale Head Inn.

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Great Gable rising above Wasdale Head.

Illgill Head with the vertigo creator in shade.

Pillar seen from my crossing of Down in the Dale.

The boulder strewn bed of Lingmell Beck with views to Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

Looking to the Hollow Stones ascent route of Scafell Pike, with the steep slopes of Lingmell to the left and the cliffs of Scafell Pike dominating the head of the valley.

Wast Water seen over Wasdale Head Hall Farm.

I've gained a little height, much of the valley head is still in shadow but Yewbarrow across the valley now stands proud in full sunlight.

Kirk Fell as seen from the peat huts passed en route.

From the slopes of Illgill Head a wonderful view over Wasdale Head, dominating the scene, from this angle Kirk Fell.

Top right Sca Fell with Lingmell and Great Gable to the left.

Just to keep me on track a small cairn marks the line of the path, a small cairn with a breath-taking view.

Looking to the summit cairn on Illgill Head, it's a way off yet but the views are sensational.

Yewbarrow backed by Pillar and Red Pike.

A well earned summit with a fabulous view, Illgill Head.

Above The Screes drinking in the views over Wast Water, Nether Wasdale and the Cumbria coastal plane.

Along the vertigo creator.

Viewing Whin Rigg with the Irish Sea melting into a hazy horizon.

An unnamed tarn with a stunning reflection and if you care to look, views to Harter Fell and Green Crag with the Coniston fells across the horizon.

Awe-inspiring views over Greenhall Gill, taking in Muncaster Fell and the Ravenglass Estuary.

Wast Water and the infant River Irt, with Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell and Great Gable in the distance, closer to home and next on the list The Screes.

Anyone for a swim, it may well happen, loose and dangerous and all heading down hill.

On safer ground looking to Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

Buckbarrow across Wast Water.

A fine looking hill, Yewbarrow.

Near Wasdale Head looking to Pillar through Mosedale with the lower slopes of Yewbarrow to the left.

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