Wasdale Head - Easter 2018
Tuesday 03 April
|Outwards Wasdale Hall Church The Strand Side Track Return Evening Read Me|
T the self-catering accommodation at the Wasdale Head Inn had been booked until the night of April 3/4, so it made sense, having made the effort to come this far from the South East, to maximize, if possible, the experience of this attractive part of the Lakes. The weather was still cloudy with mist down to at least 500 m, but the rain was intermittent and the forecast pointed to sun after midday. This suggested a low-level walk to Nether Wasdale, five miles to the west and beyond the end of Wast Water. Some of us had done this yesterday but unfortunately had had pouring rain - nay, a deluge - for practically the whole of the day (it was Easter Bank Holiday Monday after all).
So I set out and hoped for the best. In the event, my risk taking was rewarded, and I was able to enjoy the scenery and learn a bit more about the history of this area. Indeed, I thought, "Why go home early just to join the post-Easter rush?!"
By the way, you'll find heights and distances for this walk in the "Walk Features" for 3rd April.
Yes, it's a wet and dank Tuesday. The clouds and mist hug the mountains down to 500 m. Let's see if the weather will turn? Anyway, even in this weather the mountains and Wast Water have a certain majesty which is to be savoured!
Wasdale Hall is on our walk to Nether Wasdale. Between 1829 and 1843 a Yorkshire wool merchant called Stansfeld Rawson built Wasdale Hall. This was typical of Victorian entrepreneurs who made good, such as William Armstrong who built Cragside in Northumberland and also Edwin Merral, a mill owner who had prospered by producing worsted, and built what is now the Haworth YHA which we visited on a previous CLOG trip - organised by Helen Rundall - to Haworth in Brontė Country. Successful Victorian entrepreneurs wished to be regarded as members of the landed gentry and demonstrated their success by building "country seats".
Wasdale Hall changed hands in 1864 and passed with 22 acres of its surrounding land to the National Trust (NT) in 1959. The YHA now lease the main building from the NT. It could be a nice stay for a future CLOG visit, being close to the mountains yet also closer than the Wasdale Head Inn to the railway. Also, there is probably better access to Eskdale than from Wasdale Head.
Nether Wasdale's church dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. From the outside, the building looks very simple, but within it has much of interest, including the Royal Coat of Arms of George III (as in the "Madness of King George"). The last picture in this section summarizes the history nicely.
Nether Wasdale's two pubs exude a Surrey feel. The pubs are no longer rivals; the "Strand Inn" bought out the "Screes Inn" with the last year, and together they offer hotel accommodation of about thirty beds. The "Strand Inn" is famed for its microbrewery at the back. I stop in the "Strand" for a jacket potato and taste one of the many local brews available. Then it's time to return to Wasdale Head.
For variation I tried some of the footpaths away from the road to Wasdale Head. The paths were muddy and swampy but provided me with a little bit of new scenery. Eventually, I came out on to the road above and behind Wasdale Hall.
On the return to Wasdale Head along the northern shore of Wast Water, the sun is out and I am able to get some nice pictures. Thank you, sun! The clouds start to lift but enough of them remain for me to get some cloudscapes.
There were five of us left, and we met up in Ritson's Bar for the very last meal of our away break. For us it's been an excellent Easter, full of challenges and new experiences. Well, that's what CLOG is all about! Tomorrow we make our respective journeys to the deep south, taking our memories and experiences with us.