Wasdale Head - Easter 2018
Nether Wasdale
Tuesday 03 April

Outwards Wasdale Hall Church The Strand Side Track Return Evening Read Me

The Last Full Day in Wasdale Head

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).

Even low-level walks can inspire. This is the view on returning from Nether Wasdale to Wasdale Head. Some of us experienced this scene on Easter Monday, others on Tuesday when the afternoon sun had appeared and this picture was taken.

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.

Outward and Westward

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!

Clouds and mist hug the mountain tops. The road has become shiny.

Here's a packhorse bridge, looking more substantial than the one across the Mosedale Beck behind the Wasdale Head Inn. It has to be because it carries the only vehicular road out of Wasdale Head.

Yellow gorse, yellow gorse!
You're so pretty, of course, of course!
And in the Lakes you're out in force,
But your thorns ... show no remorse!

Looking back towards the east ...

... one can imagine that Odin or Thor are out there with their mythical companions.

Here is Wast Water ...

... looking quite sublime ...

... in this weather.

There's more of Wast Water ...

... and now the road starts to snake towards Wasdale Hall.

Wasdale Hall

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.

Wasdale Hall looks nice even in the pouring rain.

The crest above the entrance looks impressive.

This is Wasdale Hall today.


This is the scene in 1835
as depicted in the lounge of the Wasdale Head Inn.

Wasdale Hall and its grounds face on to Wast Water.

We came along the footpath from the road, and leave for Nether Wasdale on the driveway which takes us past the lodge and other former estate buildings, now occupied by the National Trust.

Church of Saint Michael & All Angels

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.

From the Hall, an avenue of trees flanked by two dry stone walls, ...

...takes us, via a "pack horse" bridge ...

... to "down-town" Nether Wasdale and its church.

What the church may lack in elegance outside ...

... it makes up for with an elegant interior ...

... as these two pictures show.

The Royal Coat of Arms at the end of the church is that of
George III (as in the "Madness of King George").

Here is a nice summary of the history of church and the locality.
In the presence of this ready-made summary there is no need for me to wax knowledgeable!

Houses Public and Private

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.

On the south side of the road is the "Strand Inn".

Opposite is the "Screes Inn" with nicer inn signs than those of the Strand".

The Screes Inn

A "fiery" inn sign graces the front of the "Screes Inn".

Here is the other inn sign again, now given the "GIMP" treatment.

I stop off at the Strand Inn for some refreshment. During my sojourn in the inn, the sun starts to make a welcome appearance from behind the clouds.

As I leave to return to Wasdale Head,
I notice this quaint and diminutive "doll's house" next to the Strand Inn.

Off the Beaten Track

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.

This looks like Middle Fell, the mountain before Yew Barrow.

On the way there is also an interesting rock formation.

Lakeside Return to Upper Wasdale

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.

Starting out from the western end of Wast Water,
the rain has gone and there is a nice interplay of clouds and reflections ...
... on the lake and in the "flood puddle".

As I make my way along the northern shore ...

... blue cloud comes to the fore.

Scree seems to be continuously rolling into Wast Water,
apparently making the level shore path on the south side rather challenging.
We were warned against attempting this path, which may look easy enough from a distance.

Here's another view past the screes and on to the western end of Wast Water.

As I proceed to Wasdale Head, there are ...

... more ...

... and more ...

... and more ...

... dramatic views.

"Tree-framed" Yewbarrow comes into view.

The views ...

... towards Scafell Pike and Lingmell ...

... just keep coming ...

... and coming ...

... and coming.

So this is Wasdale Head village green! This stone, erected in 2000, says so.
Another contribution to the Millennium celebrations!

This looks like Great Gable. The Wasdale Head Inn is near - just to the left.

Finally, the Wasdale Head Inn comes into view, with Kirk Fell behind.

Our Very Last Evening

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.