Thursday, 23 July 2009

A Cool Windy Wasdale Afternoon

In contrast to the previous weekend last Saturday was a cool afternoon with a low cloud base and a cool wind above about 2000 feet. Also in contrast to the previous weekend we weren’t there just to be spectators. Despite the lousy forecast the sun surprised us on Saturday morning, appearing intermittently as clouds blew by. We saw very little of it later but nevertheless decided to visit all the main tops south of Wasdale between Whin Rigg and Scafell Pike. Initially we planned to go to Mitredale from Brackenclose and from there to Whin Rigg but fearful the weather might close in and rob us of views from the tops we followed the Wasdale race route to Whin Rigg – at a pace more comfortable than we could have got away with the week before. The cloud base dropped a little lower and we were in clag before reaching the top of Illgill Head. Still in clag when we returned from Whin Rigg we dropped down towards Burnmoor Tarn to have a look for a route to somewhere between Great Howe and Slight Side.

Wasdale Head from Whin Rigg

A pair of becks drain the Sca Fell ridge and one offers an easy way on to the ridge, at least that is how it looked on the map and from afar on Whin Rigg. Running down and across on good trods we chose to edge round the worst of the bogs rather than going as far as Bulatt Bridge to cross the river. Nearing the becks we began to realise how spectacular their waterfalls actually are. Plunging over granite outcrops they have worn and polished the rock over thousands of years to produce a small wonderland of pink rock and foaming water.

Long Gill

 Long Gill Long Gill

Long Gill plunges down a number of small falls and rushes across a polished granite floor so smooth it couldn’t be crossed.






Just beyond, Oliver Gill pours precipitately down fewer but higher falls, again over pink granite, equally smooth and polished.

Oliver Gill

Oliver Gill 

This was an unexpected pleasure, one we lingered over and shared only with ourselves, far from the incessant streams of “Three Peakers” making their way to or from Scafell Pike.

By Slight Side we were in the clag again, dropping out briefly at Mickledore just long enough to watch a fairly weary Bob Graham aspirant scramble up Broad Stand. Over Scafell Pike and down to Lingmell where it was quiet enough to linger just below the cloud base.

North over Styhead Tarn

Lingmell provides wonderful views to the northern and north western fells (another one we must come back to on a clear winter day). The clouds just kept blowing in and out, alternatively revealing Blencartha on the far skyline and concealing Styhead Tarn not far below us. Turning into the wind we  headed for the nose and the final run down to Brackenclose.

Wasdale Head panorama

Google Earth Route: Wasdale 18-07-2009.kml

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