Where is this walk?

Wastwater Screes

May 23, 2018

The views when you walk on the ridge above the Wastwater Screes are some of the best in the lakes. Two Wainwrights sit astride the wide ridge. However beware of the rolling scree if you take the lakeside return path.

The Walk

The Wastwater Screes are unique and the walk also. Even though the walk is enjoyable it is the situation that is formidable. The view up Wastwater from the foot of the lake is often quoted as the most beautiful in England. As attractive as Great Gable and Yewbarrow look in the distance it is the forbidding depth of Wastwater itself (at 260 foot, the deepest Lakeland lake) and the dramatic scree and boulders which tumble directly in to the lake which give this area its truly dramatic outlook.

However this does not disguise the fact that walking along the southern shore of Wastwater is deeply unpleasant. The path is surely the most difficult in the Lake District. The ankle breaking possibility is real as this is not so much traditional scree walking as loose boulder hopping. The high ridge though is lovely and in complete contrast to the Screes. The inspiring views in to the head of Wasdale are impressive and there are two satisfying Wainwrights to collect. However for those who fancy the fully described walk there will be a story to tell.


There are three options if you do not fancy boulder hopping along the shores of Wastwater. Retrace your steps over the ridge, take the road on the northern shore or simply persuade someone to pick you up at the far end!

Navigation Tips on the Wastwater Screes

At the east end of the ridge I suggest cutting downhill towards the lake at a prominent cairn nearly 1 mile from the summit of Illgill Head. Keep east for a little while to avoid steep ground. Finally turn north to meet a wall leading to the lake shore path.

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