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Wasdale in England's Lake District
Wasdale in England's Lake District
A visit to Wasdale in England's beautiful Lake District National Park is time well spent whether you're in search of tranquility and natural beauty or looking for more energetic pursuits. The Lake District is situated in the north-western English county of Cumbria, and Wasdale is one of many picturesque areas of the Lake District. It offers spectacular views, great facilities and amenities and countless opportunities for a wide variety of activities, such as: camping, canoeing, hill-walking, nature trails and much more.
Things to do and see in Wasdale
Wasdale is a valley in the west of the Lake District. It's home to England's deepest lake, Wastwater, which is 258 feet deep at its deepest point, as well as to England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet.
Wasdale and surrounding area is famous for rock climbing and hill-walking or 'fell-walking' (fell being the local term originating from old Norse). The small community of Wasdale Head at the northern end of the lake can supply provisions and accommodation. Views from the summit of Scafell Pike extend west across the Irish Sea to the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland; south to Snowdonia in Wales, and north to the Scottish Southern Uplands.
Although Scafell Pike and neighbouring mountains aren't difficult hikes (assuming you take the recommended routes) proper hiking gear is essential given the variable weather conditions, especially in winter. Rock climbing, of course, requires proper climbing gear as well as climbing skills. Don't give the mountain rescue teams more work to do than necessary.
Accommodation in the area is well served by Wasdale Head Inn at the north end of the lake. Apart from standard hotel rooms, they also offer self catering apartments with all mod-cons. Online booking and pricing details are available via their website: wasdale.com.
There is also a camp site opposite the inn. Currently the charge is £5.00 per person per night. This site is now run and administered by the Wasdale Head Inn.
Bed and Breakfast (B&B) accommodation is available at the nearby Lingmell House for £35.00 per person per night
Getting to Wasdale
The Lake District lies to the west of Britain's longest motorway, the M6, which runs from the Midlands of England to the Scottish borders, so whether you're arriving from Scotland or further south in England, it's easy to get to the Lake District if driving as the area is well sign-posted.
However, if driving to Wasdale, one access route, the Hardknott mountain pass, isn't for the faint-hearted or inexperienced driver. The road is extremely steep in places (1 in 3) and is usually closed in winter as it becomes far too dangerous to attempt. It's also unsuitable for large vehicles at any time of year.
The pass runs between Eskdale and Cockley Bridge (Duddon Valley), so use your map to find alternative driving routes if you're not confident to attempt the Hardknott Pass, such as via Gosport. However, if you're a fairly experienced driver with a car that's not going to break down halfway up the mountain then it's an enjoyable and quite a thrilling experience, even if you rarely get to go faster than 10 MPH. There are plenty of stopping places and even the ruins of an ancient Roman fort that you can explore. As it's mostly single track all the way, descending traffic gives way to ascending traffic via the many passing places.
The nearest mainline railway station to Wasdale is the coastal town of Seascale, from where taxi or minibus transport to Wasdale can be arranged.
The driest month of the year in Wasdale is usually April with 5.4 cm of rainfall while October is the wettest month with 11 cm.
The warmest month is July with average temperatures ranging from 12 - 19 degrees celsius (C). August's temperatures are equally warm but can drop to cooler minimum levels than July's. The warmest temperature on record for Wasdale is 30C, recorded in August 1990.
The coldest month is January with temperatures ranging from 2C to 6C. The lowest recorded temperature is -14C (January, 1982)
Snowfall occurs in Wasdale from December to April with January and February being the months that receive the most snow by far. Wasdale isn't a developed snow sports or ski resort so there isn't so much going on in the 'snowiest' months given the low temperatures and treacherous conditions that develop on the higher fells and passes.
A 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI) in Wasdale is the Wastwater Screes (See photo above). An area of scree formation: loose rock chips weathered by erosion extending back over 50,000 years to the last Ice Age. The scree covers the northwest facing hills on the shore of Wastwater. It reaches a height of over 400 feet and descends to below the surface of the lake.
The Wasdale area in general is underlain by igneous volcanic rock. In fact, the scientific classification of this type of igneous rock is named after nearby Borrowdale. The age of the volcanic activity responsible for the formation of this part of the Lake District is estimated to be around 450 million years.