This is the flank of Kirk Fell. Pillar is to the left, Great Gable to the right, Scafell Pike behind you to the right. Wasdale Head is a tremendous place. I’ve wandered here many times for photographs but it’s light, as here, which makes the best shot.

My favourite walk at Wasdale is Pillar. When I first did it many years ago, I used to descend the nasty scree slope at Dore Head to finish the day. I did that five or ten times, climbing it on one occasion which was even worse. If you wear heavy boots you can crash down very rapidly. The impact makes foot holds like it’s snow. The speed required for this is dangerous if it generates momentum, which becomes uncontrollable. You risk toppling forward, crashing and rolling onto steep sharp rocks. It’s initially fun – it’s a kind of running – but quickly becomes tiring and onerous. You can’t do it in sandals, which is now what I mostly wear.

There’s a fine camp site at Wasdale Head which I’ve been using for years. I’ve also camped at Black Sail Pass which leads up to Pillar, and down a gully below Whin Rigg, as part of a three day walk. The former was one of my best wild camps ever. It was a marvellous location and the conditions were idyllic. The latter was uncomfortable. The rocky ground sloped, there was neither sunlight nor view, and water was difficult to reach down the slope. There was no alternative. My lightweight tent wasn’t suitable for the exposed plateau.

Kirk Fell is one of the steepest slopes in the Lake District. Few people walk there. I’ve both climbed and descended it. The former is hard work, the latter is uncomfortable.


Wasdale Head

Monday June 29, 2015