24th – 26th July 2016
Some of my earliest outdoor memories are of Wasdale Head and the surrounding mountains. Me and my Dad used to take annual trips, for 2-3 days, hiking and camping in the Lake District, and I think this helped to spark my passion for the outdoors from a young age. The mountains around Wasdale Head were our main playground, featuring some of the higher peaks and more spectacular views in the Lake District.
Prior to my road trip around Scotland, me and my Dad spent a couple of days walking from Wasdale Head up and over Great Gable to Warnscale Head Bothy, where we spent the night, before returning via Black Sail Pass.
Arriving late on the Saturday evening we found Wasdale Head heaving with people; a fell running event combined with a wedding at the inn meant that both campsites were overflowing, with many people pitching tents in the large car park. After relaxing after the days drive in the pub, we drove back down to the shore of Wast Water and slept in the car. I enjoy the unpredictability of adventure, and having to adapt and react to changing circumstances, which is why I don’t reserve a pitch at campsites, or get frustrated when they are full. Everything is part of the experience, even if it means a slightly uncomfortable night in the back of the car.
The weather rolled in as we climbed Great Gable and we were soon engulfed in cloud, which hung around for the majority of the day. With visibility reduced to a dozen feet it’s easy to forget where you are, and after four hours the clouds lifted revealing inspiring views down into Borrowdale. It’s magic moments like this why I love the outdoors; having been blind for hours and then having the whole world revealed stuns and amazes. It was one of those moments when you have to stop and just appreciate the views.
We arrived at the bothy wet through, and welcomed the dry warmth of the old slate mining hut. Of the bothies I’ve visited, this provided some of the best views. It’s positioned high on the hills, overlooking Buttermere and Crummock Water, almost hidden in the landscape against the slate that covers the slope.
We returned to Wasdale via Black Sail Pass, stopping in briefly at Black Sail Youth Hostel, before making our way back via the lower mountain passes to the car. At this point my Dad dropped me at a nearby campsite, where I was to spend the night, before meeting up with my friend the following afternoon to prepare for our Scotland trip. I spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun, resting my aching legs, and drying out my wet kit in the heat.
The following morning was bright and dry, and I took a short walk down to the edge of Wast Water and looped around its edge. In contrast to opposite end of the lake, it was amazingly quiet, and I had the landscape to myself. I spent the first half of the walk listening to music, but the tranquility of the wooded shores made me stop and just listen. Wasdale Head was bustling and busy with climbers and campers taking on the hills, a high contrast to the peace I found around the foot of the lake