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Park at the Lay-by pictured in the map and then using the path to the immediate left of the parking spot ascend Whin Rigg. From there we are going to make our way across the fell toward Wasdale onto the summit of Illgill Head the highest point of the walk. Our descent will bring us past Burnmoor Tarn and Burnmoor lodge, carrying on down the valley along the River Mite until we meet the road Bowerhouse Bank. The Bower House Inn awaits us as we trudge the tarmac back to the lay-by a mile or two up the Bowerhouse Bank.
SUCCESS RATE -
100% The weather was excellent which always makes for an easier and more enjoyable experience. Two out of two Wainwrights walked- nice!
Whin Rigg & Illgill Head.
Second Lake District outing, and awesome weather again! We couldn't believe our luck, it has to be said. The walk up onto Whin Rigg is very simple to follow on a day such as this, the path is quite well worn. It's all grassland with small rocky outcrops here and there. Once you are level with the trees that you can see in the distance on the picture above, the views start to get amazing. The coast is behind you and you start to get a glimpse of the larger Wainwrights surrounding Wasdale Head.
The first thing I noticed about this Wainwright is that it isn't very busy. The whole time we were on the two Wainwrights we only saw two other hikers, an elderly couple who seemed very Lake District- seasoned. To my surprise they began showing me the latest App's on their i-phone that they had bought specifically for hiking and the Lake District. Then they started making phone calls to declare to people where they had made the call from. How times have changed!
Other than that, Whin Rigg is probably a peak I would visit again- it's not far from the car and well worth it for the view which includes the coast and mountains. Winner.
If you peek over the "edge", you can see Wast Water when you're stood on the summit of Whin Rigg.
Illgill Head awaits us next, along the ridge towards Wasdale. The views of Wast Water as you make your way are excellent! Scafell looms ahead of you. All the peaks ahead as you walk this route look very spectacular if you are lucky enough to get a good clear day that is! It doesn't take long to get to Illgill Head from Whin Rigg. Obviously this depends on your fitness and weather conditions, but I'd say approximately an hour. You pass a muddy bog and a very small tarn as you make your way. The muddy bog looks like one that you wouldn't want to find yourself in. I didn't get a picture for some reason?
As you drop into the valley towards Scafell, Burnmoor Tarn can be seen on the right and you can also see Burnmoor Lodge. Burnmoor Lodge must be paid a visit, especially if you haven't been there before.It's a bit random to say the least. Our route takes us there anyway- towards Eskdale Green, so it'd be rude not to!
We definitely started to see more people around this area. It's not too far to walk from Wasdale, and there are quite a few popular mountains in the immediate vicinity. It wasn't heaving, though, it was probably more noticeable as we had only seen two people up until then. When doing a little research on the lodge I discovered that it's privately owned and that the owner does let it out from time to time, but "can't leave it an open house, as it would get trashed!" He's probably right.
As you drop into the valley behind the lodge you are greeted by the waterfall pictured above, you can't see it until you enter the valley and it was an excellent surprise.
As we walked into the valley there was a young couple heading in a similar direction. The guy had set up his tripod pointing over the edge of the cliff and then proceeded to try to run into the shot (which was the edge of the cliff) before his self-timer reached zero. He tried it at least four times whilst his partner stood by the side fumbling with a map. The mind boggles, I couldn't help watch, I had mountain rescue number ready to dial.
Eskdale Valley and the River Mite are a sheltered calming place (weather forgiving!), and the walk back to the road Bowerhouse Bank was a good end to an excellent hike. I've not seen much of the Wast Water vicinity before, and it's lack of heaving public surprised me. But remember, Scafell is on the other side of the valley, and I have no doubt it's a different story over that way.
When you are nearing the bottom of the valley you get two opportunities to skip onto a road that parallels the path leading to Bowerhouse Bank (on the opposite side of the River Mite). We took the first one, just because we fancied it. This road that leads to Bowerhouse bank is a dead end and has the car park pictured below at its end. (Looks like a good campervan spot to me). We wanted to make sure we hit Bowerhouse Bank before the Bowerhouse Inn so that we didn't have to back-track to get to it. ;) The track by the woods on the opposite side of the river misses it out.
The perfect end, to a perfect day.