Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Wastwater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Wastwater

    Wast Water or Wastwater is a lake in the Lake District National Park, England. The lake is approximately 4.6 kilometres (almost 3 miles) long and 600 metres (nearly 0.5 miles) wide, and is located in the Wasdale valley. It is the deepest lake in England, at 79 metres (258 feet), and is owned by the National Trust.

    It is one of the finest examples of a glacially 'over-deepened' valley. The surface of the lake is about 200 feet above sea level, while its bottom is over 50 feet below sea level.

    The name of the lake and its valley is pronounced as in was, not with a hard a. The lake is named "Wast Water" on Ordnance Survey maps, but the spelling "Wastwater" is used with roughly equal frequency, including by its owner, the National Trust, along with the Cumbria Tourist Board, and the Lake District National Park Authority.

    The steep slopes on the south-eastern side of the lake, leading up to the summits of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, are known as the "Wastwater Screes" or on some maps as "The Screes". These screes formed as a result of ice and weathering erosion on the rocks of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, that form the fells to the East of the lake, towards Eskdale. They are approximately 2,000 feet, from top to base, the base being about 200 feet below the surface of the lake.

    The head of the Wasdale valley is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in England, including Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Lingmell.
    Wast Water is the source of the River Irt which flows into the Irish Sea near Ravenglass.

    A popular path runs the length of the lake, through the boulders and scree fall at the base of this craggy fell-side. On the north-western side are the cliffs of Buckbarrow (a part of Seatallan) and the upturned-boat shape of Yewbarrow.

    Water from the lake is pumped to the nearby Sellafield nuclear waste processing facility as a fresh water supply

    Underwater gnomes
    According to an article dated 14 February 2005 on the BBC News website, Underwater gnome threat 'returns', a "gnome garden" complete with picket fence was removed from the bottom of Wastwater after several divers died a few years ago. It is thought the divers spent too much time too deep searching for the ornaments. Police divers report there is a rumour that the garden has returned at a depth beyond which they are allowed. PC Kenny McMahon, a member of the North West Police Underwater Search Unit, said "Wastwater is quite clear at the bottom, but there's nothing to see. At a depth of about 48m, divers had taken gnomes down and put a picket fence around them. But several years ago there were a number of fatalities and the Lake District National Park Authority asked us to get rid of them. We went down there, put them in bags and removed the lot. But now there's a rumour about a new garden beyond the 50m depth limit. As police divers we can't legally dive any deeper so, if it exists, the new garden could have been purposefully put out of our reach."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    1hr 45mins from my work in Glasgow!!!!


    This is the best lake in the district. Small, but very atmospheric.

    There is an access agreement for this lake and it means that the lake usage is limited to 15 non-powered craft at any time.

    Also the access agreement asks for you to phone the NT head warden for Wasdale before going on the water, but this is really only a courtesy.

    This is very unlikely to be a problem. There is rarely anyone on the water, or just a couple of canoes or odd windsurfer.

    Access is all only the western shore where the road runs, lots of tiny car parks that are mainly on the level with the lake shore, but they do require a bit of portaging of approx. 50 meters at worst (although very boggy in places).

    Takes a while to drive to this lake form most places due to very remote location, again busy though with walkers due to access to Scafell, Scafell Pike and Great Gable so car parking can be limited - would suggest arriving early is best.

    My video blog - the first shots are of Wast Water:

    Lakeland Pete

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    PaddleGuide's Wastwater page is HERE
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Todmorden, Lancashire UK.


    This is one of my favourite places in the whole world... myself and the family have spent a lot of time walking the hills here and just taking in the peace around this lake. It is one of the reasons I want to paddle. It is such a peaceful place (if you go outside of the 3 peak season )
    born to paddle ... round and round in circles ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Rossendale, Lancs

    Default Useful Access Summary

    A useful summary of access, parking, etc can be found at:

    One year olds want four meals a day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Paper...
    Two year olds want whatever is most dangerous to get to... (Then to throw it on the floor.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Thumbs up wastwater

    been paddling on Wastwater over the weekend what a great water we were the only canoe on the water apart from a couple of dive marshalls in inflatables, what an atmospheric place the water is so clear and drops of to an inky blackness, we stayed at the national trust campsite at Wasdale Head, full of walkers but a nice atmosphere, feels like you are really out in the wilderness.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mid Wales

    Thumbs up Memories of a great weekend

    I spent a great weekend with my grown up children 21 and 25,
    We camped at the site at the head of the lake ,
    (wee bit expensive at 48 for two nights I thought !)
    We climbed to the peak of Scafell pike on the first day and paddled all around the lake the day after ,
    Brilliant weather both days ( we just got lucky)
    We too had the lake to ourselves It was a magical day !
    thanks for sharing and bringing back the memories

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    In the Garden


    Brilliant stuff, Pete - thouroughly enjoyed the video. I've always wanted to paddle Wastwater and may well get the chance this weekend. Very atmospheric.

    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

  9. #9


    Is there any fees to go on this lake?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Co Durham


    Quote Originally Posted by Markwa View Post
    Is there any fees to go on this lake?
    We were there in February camped at the NT site at Wasdale, and there were no fees other than the campsite charges and we stayed in a 'pod'
    for one night.

    Stay safe, enjoy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South Lakes


    Quote Originally Posted by Markwa View Post
    Is there any fees to go on this lake?
    No. But there is a restriction of no more than 16x craft on the water at any one time. Though I've never seen more that one other hull on the water.

    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default We love Wastwater too

    My lads and I went over to Wasdale earlier in the year and we also took a Pod on the NT site for two nights. Like staying in a Hobbit shed but we loved it and would certainly stay in one again. Expensive but worth the treat of not struggling with a tent for once. We had the water to ourselves on the Saturday with all the tops draped in cloud but a stiff breeze blowing. picnic and a wee fire on the narrow shingle strip at the west end then the awesome experience of paddling under the famous screes. The scale of the screes tumbling hundreds of feet straight into the water can only be understood close up - scary! With the wind in at our backs the lads tried a large umbrella as a sail with reasonable results. Once back at the Pod and with the sun now out we had a bit of a breather then climbed into the clouds on Great Gable. A hairy decent on a scree run left just enough energy to make it to the pub for the best pint in the world (seemed like it at the time anyway). A fantastic weekend.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts