Wast Water (Wastwater) is England’s deepest lake, it lies over fifty feet below sea level from its gorgeous mountain top shore in serene Wasdale. The lake was formed by a melted glacier and is to this day filled by ice cold glacier run-off. Precariously set between two mountain ranges in a sunken valley, to the south east are the Wastwater Screes, shortened by the locals to The Screes, and to the north west the cliffs of Buckbarrow and Yewbarrow.
The majestic lake is surrounded by luscious green grass and rolling hills. There is also a wide variety of beautiful yew trees which produced a rich red seed casing in spring through early summer (Do not consume the seeds as they are highly toxic!). The flora is absolutely breathtaking against the stately fells and cliffs containing the still blue waters.
Looking to the head of Wast Water some of Britain’s tallest mountains Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Lingmell catch the eye of climbers and non-climbers alike. The rocky peaks give contrast to the fresh green hills and pose new challenges for the adventurer in all of us. Back to the south east Pillar Rock, Whin Rigg and Illgill Head (The Screes) set the horizon as the sun creeps over their jagged peaks in the calm of morning.
A daunting yet rewarding dirt walk / running trail follows the shore of the lake through The Screes and up and over many of the smaller peaks. Although long, the spectacular views from The Screes and the northern edge of the lake are incredible. The entire lake, mountain range, and trail are meticulously cared for, and rightly part of the Lake District National Park and are owned by the National Trust. Also on the well manicured park ground’s is England’s smallest church, Saint Olaf’s Church, made of mortared concrete with a moss covered wood roof.
To appreciate the full beauty of this natural wonder one should stay the night in one of the quaint Lake District hotels which are scattered on and around Wast Water. Both the sunrise and the sunset are unforgettable at Wast Water, as the sun’s rays shimmer across the crystal blue glacier water. Wast Water is perfect for those who want to explore nature and those who want to observe its beauty.
Eoin has written for many publications in his native south Wales and further afield. He currently lives in London's trendy Docklands with his partner. Both are regular faces in West End theatre audiences.