Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

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An Anniversary Waltz

Date : Monday 11th April 2005. 1.30pm start.

Occasion : A walk with Ann and the dogs to Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, returning via Burnmoor Tarn.

Walk details : A longer walk than usual to the Wasdale Screes, starting from the other side at Boot in Eskdale. 7.35 miles, 2500 feet of ascent.

Weather : Sunny to start but slightly overcast with a light south westerly breeze. Strong winds and brief hill fog on the top of the Screes.

Photo: The start and finish - the Boot Inn Eskdale.

'Twas our anniversary - not a big number one - that was last year, but enough to book a non-working day away from work.

Eskdale has always been one of our favourite valleys as it is quiet, and has access to many great fells, and in addition it has one or two fine hostelries to act as a focus point for the start and finish of a days walk.

Car parking at the Boot Inn, formerly the Burnmoor, is free to patrons and this even extends to all day parking if you patronise them to the full ! So it was a Boot Inn start for the walk.The next problem was to decide where to walk. This was only finally decided over a coffee in the bar, which is leaving it late even by our standards.

The first part of the walk was undisputed however as it crosses the bridge over the Whillan Beck.

The river cascades past, and powers, the 16th Century mill in Boot Village.

On the left after the first gate is an old ruin and a prominent level path.

This is the end of the old mineral railway branch line which served a funicular railway to the mines and addits above.

The current railway terminus of the "Ratty Railway" is less than 400 yds down the valley, adjacent to the main road.

The Boot Mines have been closed for quite some time now.

Climbing steadily up alongside the in-take wall we follow a well maintained path towards the open moorland above.

As we climb the outline of Harter Fell (left) and Green Crag (centre) dominate the view behind.

Sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds accompany us at this stage as we reach the old Peat Houses at the edge of the open moorland.

It is so warm my legs actually became exposed to the sunshine in order to cool down and in order to tone down their winter-time lilly-white appearance. (sorry - no photos )

Brat's Hill, a rock outcrop amongst the flat moorland grasses.  This area must have been of local importance in pre-historic times

when the climate may have been more conducive to agriculture and upland grazing.

The first of many stone circles, hut circles and cairns can be seen on the right.

The first full circle straddles the path.

Behind, Scafell has a topping of low cloud and the weather there looks less inviting.

The second, another fine circle is less than a hundred yards away.

The hill behind this time is the Illgill Head Ridge ( Wasdale Screes from the other side ! )

We were aiming to traverse the top left to right - Whin Rigg to Illgill Head then back to Boot.

The only minor problem with this route is that it cuts across the upper reaches of two valleys, the infant River Mite and one of its tributaries.

This involves two significant down and ups just to get across country to start the main ascent of Whin Rigg.

Here Ann is dropping down the first descent.


Crossing the Infant Mite.

From a quick glance you could imagine that this drains the Burnmoor Tarn at its head,   but in fact the Whillan Beck has captured the headwaters

and the tarn actually drains north towards Scafell before turning suddenly south west and down past the mill.

From the intermediate high ground after the River Mite crossing we get a good view west to Muncaster Fell.

Our walk was occasionally punctuated by the sound of the Steam train as it made its way up and down the valley - delightful.

Oh well - down again a second time before starting the main climb up Whin Rigg opposite.

A panorama of Scafell and Slightside.

The reason I took this one was for the smooth under-surface of the clouds.

There is a technical term for it (occluded cloud base maybe ?) but I can't be certain.

Made it to the ridge.

Four o'clock and time for a late lunch !

A windy summit of Whin Rigg looking down on the coast at Ravenglass.

What I took at first glance as the Isle of Man suddenly found itself in the wrong part of the summit view. Below and to the right was Sellafield and the true Isle of Man. What I had seen was in fact North Wales and the hills of the Snowdon Massif.

What - you didn't believe me ?

Lunchtime view.

It was hat, gloves and gortex up here now as the wind on the tops was much stronger.

The westerly is bringing in a damper air mass and the distant views are getting misty as the cloud level starts to drop again.

The un-named summit tarns of Whin Rigg, with Harter Fell behind.

Long distant views are getting progressively greyer.



To our left the first of the ravines looking down

to Wastwater and Wasdale Hall YHA.

Further along, a wider view down the tall screes to the lake.

The prominent fell is Yewbarrow.

Even the dogs come across to see the view.

Illgill Head had its summit in passing cloud so our stay was brief.

We then turned at right angles to the ridge and headed down to Burnmoor Tarn.

Harry complimenting the foreground as Ann disappears down the grassy slope ahead.

On the far shore of the Tarn is Burnmoor Lodge.

Zooming in on the above (impressed with the telephoto lens ?)

Actually we walked a little closer to give the Lodge a better look.

It seems remarkably well maintained, if somewhat boarded up for the winter.

View from the front door.

Not exactly overlooked by the neighbours.

The only other building in sight is an out-house, presumably the dunny !

Turning for home now we pick up the Wasdale to Eskdale Coffin route,

a bridleway that passes east of the tarn, and heads directly south to Boot Village.

End of the walk.

Harry and Bethan relax in the car.

. . . while we adjourn to the bar for a little evening refreshment.


Our compliments to the Masham Brewery

and to the bar staff and chefs at the Boot Inn

Cheers !


( Who was driving home - me ? - what a shame ! )

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed . . . with a good meal and good 'crack' at the Boot Inn.

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