Battle of the Ferns (AD 2011) above Wast Water

Wainwrights: Illgill Head, Whin Rigg

Date walked: 17/08/2011

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 11km

Ascent: 700m

Hills done - Whin Rigg and Illgill Head
OS Landranger map No 89
Start - parking area, Grid Ref 149050
Distance walked 11 km’s
Height Gain 700 metre’s
17 August 2011

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The plan was an ascent of Whin Rigg to bag one of my final Wainwrights, a straight forward out and back on a map marked path with less than 500 metres of ascent, easy :oops:.

A short distance from the car i crossed a stile onto NT property and soon passed Wasdale Hall Youth Hostel, continuing i followed the waters edge round to a bridge at 142039, so far so good.

Reflections from around 145040

Looking north west from around 145030

Just above Greathall Gill looking west

From Whin Rigg looking to Kirk Fell and Great Gable

A little further on at 143037 is where i made my 1st mistake. From where the path joins the main track i could see a gate a few metres to my left so went through it, then turned right and followed the wall uphill, clear at first then through knee high ferns. Meanwhile the clouds which had been building overhead started to shower their contents so i sheltered under a tree, it was only a shower as i could see brighter skies were moving in from the west and so didn’t bother putting my waterproofs on (2nd mistake).

West to Sellafield

West to Sellafield

Dark skies over Illgill Head

Dark skies over Illgill Head

Once the rain had stopped i continued, the ferns were now soaking wet and rose from waist to shoulder high and the path had all but disappeared. As the ferns got deeper and denser i had to force a way through and soon i was drenched, at one point i stood on ground that wasn’t there :? and plunged headlong into the undergrowth.

Wast Water and Wasdale Hall


Cliffs and scree above Wast Water

Ferns (battle site AD 2011)

Cut, soaked, battered and bruised more slipping, sliding and thrashing about in the undergrowth ensued before i finally came across the path shown on the map that heads up Gateshall Gill. To add insult to injury from a now higher vantage point i could see the path i should have taken to avoid the ferns, turning right at point 143037 would have avoided this fiasco.

Great Gable


Wast Water screes

Great Gable and Wast Water

After this the rest of the hike was easy, up to Whin Rigg, follow the cliff edge to Illgill Head, back to Whin Rigg then down.

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User avatar
Location: Barrow in Furness/Cumbria
Occupation: Retired/Sheet Metal Worker
Interests: Hillwalking/Photography & Music
Mountain: Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: Car
Member: None
Ideal day out: A day on any of the remote hills
Ambition: At present, Ben Aden

Munros: 281
Corbetts: 191
Grahams: 28
Donalds: 12
Wainwrights: 213
Hewitts: 195
Sub 2000: 3

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Trips: 6
Distance: 64 km
Ascent: 4100m
Wainwrights 15


Trips: 1
Distance: 9 km
Wainwrights 2


Trips: 13
Distance: 20 km
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 3
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Trips: 12
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 1

Joined: Jan 02, 2008
Last visited: Mar 25, 2018
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