Illgill Head and Wastwater

Illgill Head (left) and Wastwater

Height: 1983 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 4 (The Southern Fells).

Date climbed: First visit: 2nd July 2010 (walk 20a). Second visit: 14th August 2013 (walk 73).

Bagged as number: First round:63 out of 330. [ << Whin Rigg (62)  (64) Lingmell >> ]. Second round: 2 out of 330. [ << Walla Crag (1)  (3) Whin Rigg >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Approached from Whin Rigg, along the edge of Wastwater Screes. Descended to Wasdale Head. Note that though this is a longer (and rather more tedious) walk than it looks, the figure of 4 miles given by Wainwright on page Illgill Head 6 seems an exaggeration. Three miles is nearer the truth.

Second visit: came up from Burnmoor Tarn, a bit of a trudge but good views of Wasdale Head. Then did the ridge to Whin Rigg in the opposite direction.

View from Illgill Head summit

Illgill Head summit. Left-to-right in background: Great Gable, Lingmell (behind sheep) and Scafell.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 7 of his chapter): “There is nothing at all about the actual summit to give a hint of its dramatic situation almost on the lip of the tremendous plunge into Wastwater. All is grass – dry springy turf that, on a hot day, cries aloud for a siesta; but heavy sleepers should not so position themselves that they can slide down the gradual decline to the rim of the cliffs, 35 yards from the cairn. This remarkable point of vantage, high above the lake, should be visited nevertheless: if it is omitted the whole ascent becomes purposeless.”

Illgill Head

Looking back to Illgill Head and Wasdale Head from Whin Rigg

What I say: Illgill Head is nearly 2000 feet high so is a reasonably substantial fell, but perhaps because it stands in the shadow of the Scafell giants it somehow looks smaller and less significant than it is. The walk there from Whin Rigg is excellent, but the main drama of it comes at the other end, and the descent from here to Wasdale Head is, as said above, longer than expected. However although the fell itself is basically subservient to its north-western slope, it was still an enjoyable one to bag.

[ << Ill Bell     Irton Pike >> ]

One Response to “Illgill Head”

  1. […] How and Irton Pike) and two of the ‘main’ 214, revisited for a second time (Whin Rigg, Illgill Head). The route took me up onto the top of the Wastwater Screes, and there were great views of Wasdale […]

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