Wastwater is the National Park’s deepest lake; in fact, plunging to 258ft, it’s the deepest lake in the whole of England. Created by glacial forces, it occupies a dramatic, steep-sided valley between the country’s highest mountains and the Irish Sea.
It’s not hard to see why, just a few years ago, members of the public voted this Britain’s favourite view. To the north-east, the head of the lake is ringed by a truly majestic family of mountains: Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell. If the outline of the fells looks strangely familiar from the lakeshore, that’s because the Lake District National Park uses it as its logo. To the south-east, the dark, still waters are bounded by horrendously steep, boulder-covered slopes known as The Screes. A public right of way negotiates the rubble, just above the lakeshore, but it’s a tricky, potentially dangerous crossing in places.
Because of the lake’s unusually clean water and important plant and fish species, the only boats allowed to use it are paddle and rowing boats – and even these are limited to ten at a time. The lake is popular with scuba divers, some of whom planted a gnome garden in it several years ago. Police divers were called in to remove the gnomes after a number of divers died, supposedly because they were spending too long in the deep water searching for the garden.
One of the few buildings close to the lakeshore is Wasdale Hall, a nineteenth-century manor house that is now a YHA hostel. If you like a room with a view, this surely has to be one of the best around…