Esthwaite Farm, Wastwater almost visible beyond.
I met X-Ray just before midday at the Screes pub in Nether Wasdale. We were hoping for an afternoon in the hills, perhaps on Buckbarrow and Middlebarrow, or maybe over Illgill Head and Whinrigg. But the cloud was down and the rain was coming thick and fast.
We debated for a while but ultimately opted to stay in the valley. We set off in full waterproofs headed for Santon Bridge on paths which roughly followed the River Irt. The river was running very high and was an impressive spectacle. At Santon Bridge we hurriedly ate our lunch in the rain and then had a brief respite from the downpour with a swift half in the Bridge Inn.
Our return route took us into forestry. Where the right-of-way left the forest track we couldn’t find the left turn we needed. We realised that sticking with the track would eventually bring us to another right-of-way which we could take us eventually to Wastwater. First we had to cross a stream – the ford was impassable. We followed the stream uphill without finding anywhere very promising, but eventually we found a spot where the deeper stronger flow was on our side and we felt that we could probably jump at least as far as the shallows near the far bank. We got across but in the process ended up even wetter than we had been before.
As we approached Wastwater we could see that the Irt here had burst its banks and was flowing across the fields. The lake was also very high and some lakeside trees were now in the lake. We followed the Irt back away from the lake. The river was overflowing its banks just downstream of a stone footbridge so we crossed the river but found our progress downstream was blocked by flooding in this direction too. A permission path through the woodlands on the shore of Wastwater brought us to the road and we turned back for Nether Wasdale and a shower, dry clothes and a pleasant evening planning for better weather on the morrow. (And bizarrely, discussing the Sham 69 with some other middle-aged punks in the bar of the Strands.)