England’s Deepest Lake, Great Gable, PSALM 121,The Black Sail Hut, Rice Pudding and Porridge for Breakfast.

Post 84: 28 March 1994: The Cumberland Way, Day 2 – Wastwater Youth Hostel to Buttermere Youth Hostel – 11¼ miles

It was damp and wet as we left the hostel to follow the quiet lane along Wastwater towards Wasdale. Wastwater is England’s deepest ‘lake’ at 74 metres, 243 feet.

Wastwater with Great Gable just above my head.

Our expectations increased as we headed towards the symbol of the Lake District National Park, Great Gable, the distinctive triangular shape dominating the head of the valley. We arrived at Wasdale Head, a Mecca for walkers and climbers, the focal point being the Wasdale Head Inn.

We decided to have a break in the inn, but, with the energetic prospect of climbing the Black Sail Pass, stuck to coffee. The nearby church is a sombre place as within the grounds are a number of graves of climbers who have died on the surrounding mountains. However, within one of the windows is the following inscription:






It is taken from PSALM 121, which is my favourite.

The climb up the Black Sail Pass seemed long, especially as we were heading into mist. On reaching the top, then descending a little way, the mist cleared and we stopped for snacks, soup and a sandwich.

Walkers crossing the River Liza with Great Gable in the background

As we arrived at the Black Sail Hut Youth Hostel, some walkers doing Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk had stopped to attend to their blisters. Dan was now an expert and offered advice.

The Black Sail Hut
The Black Sail Hut from the rear
Inside the Black Sail Hut
Boots and skulls hang from the ceiling.
Great Gable

I was to return to the Black Sail Hut some years later for my 50th birthday celebrations (yes my choice) but that is a whole new story to be told later in the diaries. Just enough to say at this stage that when the sheep came inside for the curry it got very surreal!

Leaving the hostel we were very tempted to visit Wainwright’s resting place on Haystacks, but by the time we had climbed to the top of Scarth Gap our energy had gone. Instead we decided to head to Buttermere in search of another Cumberland sausage.

Arriving at the hostel at 4.00pm, we were delighted to find Cumberland sausage on the menu. This was followed by rice pudding and, after Dan had consumed two helpings, he suggested to the warden that the remainder be served up at breakfast. The warden duly obliged and Dan had rice pudding and porridge for breakfast! Dan was living up to his reputation. The calories are certainly used up on a long-distance walk.

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