Illgill Head

Last updated

Illgill Head
Illgill Head screes.jpg
Highest point
Elevation 609 m (1,998 ft)
Prominence 314 m (1,030 ft)
Parent peak Scafell Pike
Listing Marilyn, Wainwright
Coordinates 54°25′58″N3°16′57″W / 54.4327°N 3.28257°W / 54.4327; -3.28257 Coordinates: 54°25′58″N3°16′57″W / 54.4327°N 3.28257°W / 54.4327; -3.28257
Geography
Lake District National Park UK relief location map.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Illgill Head
Location in the Lake District
Location relief map Borough of Copeland.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Illgill Head
Location in Copeland Borough
Location Cumbria, England
Parent range Lake District, Southern Fells
OS grid NY169049
Topo map OS Landranger 89, Explorer OL6

Illgill Head is a fell in the English Lake District. It is known more commonly as the northern portion of the Wastwater Screes. The fell is 609 metres high and stands along the south-east shore of Wastwater, the deepest lake in England.

Contents

Topography

The panorama of the Wastwater Screes across Wastwater is one of the most famous and awe-inspiring views in England. Poet Norman Nicholson described the Screes as ‘like the inverted arches of a Gothic Cathedral’. The title Wastwater Screes applies to the scree-covered north-western fellside which plunges dramatically down into Wastwater. This also includes Illgill Head's neighbour Whin Rigg, the continuation of the ridge to the south-west. The scree slope continues beneath the lake to a depth of 79 metres (259 ft). The screes were formed as a result of ice and weathering erosion on the rocks. Geologically, Illgill Head and Whin Rigg are part of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, typical for the southern-western area of the Lake District. In marked contrast to the north-western slope, the opposite flank of the fell, which descends to Burnmoor Tarn and Miterdale, is much gentler and covered in heather and bracken.

Geology

The summit area has outcropping tuff, lapilli-tuff and breccia of the Lingmell Formation amid the drift deposits. The crags atop the Screes reveal the plagioclase-phyric andesite lavas of the Birker Fell Formation. [1]

Summit

The summit is a flat sheepwalk, giving no clue to the drama of the Screes. North-west from the cairn the grassy plateau gradually tilts, until a few yards away it simply disappears over the brink. Illgill Head is a fine viewpoint for Wasdale Head, the surrounding fells all appearing as they soar up from the dalehead. Nearer views, with care, are possible down the Screes themselves.

Ascent

Illgill Head is commonly ascended from Wasdale Head over the north-eastern shoulder of the fell, skirting the edge of the Screes. There is also an ascent from Boot in Eskdale either over Whin Rigg or direct via Burnmoor Tarn. A lakeside path along the south-eastern shore of Wastwater starts at Wasdale Head Hall and continues through the boulder field with exhilarating close-up views of the Screes.

Wasdale screes.jpg
Panorama of the Wasdale Screes, Illgill Head in the centre, Whin Rigg on the right.

Related Research Articles

Scafell

Scafell is a mountain in the English Lake District, part of the Southern Fells. Its height of 964 metres makes it the second-highest mountain in England after its neighbour Scafell Pike, from which it is separated by Mickledore col.

Wast Water A body of water in Cumbria, England

Wast Water or Wastwater is a lake located in Wasdale, a valley in the western part of the Lake District National Park, England. The lake is almost 3 miles (4.8 km) long and more than one-third mile (500 m) wide. It is a glacial lake, formed in a glacially 'over-deepened' valley. It is the deepest lake in England at 258 feet (79 m). The surface of the lake is about 200 feet (60 m) above sea level, while its bottom is over 50 feet (15 m) below sea level. It is owned by the National Trust.

Pillar (Lake District)

Pillar is a mountain in the western part of the English Lake District. Situated between the valleys of Ennerdale to the north and Wasdale to the south, it is the highest point of the Pillar group. At 892 metres (2,927 feet) it is the eighth-highest mountain in the Lake District. The fell takes its name from Pillar Rock, a prominent feature on the Ennerdale side, regarded as the birthplace of rock climbing in the district.

Great Gable Mountain in the United Kingdom

Great Gable is a mountain in the Lake District, United Kingdom. It is named after its appearance as a pyramid from Wasdale, though it is dome-shaped from most other directions. It is one of the most popular of the Lakeland fells, and there are many different routes to the summit. Great Gable is linked by the high pass of Windy Gap to its smaller sister hill, Green Gable, and by the lower pass of Beck Head to its western neighbour, Kirk Fell.

Fairfield (Lake District) Fell in the English Lake District

Fairfield is a fell in the English Lake District. It is the highest of a group of hills in the Eastern Fells, standing to the south of the Helvellyn range.

Great End Mountain in the Lake District, England

Great End is the most northerly mountain in the Scafell chain, in the English Lake District. From the south it is simply a lump continuing this chain. From the north, however, it appears as an immense mountain, with an imposing north face rising above Sprinkling Tarn (lake). This is a popular location for wild camping, and the north face attracts many climbers.

Wasdale is a valley and civil parish in the western part of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England. The River Irt flows through the valley to its estuary at Ravenglass. A large part of the main valley floor is occupied by Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. The population of Wasdale was only minimal and, from the 2011 Census is included in the parish of Gosforth.

High Stile

High Stile is a mountain in the western part of the Lake District in North West England. It is the eleventh-highest English Marilyn, standing 807 metres (2,648 ft) high, and has a relative height of 362 metres (1,187 ft).

Kirk Fell

Kirk Fell is a fell in the Western part of the English Lake District. It is situated between Great Gable and Pillar on the long ring of fells surrounding the valley of Ennerdale, and also stands over Wasdale to the south. However, it is separated from its two higher neighbours by the low passes of Black Sail and Beck Head, giving it a high relative height and making it a Marilyn, the thirteenth highest in the Lake District.

Red Screes

Red Screes is a fell in the English Lake District, situated between the villages of Patterdale and Ambleside. It may be considered an outlier of the Fairfield group in the Eastern Fells, but is separated from its neighbours by low cols. This gives Red Screes an independence which is reflected in its prominence.

Pike of Blisco

Pike of Blisco, or Pike o' Blisco, is a mountain in the Lake District in Cumbria, England. Located between the valleys of Great Langdale and Little Langdale, its relative isolation from neighbouring fells together with slopes falling away immediately from the summit in all directions mean it has excellent views: the view of the Langdale Pikes across Great Langdale is particularly arresting.

Seatallan

Seatallan is a mountain in the western part of the English Lake District. It is rounded, grassy and fairly unassuming, occupying a large amount of land. However, it is classed as a Marilyn because of the low elevation of the col connecting it to Haycock, its nearest higher neighbour to the north. The name Seatallan is believed to have a Cumbric origin, meaning "Aleyn's high pasture".

Red Pike (Wasdale)

Red Pike is a fell in the English Lake District. It is 826 m or 2,709 ft (826 m) high and lies due north of Wast Water. It is often climbed as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe, a walk which also includes Pillar.

Scoat Fell

Scoat Fell is a fell in the western part of the English Lake District. It stands at the head of the Mosedale Horseshoe with its back to Ennerdale. Paths lead to Scoat Fell from Ennerdale over Steeple, from Wasdale over Red Pike, and along the ridge from Pillar.

Green Gable

Green Gable is a fell in the English Lake District often traversed by walkers en route to its more famous neighbour Great Gable. It can be ascended from Honister Pass, Seathwaite in Borrowdale, or Ennerdale. There are good views of Gable Crag, Scafell Pike and the Buttermere valley from the summit.

Yewbarrow

Yewbarrow is a fell, in the English Lake District, which lies immediately north of the head of Wast Water. It is 628 metres high and in shape resembles the upturned hull of a boat or a barrow. Yewbarrow is on the left in the classic view of Great Gable and Wast Water.

Whin Rigg

Whin Rigg is a fell in the English Lake District, situated in the western segment of the national park, 22 kilometres south east of the town of Whitehaven. It reaches only a modest altitude of 535 m (1,755 ft) but is part of one of the Lake District’s most dramatic landscapes in that the rugged and impressive Wastwater Screes fall from the fells summit to Wast Water over 450 m (1,500 ft) below. The fell's name means “gorse covered ridge” and originates from the Old Norse words “Hvin” meaning gorse and “Hryggr” meaning Ridge.

Middle Fell is a hill or fell in the English Lake District. It is a satellite of Seatallan standing above the northern shore of Wastwater. Middle Fell can be climbed from Greendale near the foot of Wastwater, and a fine view of the lake backed by the Wastwater Screes is visible from the summit.

Southern Fells

The Southern Fells are a group of hills in the English Lake District. Including Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, they occupy a broad area to the south of Great Langdale, Borrowdale and Wasdale. High and rocky towards the centre of the Lake District, the Southern Fells progressively take on a moorland character toward the south-west. In the south-east are the well-known Furness Fells, their heavily quarried flanks rising above Coniston Water.

The Wasdale Fell Race is an annual Lake District fell race held in July, starting and finishing at Brackenclose in Wasdale. The course is approximately twenty-one miles long with around 9,000 feet of ascent and takes in checkpoints at Whin Rigg, Seatallan, Pillar, Great Gable, Esk Hause shelter, Scafell Pike and Lingmell nose wall. The route between Pillar and Lingmell is very rough, with steep technical ground and boulder fields. Among long fell races, Wasdale has one of the highest ratios of feet of ascent per mile, and it is often considered to be the toughest of the British races.

References

  1. British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 38: BGS (1998)