Wasdale, England 2016

On August 12th, 2016 I visited England’s Lake District.

Map of Northern England and Wasdale Valley

     England’s Lake District was carved out of granite mountains by mighty glaciers during the last ice age.

A public domain painting from an unknown artist of Wasdale Valley

     10,000 yrs. Ago, the glaciers retreated and the meltwaters accumulated in a hollow to a depth of 258 ft. creating, “Waste Water”, the deepest lake in England.

I’m standing next to Waste Water in Wasdale Valley, England 2016

     Above, I’m standing in Wasdale Valley, next to “Waste Water”, where this remote and rugged place is surrounded by mountains, including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike and the magnificent Great Gable with its distinctive rock pinnacle, known as the Napes Needle.

Waste Water Lake in Wasdale Valley, England

     From Illgill Head, a wall of scree 550 meters high plunges down into slate-gray water, right to the bottom of the lake.  With an average of 300 cm of rain per year, this is one of the wettest places in Britain. 

Wasdale Head, England

     At the head of the lake is the small village of Wasdale Head. 

Public Domain photo of the Bowder Stone in the 1860s

     Nearby and towards the southwest, I visited the “Bowder Stone”.

Public Domain photo of the Bowder Stone in the 1890s


The Bowder Stone, (below left) looks like a house balanced on one corner. While geologists cannot agree on its origin, they do agree that the mighty Bowder Stone of Borrowdale, Cumria, is perhaps the largest single block of rock in the world and may be one of the oldest.

My photo of the Bowder Stone in 2016

     Perched precariously on its narrow base, the Bowder stone is a huge mass of andesite lava from the Ordovician age that lies below the slopes of “King’s How”, between the villages of Grange and Rosthwaite. A glacier may have carried it from Scotland and deposited it in its current location.

Look south at the Bowder Stone in 2016

     This rock is known as “erratic” because it came from the same source as the glacier and do not normally match local geology.  Another plausible explanation is that stone crashed down from Bowder Crag after a massive rockfall at the end of the last glaciation—between 13,500-10,000 years ago. Visitors can climb on top of this huge rock via a metal ladder.  It recently replaced a wooden ladder that was installed in the 1860s.

Roman Baths at Ravenglass, England

     Just west of Bowder Stone is Ravenglass.  Ravenglass is on the western edge of Cumbria’s Lake District National Park, the park’s only coastal village. Here there are remains of a once bustling Roman fort and naval outpost, but the most complete ruins are those of a first century bath house, (pictured above). It’s been 2,000 years, but you can still see its walls, doors and windows.

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