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Camping right next to Scafel & The Great Gable

One of the most beautiful campsites in Europe

Wasdale, set beneath the mountains Scafell Pike, The Great Gable, The Pillar and on the side of Wastwater (the deepest lake in England) is no more than one hotel, two campsites and a few houses scattered over a two mile stretch. The campsite has a small shop and there's a camping / trekking shop next to the Hotel. Other than that, the nearest village with a post office stores is about 15 minutes drive and a supermarket about a 30 minute drive.

You can't get a TV picture without a powerful dish, the radio signal is low and mobile phones are right out the question !

Sounds like your kind of place, read on;

Unless you can get a room at the Wasdale Head Hotel, the main reason for going there is for the camping and a centre for mountain walking, scrambling and trekking.
The main campsite is owned by the National Trust and was recently reported in the Guardian newspaper as one of the top five campsites for scenic beauty in Europe.

Having been there with my son twice and a well travelled mainland UK and European camper, I can confirm this.

To reach the Hotel and campsites you drive along a single car width lane alongside the lake, about 2 miles. Only a small number of boats are allowed on the lake by permission only. In fact, in a total of 15 days spent there, I never saw one.
On the other side of the lake to the road, you look straight at the dominant 'Screes' rising about 1500 feet above the lake in Norwegian Fjord style.

Once at the end you reach a small cluster of Pine trees and hidden behind these is the campsite itself. You cannot book incidentially, so it's pot luck if it's full (which is rare other than maybe the first week of the school holidays - when you don't want to go anyway).

The site has full utilities, well kept washrooms, toilets and washing areas.

Another good thing about this site is that there's an 11pm quiet rule, something not usually related to some campsites in certain areas.
The clientele are usually 'walking types' and span across every age group. The first week I went I felt quite young at 56 !
Sure, you're always going to get the odd baby turn up who's got a cold which raises to it's full potential at 2am and the odd group of lads who have a late night chat. The latter can be easily remedied through a little word in the Wardens ears.

The views are spectacular and almost every position of tent will have an upwards view of all the above mentioned peaks. On a sunny day it could almost be described as heaven, a beautiful blend of blues and greens with the rugged looks of the higher slopes.

There are many walks and treks which are all well documented and mapped, but like all mountainous areas, the weather can change quickly so it's advisable always to have your compass and whistle with you.
You can take the more touristy route up to Scafell Pike. This has the disadvantage of bumping into other people quite often, but the advantage that for about 85% of the journey, you can see the outline of path beneath you.

More adventurous walkers will vary their routes. For example, going up Scaffel first, then descend, reascend to Scafell Pike, across to Great Gable and down. This is not for the faint hearted though and with sensible pacing and resting will take the whole day.
Just up to Scafell Pike and back, you're looking at about 4 - 7 hours. It's harder on the knees coming down by the way !

Of course, it's just as enjoyable if you simply want somewhere to go and just sit outside the tent reading a book all day without the mobile phones going every two minutes. Plus, because of the nature of the site, it is often quite deserted during daylight hours.

The campsite shop sells basic food and camping accessory requirements, but no newspapers. For that you need to drive down to the village.

The following are a few places to visit whilst there if you have any spare time -

Whitehaven; a seaside town with most known retail outlets, boat trips and a bustling street market -
Ravenglass; with the famous Eskdale Railway.
Sellafield, maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but on a rainy quite an interesting tour of the Plant with challenging questions in their Exhibition halls.
The rest of the Lakes; You have to bear in mind that driving anywhere from Wasdale is going to take time. Because of those annoying mountains for car drivers getting in the way, no direct route to anywhere is possible ! The most direct route to Ambleside is over the Hardnott Pass where you can stop on top to see the Roman Fort. However, bare in mind it's the steepest road in England and if your car isn't in good shape and your heart can stay where it is, don't try it - it's hairy !!

For me personally, Wasdale is one of the most memorable places I've been to. The beauty and feeling of the terrain puts you at one with nature and often with yourself.

The Campsite looking to Great Gable

Wastwater - the deepest (and coldest) lake in England

The Wasdale Inn - Drinking Oasis


If heaven is like Wasdale, I'd be quite happy !

Looking down on the campsite from Scafel

When I say 'camping is cool' I mean it ! People choosing this style of holiday is now at it's greatest since the peak of the 1960's. Gone are the images of 'Carry on Camping', Boy Scouts and 'Dads Army'.

Camping Holidays

From the campsite looking at Scafel