Wast Water is not a conventionally beautiful landscape. Described by William Wordsworth as ‘long, narrow, stern and desolate’, the lake is given a dark and foreboding appearance by the large screes of broken rock which run along its south-eastern bank.
Yet there is no denying the power and greatness of this location; the deepest lake in England, Wast Water is likely to make the most profound impression.
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How will you choose to reconnect with nature in this awe-inspiring place? You’ll want to find your own way.
Perhaps you’ll arrive at first light and set off along one of the ancient paths, enjoying the solitude – and in all likelihood, the challenge of the changeable weather.
Or you may settle for skimming stones across the slate-black waters, chasing the reflections of clouds as they dart across the surface.
Venture further and you’ll find the Wasdale Head Inn at the northern end of the lake. And just beyond that stands St Olaf’s Church, the smallest in England. It is said that the beams in the church roof came from a Viking longboat. But then every building around here seems to have history in its bones.
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The journey to Bowness from Wast Water takes you up and over the Hardknott and Wrynose Passes. The power of the Kodiaq is needed here – with inclines as sharp as 30 per cent, these are among the steepest roads in England. Also advised is a good camera; the views here, particularly around Hardknott Roman Fort, are stunning.
Once you reach Far Sawrey, the connection to Bowness is made by ferry. A regular boat crossing has existed here for over 500 years; the modern version, which runs between seven in the morning and ten at night, will transport 17 cars in addition to your Kodiaq, plus cycles and perhaps even a horse or two.
Having explored Bowness, you may want to drive on to Hill Top, the house once owned by children’s author Beatrix Potter. Determined to succeed in an era when it wasn’t the done thing for women to show ambition, she was definitely driven by something different.
No sooner have you started out for Ullswater than it’s time to stop. Park the Kodiaq at the Wasdale Head Inn, at the northern end of Wast Water, and get your hiking boots out of the boot. From here, it’s just under a half-hour walk to the foot of Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England.
Vintage black-and-white photographs at the inn depict climbers from the Victorian era; while your clothing and equipment may be more technologically advanced, you may still feel a strong sense of kinship with them.
Your hike completed, drive back down the lake and then towards Ambleside and on to Grasmere, once home to William Wordsworth. If you wish to replace the calories you burned off earlier on the walk, call in at the village shop and buy some of the gingerbread for which it is renowned.
Continue past Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England, to Glenridding – a village at the southern end of Ullswater. Here it’s time to swap your new SUV for a 140-year-old steamer and reflect on the exertions of the day as you sail serenely around the lake.
Official fuel consumption for the New ŠKODA Kodiaq range in mpg (litres/100km): Urban 31.0 (9.1) – 48.7 (5.8); Extra Urban 44.1 (6.4) – 61.4 (4.6); Combined 38.2 (7.4) – 56.5 (5.0). CO2 emissions for the New ŠKODA Kodiaq range are 170 – 131g/km. Standard EU test figures are for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results.
© ŠKODA AUTO a.s. 2018