Whin Rigg is a fell is 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 - the rugged and impressive
Wastwater Screes (sometimes known as The Screes) which fall from the
fells summit to Wast Water over 450 m (1,500 ft) below.
name means “gorse covered ridge” and originates from the Old Norse words
“Hvin” meaning gorse and “Hryggr” meaning Ridge.
Whin Rigg is linked to the adjoining fell of Illgill Head, just 1.5
kilometres away at the northern end of The Screes by a path that gives
precipitous views down to Wast Water.
The Screes are a Site of
Special Scientific Interest and are regarded as a classic geological
locality and one of the best and most famous examples of screes in
The escarpment and screes are made up of hard wearing
Borrowdale Volcanics rock, however there are areas of less resistant
rock which have been eroded and this has led to deep gullies in the
The cliffs around the summit of Whin Rigg take the
form of vertical rock buttresses which are split by the huge Great Gully
and C Gully which give precipitous views of Wast Water. The gullies are
spectacular but are a no go area for walkers. Great Gully has seventeen
near vertical pitches and the remains of an aeroplane within it.
Apart from The Screes, Whin Rigg has another fine geological feature in
Greathall Gill. This is a granite ravine which rises up the fell from
where the River Irt flows out of Wast Water to the 400 metre mark on the
fell to the south west of the summit.
The lower section of the
ravine in steep sided and wooded and support a range of mosses, ferns
and herbs including Common wood sorrel opposite leaved golden saxifrage
and great wood rush.
The highlight of the summit panorama is
obviously the view down to Wast Water, however the Sellafield Nuclear
Plant is well seen to the west as are the well known fells around the
head of Wasdale.
The path on the eastern side of Greathall Gill
has developed into a popular way up the fell from Nether Wasdale and has
become eroded in recent years. It is being monitored so any worsening of
the situation can be reversed.
Whin Rigg can be climbed either
from Nether Wasdale in Wasdale or Eskdale Green in Eskdale using the
bridleway which links the two places to attain the western ridge of the
fell,.There are then 230 metres of ascent up the ridge to reach the
routes near Whin Rigg