20th May 2012

Walking the Lakeland Passes - Walk 14 - Burnmoor Corpse Road


Walk Overview
Time 08.50 to 16.20
Duration 7 hr 30 min
Distance 14.5 mile
Ascent 2500 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Brackenclose - Burnmoor Tarn - Boot - Eskdale valley - Eskdale Green - Miterdale - Tongue Moor - Brackenclose
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, near Brackenclose camp site, Wasdale

Unless I intended to begin a walk from Wasdale Head itself, then this would be my first choice for parking at this end of the valley. It isn't that large of a parking area, but I always seem to have been lucky and managed to get a space here. Failing that the car park next to the camp site is only a stones throw away.


Route Map

Today's passes walk took us over from Wasdale to Eskdale following what we now call the Burnmoor Corpse Road.
Prior to the church yard at Wasdale Head being consecrated, upon their passing, the local people had to be carried over this route for burial at St Catherine's church just outside the tiny hamlet of Boot in Eskdale. The bodies, or coffins if they were wealthy enough to afford one, would be strapped onto the back of a horse and taken over the moors. Not quite the most dignified way to end your time on earth, but needs had to be met and this was the only realistic option at the time.
I've got no doubt that the same route was used for more reasons than the above and I remember reading somewhere that the route was suitable for wheeled traffic up to the beginning of the 20th century. Thankfully it isn't anymore otherwise we'd have a car park and a resident ice cream van next to Burnmoor Tarn.

Kirk Fell and Great Gable taken as the path starts to get a little steeper. I actually took this picture because of the nice colours of the trees, the fells in the background are just a bonus.

Wast Water reflections. Sadly the nice sunny conditions didn't last for the whole walk, but dry is good and high cloud is a nice bonus.

This is the bridge equivalent of two birds with one stone. Hollow Gill and Groove Gill are both crossed by this nice looking bridge just and so above the point where both gills join up.

On route up to Burnmoor Tarn we passed by these old peat huts which provide a nice foreground for a picture of Wasdale Head and surrounding fells.
I said peat huts not Pete's hut, and definitely not Pete's a hut. Mind you, by the time we got back here a Pete's a hut might have been a welcome sight.

"have you lost something"
"don't be so cheeky, I didn't realise you were taking a picture otherwise I'd have looked up"

That's Yewbarrow on the opposite side of the lake.

From the area near Maiden Castle Cairn it's barely noticeable that you're walking down hill to Burnmoor Tarn. I had expected it to be much wetter under foot across here than it was today but it wasn't too bad at all.

Tranquil Burnmoor Tarn.

Bulatt Bridge spanning half of Burnmoor Tarn's outflow.

Following the track towards Eskdale. I know I've said this on numerous occasions, but this is the kind of place I enjoy walking more than any other. Wide open spaces and the chance of some seclusion. Today we say no one between leaving the car and reaching Boot.

Off the open fell now and into the intake fields.

A view down to Eskdale which is just starting to show it's summer colours.

After a walk over the moorland around Burnmoor Tarn, we were back to civilisation again and in stark contract we now had a walk through the lovely Eskdale.


Inside St Catherine's Church.

and outside the church, which was quite warm in the sunshine. Although as I said earlier, the sun didn't last much longer.

Rather than take a chance on the stepping stones we walked back up the lonning for a short way before turning off and heading towards Trough House Bridge.


Dalegarth Hall.

Walking through Eskdale was lovely today. We practically had the place to ourselves, the only sounds were out footsteps and the birds, and it was warmer than it has been for weeks.

I wonder if time really does fly by when you're a driver of a train. There are more empty seats than you normally expect to see in the middle of May.

Giggle Alley.

Approaching Low Place.

What a woody mess. If you like you replace the "w" with "bl". On the plus side, the smell of cut timber was gorgeous. I really hope the forestry folk tidy up before they leave.

Tree rings.

Bakersteads looks more than just a bit sorry for itself these days.

What a beast. I'm glad I don't have to pay to keep this thing full of fuel.

This one isn't half a late arrival. It hadn't been born too long ago and there was no sign of its mother. It hung around for awhile, and even came close enough to let us stroke it. I assumed the mother was around somewhere so thought it best to leave it alone.

As this picture of Harter Fell shows, the clear view had gone now.

Burnmoor Tarn comes back into view as we make our way across Tongue Moor. Scafell seems to have had cloud on it all day, albeit to varying degrees.

Burnmoor Tarn in front of Great How.

Scafell and Slight Side.
The path you can just make out running across the centre of the picture is the one we followed at the start of the walk.

After telling Jennifer I was only joking about going up Illgill Head as well, we made our way back down to Brackenclose.

Illgill Head looming large behind the bridge over Lingmell Beck.
We'd just walked down from the low point on the skyline, above the line of the trees and down to here.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks