Wastwater, the deepest lake in England

Beauty Spot

Wastwater, the deepest lake in England

Wastwater is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the lakes in the Lake District. It is England's deepest lake and is surrounded by mountains, Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain.

Wastwater is situated in the Wasdale Valley, in the western part of the Lake District National Park. The lake is 3 miles long, half a mile wide and 260 feet deep. Nine Routemaster buses could be stacked end-to-end without breaking the surface, or Nelson's Column could be submerged with 27 metres left over.

It is a glacial lake and is owned by the National Trust.

Extending the length of the south-east side of the lake are the Screes, consisting of millions of fragments of broken rock and rising from the floor of the lake to a height of almost 2000 feet, giving the lake an ominous appearance. Despite, or perhaps because of the lake's austere majesty, it was voted "Britain’s favourite view" in 2007.

The valley was colonised by Norse farmers in the 9th and 10th century. At the Wasdale Head end of the lake is St. Olaf’s Church, one of the smallest in the country.

On a gruesome note, in 1976, the so-called Lady in the Lake, Margaret Hogg, was murdered by her husband and her body was disposed of in the lake. She was found after eight years, with her body preserved like wax due to the lack of oxygen in the water.

A more recent and cheerier phenomenon in the lake recently was the report in February 2005 that a "gnome garden" complete with picket fence had been placed in the lake as a point of interest for divers to explore. It was removed by police from the bottom of Wastwater after concern that divers might spend too long underwater searching for the ornaments. However, the gnomes are now rumoured to have been replaced at a depth beyond the lowest the police are allowed to dive.

Further reading

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