Wastwater is the deepest lake not only in the Lake District but also in the whole of England with its bottom depth of two hundred and fifty eight feet. As such it is a favourite diving venture of Sub Aqua Clubs, permission to dive there must be first obtained from the National Park warden. Water from this lake is pumped out to supply Sellafield Nuclear facility.
The lake is set in spectacular views with screes running down on the eastern side from the fells Whin Rigg and Ilgill Head and surrounded by Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Red Pike. The numerous footpaths leading off the surrounding area are highly popular with both walkers and climbers.
The lake is owned by the National Trust who also have a camp site at the Wasdale Head end of the lake and there is also a Youth hostel near by at Wasdale Hall. Canoeing and Kayaking are allowed although there is a restriction on the number of vessels allowed on the lake at any one time, this is believed to be twelve. No motor boats or Sailing craft of any description are allowed on the lake.
Fishing on the lake is subject to environmental permits being held and Artic Char and Trout are favourite catches, it is understood that there are also Salmon during the spawning season plus Eels and ferrox. Fishing is from the shore only and, as in all of the other lakes, no live bait is allowed.
Wastwater due to its loneliness and surrounding scenery is much admired by photographers and artists alike and it was one of the favourite lakes of Alfred Wainwright.
The lake is fed partially by the River Esk and is the source of the River Irt
The nearest village or Hamlet to the lake is Wasdale Head where there is a Pub that can also provide both limited accomodation and food. There is also the tiny church of St Olaf’s which is claimed to be the smallest church in England and who’s beams are said to have come from a Viking longboat. The valley was farmed by Viking Settlers way back in the ninth and tenth century.