Drawing 113: Striding Edge, Helvellyn

Direction of view: E

Notes: Taken from the slope above Striding Edge, carefully omitting a rock buttress which tries to get into the bottom left of the picture.

This view appears in Lakeland Mountain Drawings (319), on page 36 of Ex-Fellwanderer and page 34 of Memoirs of a Fellwanderer, on page 323 of Westmorland Heritage, and in two guidebooks: page 37 of A Coast to Coast Walk and page Helvellyn 5 in The Eastern Fells.  The Ex-Fellwanderer drawing is taken from the mountain drawing; the Memoirs drawing is taken from this sketch.

Comments: Image 1 was taken on slide film on 17th February 1991.  A perfect winter morning was spent taking pictures around Ullswater (including drawings 351 and 163), then I left Glenridding just before midday, taking drawing 145 on the walk in.  Clouds then started to appear, and the day got duller and hazier, though the tops stayed clear. Crampons were needed for an exhausting ascent of the shoulder of Catstycam, and there were several climbing parties on Helvellyn east face.  I went easily up Swirral Edge, and then took this picture before a trickier descent to Striding Edge.  I continued over Birkhouse Moor and down to Keldas, the crunch of my crampons a satisfying sound on a very still and quiet day.

I had traversed Striding Edge many times more before taking my first digital photo (image 2) on 10th August 2013, whilst on a walk with Peter Messenger.  It was a pleasant if overcast summer day, and the Edge was busy with walkers.  Pete and I were doing a section of the “Wainwright Memorial Walk” from Patterdale to Stanah.

The original drawing from which this was printed sold in June 2020 at auction.  The auctioneers (1818) received 72 bids, and the sketch was sold for £10,200 – by a significant margin the highest price ever known to have been paid for an artwork by Wainwright.