Drawing 155: Lodore Falls, Borrowdale

Direction of view: S

Notes: Needs to be taken when the trees are bare, or with sparse autumn foliage, and is actually better when the sun is not shining, to avoid unhelpful contrasts.

This picture does not occur in any of Wainwright’s other published works.

Comments: My first visit here was on 7th April 1991, a day when Peter Messenger and I had planned a traverse of the Central ridge; but my diary records that distracting photo opportunities combined with the violence of the wind led to the abandonment of our plans.  Lodore Falls was one of those distractions, and we noticed how they seem less dramatic in reality than in AW’s sketch – not to mention earlier romantic portrayals of a vast torrent spouting forth!  In the event, we also got drawings 90 and 180, and crossed the Central ridge from Ashness Bridge, via High Seat and Raven Crag.

I took the picture for the digital project on 4th November 2018, on a walk with Peter and Ruth Messenger, looking for autumn colours.  The falls were not accessible through the Lodore Hotel grounds, as they once were, due to extensive building works at the hotel.  There had been very heavy rain the day before, and the autumn colours were still good – ideal conditions!  Gloomy skies lent a moody and atmospheric tone to the scene.  Other drawings we got this day were 6 and 57.

Early prints of the Lake District (eg Joseph Farington, 1816) show Lodore Falls as a mighty cascade, and early visitors to the District created the impression that it would be visible (and audible) from miles away.  It seems that there was less tree cover in those days, but even so significant romantic imagination would have been necessary to create such an impression.