Drawing 156: High Sweden Bridge

Direction of view: NE

Notes: The view is taken from the Low Pike side of the bridge.  Leaves on the trees may be a problem in season.  The approach to the bridge on the western side appears to have been reconstructed since AW’s time.

This view of the bridge also appears on page 5 of Westmorland Heritage, page 197 of Wainwright in Lakeland, and page 127 of Memoirs of a Fellwanderer. All are prints of the same original sketch, though the Westmorland Heritage illustration is only of the central portion of the sketch.

AW comments that this bridge is “a perfect specimen of the old narrow bridges that span the mountain becks. Usually no wider than would admit a pack pony, and without raised parapets, they are a quaint reminder of the days long ago when foot-travel was the normal means of progress across country”. The name of the bridge dates back to the 13th century, and according to Diana Whaley “seems to refer to an area that has been cleared by burning”.

Comments: I first visited this scene to prospect for the sketch on 10th November 2012, as part of a walk to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Wainwright Society.  It was dull and raining, so I didn’t take a picture.

I returned the very next day, prompted by bright sunshine.  However, a clear day in Sandside was cloudy by the time Sheelagh Hughes Hallett and I got to Ambleside.  Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable walk up to High Sweden Bridge, and this time I did take the photo, for a starter to be improved upon later.

“Later” proved to be 19th January 2015, a sunny day with snow on the ground, when I got a good photo of this drawing at about 11am.  I then headed off for drawing 372, and a fellwalk to High Pike and Dove Crag, returning back over High Pike and down via Low Pike.