Drawing 177: Bowfell Buttress

Direction of view: NNW

Notes: The viewpoint is the edge of the Great Slab (near its base).

This view also appears on page 67 of Fellwalking with a Camera, page 215 of Westmorland Heritage, and page 111 of Wainwright in Lakeland.  Comparing the sketch to the photograph, Wainwright has cut out the sky from the sketch, where the buttress appears almost to be trying to burst out of the top of the picture, giving it greater stature.  On page Bowfell 10 in The Southern Fells, there is a different view: from the top of the Great Slab.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 16th April 1994.  My diary records: “We [Peter Messenger and I] set off from Dungeon Ghyll shortly after noon on a glorious warm day….. Higher up [the Band] slushy snow patches were passed, heralding a complete change of environment at the start of the climbers’ traverse – a cool wind, a temperature about 20 degrees F lower, and firm snow.  We donned extra clothing and crampons, and with these and our ice axes set out along the traverse, which was a joy”.  We also got drawings 288 and 392 that day.

I took the picture for the digital project on 29th October 2018  – see 153 for an account of that day.  As I approached, the top of the crag was in bright sunlight and the rest in shadow, which would have made the photography difficult; so for once, I was pleased when the sun went behind the clouds!

The crag is home to a classic rock climbing route, also called Bowfell Buttress, which was first ascended in 1902.  I’ve done it myself a couple of times.