Drawing 18: Memorial cairn, Birkett Fell

Direction of view: WSW

Notes: For the best lighting, this would need to be taken in the morning.  AW has omitted from his drawing the slopes of Hart Side and Raise, which appear in the background (see below).  The lettering on the plaque is fading under a covering of lichen.

This picture does not appear in any other of Wainwright’s published works, but the photograph from which this sketch was drawn is in the County Archives at Kendal, reference WDAW/4/1/1/2/14.  It is a small, square photograph of the cairn, with mist obscuring any background. 

Comments: Wainwright explains that this fell was named after Lord Birkett, who “ably and successfully” led the opposition to Manchester Corporation’s scheme to “take over” Ullswater in 1962, but then died soon afterwards.

I have no recollection of visiting this cairn prior to 6th October 2012, when it was one of the objectives on a walk with Peter Messenger.  We started from the road at Glencoyne, and climbed Sheffield Pike and Stybarrow Dodd, descending via Hart Side, Watermillock Common and Dockray to Aira Force.  This yielded photographs of 4 sketches (351, 18, 120 and 16), though none were in perfect condition.  We arrived at this cairn at 3.30pm, not a good time for a view looking WSW!

A much better picture was obtained on 9th January 2019, on a walk from Dockray with David Claxton (then Treasurer and now Secretary of the Wainwright Society) and his black Labrador, Bramble.  We walked in via Dowthwaitehead, and arrived at the cairn at noon (still earlier would be better!).  Our walk continued over Hart Side and the Helvellyn Dodds.