Drawing 200: Grasmoor

Direction of view: ENE

Notes: There is no precise viewpoint, but the picture can be taken from near to the north top of Mellbreak.

This view appears in Lakeland Mountain Drawings (179), on page Mellbreak 10 in The Western Fells, page 163 of Fellwalking with a Camera, page 182 of Memoirs of a Fellwanderer, and it is the 21st photo in Ex-Fellwanderer.  In Memoirs, the sketch and photograph appear together.  Comparing them, one can see how Wainwright has put into effect the words he uses in Fellwanderer to describe the process of converting a photograph to a drawing: “It is necessary only to remember that the ordinary camera lens tends to depress verticals and extend distances, and correct these imperfections”.  Grasmoor undoubtedly has greater stature in the sketch than it does in the photograph.

Wainwright writes in his notes to this sketch: “The best place for appraising a mountain is a point opposite at mid height – rarely can its proportions be fully appreciated when viewed from a valley or from a summit of similar elevation”.  It is somewhat uncharacteristic for him to comment on points of viewpoint selection or composition

Comments: I took this picture on 10th October 2016 (see Drawing 289 for an account of that day).  This was my fourth ascent of Mellbreak, which was the last fell I climbed twice, and only seven away from the last to be climbed four times; a function of its’ location rather than any lack of quality.

Apart from simply visiting all 214 Wainwright summits to “bag the Wainwrights”, there is an approach more suited to purists: climb every fell individually, from the ground up.  Thus, for example, you can’t claim to have climbed Long Side simply by visiting its cairn on the way between Ullock Pike and Carl Side. I finally achieved this markedly tougher round on 10th November 2019, with an ascent of Grasmoor direct from Lanthwaite Green.  This ridge is visible on the right of this drawing, and was strenuous and exposed in places.  But, as AW says, it is “probably less difficult than the north wall of the Eiger”, and it was, I felt, a fitting conclusion to a tough challenge which took me 47 years to complete!