Drawing 211: Loughrigg Cave
Direction of view: S
Notes: Also known as Rydal Cave. Equally easily accessible from White Moss or from Rydal village. Lighting is likely to be best in the late afternoon / evening. The tree shown in the sketch is still there, but several others have grown up too.
The only other appearance of this sketch in Wainwright’s published works is on page 366 of Westmorland Heritage. This is a cut down version, showing just the cave and not its environs. Wainwright did sometimes literally cut previous sketches to pieces, to use as material in other publications. He describes Loughrigg Cave as “a manmade cavern of imposing proportions”, created by quarrying. The product was used for roofing slate, and the place was known as Loughrigg Quarry when it was in production (19th century).
Comments: I have known the “big cave” for many years, but first visited it to get a picture for this project on Good Friday, 18th April 2014. Sheelagh Hughes Hallett and I were on our way back from an art exhibition at Grasmere village hall. It was a glorious day, with lots of people about, and impossible to avoid getting some of them in the photo, but they add scale. The cave was “closed” for a while due to rockfall, but now there are no difficulties about accessing it to appreciate its grand scale, the echoes, and the small fish that dart in the shallows.