Drawing 217: Great Borne and Starling Dodd

Direction of view: NW

Notes: The best viewpoint is just east of the forest road bridge over High Beck. The steep bank beside the track can be surmounted to see as much as possible over the trees; but the River Liza is no longer visible from the forest road at this point.

Wainwright writes: “The transformation of Ennerdale from a beautiful valley to a dense forest is now complete, and is no cause for pride….. This is battery forestry, and because trees have life and dignity it has all the objections of battery farming”. This scene does not appear elsewhere in Wainwright’s published works, although there is a small sketch in the Starling Dodd chapter of The Western Fells that shows Starling Dodd from what appears to be the same viewpoint as this sketch.  A photograph of this view was the very last photograph to be obtained for The Wainwright Society’s Sketchbook Project.

Comments: I took this photo on 27th February 2019.  After a 60 mile drive to Ennerdale, I parked at Bowness Knott.  It was the last day of a long period of beautiful Spring-like weather, and I got an improved photograph of drawing 220 before setting off up the valley. After taking this picture I went up into Pillar Cove for drawings 189, 381 and 100 – all new ones for me. On reaching the summit of Pillar, I found that a huge cloud-bank was moving north, breaking over the Ennerdale ridge from Pillar to Crag Fell – a spectacular sight. Twice I saw a Brocken Spectre.

The cloud started to recede as quickly as it had appeared, and on descending from Scoat Fell there was a beautiful view back to Mirklin Cove, another new sketch for me. At the start of the day there were nine sketches I’d never photographed; at the end of it there were just four.  A highly successful and enjoyable outing.