Drawing 230: Eel Crags, Newlands
Direction of view: NE
Notes: The viewpoint is some 300 feet below the summit of Dale Head, just off the path down to Dalehead Tarn. Blencathra is visible over the top of Eel Crags, though not shown in the sketch. This view does not appear elsewhere in Wainwright’s published works.
Comments: I took this photo on 31st May 2014 (see drawing 136 for an account of this day). Peter Messenger and I noticed the foreground rocks on our way up Dale Head, and made the slight detour, whilst a young woman from a group just ahead of us fed barbecued chicken to Peter’s dog, Sam! The light was just right, and since it is a fairly close-up view, the general haze was not a problem.
Wainwright mentions that Eel Crags “had hitherto not been considered worthy of serious attention” by rock climbers, but that by 1970 it yielded several good routes. The 1992 rock climbing guide divides the crags into four: Grey Buttress, Red Crag, Waterfall Buttress and Miners Crag. None of the routes hereabouts gets the coveted three stars for quality, but three routes get two stars, and there are eleven one star routes.