Drawing 236: The cliffs of Fairfield
Direction of view: E
Notes: The viewpoint is near the summit of Fairfield. Note that the sketch has no skyline in it. This view appears as Lakeland Mountain Drawing 418, it is on page 59 of Wainwright in Lakeland, page 326 of Westmorland Heritage, and page Fairfield 14 in The Eastern Fells. Looking at the mountain drawing, one can hardly believe that this was Wainwright’s deliberate attempt to draw the same view with a different atmosphere; sadly, it is much more likely to be evidence of his failing eyesight (see drawing 237).
Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 11th April 1978, on a “mammoth fell walk, exhilarating but very tiring”. The walk was from Patterdale, over Hart Side, Raise, then the Helvellyn tops to Dollywaggon Pike, Seat Sandal, Fairfield and Saint Sunday Crag. I was on my own, and this was the only sketch I took. The weather was mixed as a glorious morning turned into a snowstorm, and there was plenty of snow on the ground.
My next attempt, also on slide film, was on 10th July 1982, on a walk with Peter Messenger. We went up Dovedale to Dove Crag, then over to Fairfield and St Sunday Crag and down over Birks and Arnison Crag. By the time we reached Fairfield, it was a beautiful afternoon, and in the day as a whole we got five drawings: 140 of Brothers Water, 73 of Dovedale, this and 236 on Fairfield, and 78 of Ullswater from St Sunday Crag.
I took this picture on digital on 11th March 2014 – see 41 for an account of that day. I saw two birds of prey over Fairfield’s crags (peregrines?) – it looked like they were preparing to nest.