Drawing 256: Packhorse Bridge, Low Hartsop

Direction of view: SE

Notes: The location is adjacent to the car park at the top of Hartsop hamlet.  The environs of the bridge are now very overgrown with trees and the view of Gray Crag totally obscured in summer; only partially visible in winter / early Spring.  The bridge now has iron railings. The stream is Pasture Beck, just below its confluence with Hayeswater Gill.

This view appears on page 331 of Westmorland Heritage, and is Lakeland Mountain Drawing 12.  The mountain drawing is a new drawing, but identical in content to this sketch, except that there are three cows, rather than two, in the field on the left!

Comments: Wainwright writes in relation to this sketch that the old packhorse bridges of Lakeland “must be jealously preserved”, but this one is very overgrown, and “adorned” with iron railings, so that its beauty is scarcely visible.  Photographs by Joseph Hardman show that the area was once much more open.

I first took this picture on slide film on 4th April 1977: one of eight sketches that Peter Messenger and I managed to squeeze in before a round of the Kentmere horseshoe (when we got two more!).  It was a clear morning, but the weather deteriorated as the day progressed.

I took the picture again on slide film on 11th April 1978, prior to a very long hike over the Helvellyn and Fairfield ranges: a cold day, with snow quite deep in places.

I didn’t get an adequate picture on digital until 26th March 2019, when I visited Hartsop with Anne Setright and took this photograph and that for 305.  Earlier in the day we had got 229 and 93.  It was the last day of a very successful long weekend in the Lake District, to celebrate Anne’s birthday.