Drawing 268: The summit of Dale Head

Direction of view: NNE       

Notes: The cairn is now considerably taller than that shown in the sketch, and the foreground grass has been worn away by the passage of many boots.

This view also appears on page Dale Head 9 in The North Western Fells.

Comments: My first photograph was on slide film on 16th February 1992, during a fell-top traverse from Honister to Hawse End with Andrew Amos and Peter Messenger.  It was a cold and bright day, with a sprinkling of new snow on the fells, and in the course of the day we bagged three other sketches: 101, 159 and 304.

I took this photo on digital on 31st May 2014 (see Drawing 136 for an account of this day).  When Peter Messenger and I reached the summit of Dale Head, a group of young people were sitting round the cairn; we got chatting to them and took photos for each other before they moved off and we got the sketch photo in nice late afternoon light, though Skiddaw was a touch hazy in the distance.

My parents were both lovers of the countryside, but somehow never got into fellwalking.  We did smaller hills like Binsey and High Rigg together, but I wanted them to experience walking the high tops.  On 11th May 1985, Dad dropped Mum (then aged 63, as I am now) and I off at Honister Pass and we went up Dale Head, because “no other summit of like altitude is reached so quickly and easily from a motor road”.  We reached the top, continued to Hindscarth and descended Scope End; Dad was waiting by Newlands Church.  His high fell experience had been Ben Vrackie in Scotland ten years earlier…