Drawing 273: Raw Head, Great Langdale

Direction of view: NW

Notes: The viewpoint is in the car park at Raw Head.  Parked cars can be a problem in standing far enough back.  The building hasn’t changed, but there are fewer tall pines behind it.  Raw Head is owned by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District (FRCC).

The only other appearance of this scene in Wainwright’s published works is on page 202 of Westmorland Heritage: a different, and much smaller drawing.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 29th June 1977 (image 1).  Peter Messenger and I had spent the night in a tent on the summit of Helm Crag, and were up very early.  Mist lay in the valleys below, but soon cleared with the sunshine.  We then had one of our greatest bonanzas of sketches snapped – 14 in the day in Ambleside and Great and Little Langdale, then over the passes to Eskdale.

Wednesday 10th September 2014 was one of a succession of lovely autumn days, and I decided to spend the afternoon hunting down a few sketches in Great Langdale.  I parked at Stickle Ghyll, and started from there, my first sketch being the Robertson Lamb Hut, which is across the road from Raw Head.  I then moved on to Raw Head itself (image 2), where some FRCC Members were sitting in the sun reading the papers.

I chatted to them for a while; one transpired to be the Club Secretary (Mr. Carr).  I explained the Sketchbook Project, and we also chatted about the history of the Fell & Rock, since I was currently working on cataloguing the collection of their papers which is held at the County Archives in Kendal (I had in fact just catalogued the papers relating to the Club’s acquisition of Raw Head).  With permission, I took my photo, which was the 200th sketch taken on digital, and therefore the half way point in tracking them all down.

I then walked back down the road to Dungeon Ghyll, and visited sketches 27 (Middlefell Farm) and 10 (Pike o’ Stickle & Loft Crag).  A very pleasant afternoon.  Walking back to Stickle Ghyll, I met Mr Carr and companion heading for the bar at the Old Dungeon Ghyll!

Whilst helping to catalogue the archives of the FRCC at the Record Office in Kendal, I found the appeal for funds launched by the Club when they were seeking to buy the property.  This features a line drawing which it is interesting to compare with Wainwright’s (image 3).