Drawing 29: Thornthwaite Crag from Caudale Moor
Direction of view: ESE
Notes: The foreground rocks are on a grassy promontory above Raven Crag, further from the scene pictured than might be thought. Grid reference: NY418110.
This view appears as the frontispiece page to the Thornthwaite Crag chapter in The Far Eastern Fells, in Lakeland Mountain Drawings (11) and on page 326 of Westmorland Heritage. The Lakeland Mountain Drawing uses a different foreground to the distinctive rocks which appear in the other drawings.
Comments: I first took this picture on 11th January 1979, a few days after my (successful!) interview for a legal training contract with Cumbria County Council. Peter Messenger and I ascended via Hartsop Dodd, and also took the sketch of the Mark Atkinson memorial (123). It was a perfect cloudless and windless day, and I recorded in my diary that “the mountain views were as good as I’ve ever seen”; and there was “a marvellous descent down the ridge to Brothers Water, with the fells magical in the failing light”.
On 5th September 2013, a forecast of improving afternoon weather tempted me out to Hartsop, with its three sketches, and then up Gray Crag and via Threshthwaite Mouth to Caudale Moor for sketch 123. I then moved on to look for this one, exploring the edge of the crags above Threshthwaite Glen. Several rocks looked promising but turned out to be not quite right, and I thought I had gone too far north when I found them above Raven Crag. The weather had remained resolutely overcast but it was satisfying to have found the right location.
I didn’t return until 4th July 2018, a glorious summer’s day. I set out from Kirkstone Pass, and got sketch 123 and attempted 269, before re-finding these rocks. I stopped for lunch to let the sun swing round a bit, and then got the shot I wanted. Wainwright’s drawing is special: it’s one thing to catch the craggy mountain atmosphere with striking images, but another to so completely capture these rounded shapes, with so little contrast to exploit.