Drawing 313: Watersmeet, Cockermouth
Direction of view: E
Notes: From Wordsworth’s birthplace, walk towards the centre of town, and take the first left into Bridge Street. Cross the footbridge, and turn right along the riverside. The tree has grown in girth, but is still recognisable. The best lighting is between 1pm and 4pm. This scene does not appear elsewhere in Wainwright’s published works.
Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 5th April 1977. Peter Messenger, Andrew Amos and I were heading for Fellbarrow and Low Fell as a “bad weather alternative”, but managed to get this sketch and 87 (Wordsworth’s birthplace) in reasonable conditions before embarking on the walk.
I visited the scene for the digital project on 14th March 2018. Sheelagh Hughes Hallett and I stayed three nights at the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth – just a short walk from this viewpoint – whilst we celebrated her birthday and visited the “Words by the Water” festival in Keswick. I also took sketch 87 on the same day. It is remarkable how little has changed.
As Wainwright explains, this is the “point of debouchure” of the River Cocker into the River Derwent. Prominent in the sketch is the Jennings Brewery, built in 1874 and now owned by Marstons; Cockermouth Castle can be seen behind it.