Drawing 328: Swindale Head
Direction of view: S
Notes: This picture is located at the very end of the public road down Swindale. There is limited turning or parking, and it is best to leave the car at the last parking spot, approx. 1.5 miles back down the valley. Lighting will be best in the early evening of a summer’s day.
Comments: I first took this picture on 27th December 2015, on a day out with Sheelagh Hughes Hallett. After dreadful weather for most of the month, there was finally a bright day, and we visited the Lake Artists Society winter exhibition at Rheged (and bought a ceramic cat!) before heading for Swindale. The low sun was already dipping below Swindale’s skyline shortly after 2pm, as I hurried along the road to check out this sketch and 393. At Swindale Head, I took several pictures, then some sheep suddenly appeared, and gazed at me hopefully. Although not in the sketch, they were a good addition, as shown above.
The farm was quite dilapidated when Peter Messenger took this picture in the late 1970s .
However, renovation works had markedly improved its appearance by the time of my next visit, which was on 10th May 2018, with David Johnson (editor of Footsteps magazine). We had decided to walk up Swindale to get this sketch and 393. It was a lovely Spring day, with the lane down Swindale fringed with violets and primroses. We continued our walk beyond Swindale Head to the waterfalls, which were magnificent, and then up the valley beyond to Mosedale Cottage, returning via Howes and Nabs Moor. We saw a dramatic aerial battle between a buzzard and a raven, and generally enjoyed a delightful afternoon in a valley which is often overlooked, but is genuine Lakeland in character. The best lighting for both sketches was as we returned to our car at the end of the walk, as shown here.
The only other place in Wainwright’s published works where this view can be found is on page 387 of Westmorland Heritage, where the sketch is cut down to omit the wall in the left foreground.