Drawing 349: Langdale Pikes from Side Pike

Direction of view: NNW

Notes: In winter, the foreground goes into shadow early afternoon.

This view also appears on page 24 of Fellwalking with a Camera, and a reduced size version of the sketch is on page 139 of Memoirs of a Fellwanderer.  The photograph is very hazy, and has a foreground of heather and rocks; lacking a foreground, the sketch seems more immediate and punchy.

Comments: My first attempt was taken on 6th February 2012: see Drawing 1.  As there is no foreground in the drawing, it is difficult to be sure of the exact viewpoint, and I was rushing to beat the shadows which were consuming the valley and threatening to creep up the fellside.  However, with new snow, it still looked good.

I visited the location again on 27th February 2015 with David Johnson (see Drawing 255 for an account).  Conditions were quite different, but this is a magnificent view: probably the most impressive of all viewpoints for the Langdale Pikes.

One of the first recorded ascents of the Pikes was on 7th November 1797 by Captain Joseph Budworth, with local lad Paul Postlethwaite as guide.  Budworth was one of the earliest visitors to write about the district, and perhaps the first person to respond to the fells as a physical challenge; and his exploits were the more remarkable in that he only had one arm.  He wrote that the descent was over “a large bulging part of the mountain, across a sward nearly perpendicular, and of immoderate height” (the slope above Dungeon Ghyll, perhaps).  Budworth tied up his right eye so he could not see the drop, and held out his staff for the guide to lead him across the slope.