Drawing 381: Pillar Rock
Direction of view: W
Notes: From near Robinson’s cairn (at the cairn, the foreground outcrop doesn’t line up accurately with the crag). Wainwright’s rocks in the extreme foreground are probably his invention.
This sketch also appears on page 122 of Wainwright in Lakeland, and a photograph is on page 113 of Fellwalking with a Camera. The grass and rocks in the foreground of the sketch are not in the photograph.
Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 3rd August 1979, on a solo walk which I undertook during a youth hostelling trip to the Lake District. From Black Sail Hostel where I had spent the previous night, I went up Black Sail Pass and on to Pillar; then, in deteriorating weather, over Scoat Fell, Red Pike and Yewbarrow, and down the road to the Wasdale hostel.
My next visit was on 27th February 2019 (see 217 for an account of that day). It was actually sunny when I took the picture, but the north face of Pillar is usually in shadow, particularly in winter.
Robinson’s Cairn was built on Easter Saturday 1908, under the direction of W. P. Haskett Smith. JWR climbed Pillar Rock over 100 times, and discovered the High Level Route.
Just below the cairn is a plaque, which reads as follows: “For remembrance of John Wilson Robinson of Whinfell Hall in Lorton who died 1907 at Brigham one hundred of his comrades and friends raised this. He knew and loved as none other these his native crags and fells whence he drew simplicity, strength and charm. ‘We climb the hill: from end to end / Of all the landscape underneath / We find no place that does not breathe / Some gracious memory of our friend.’”
Wainwright was born in 1907, and certainly took on that knowledge and love of the fells.