Drawing 386: Ashness Bridge

Direction of view: N

Notes: This scene has changed very little; the main challenge is not to get any people or cars in the photograph!  Less of the lake is visible than in AW’s drawing, due to tree growth.

This view also appears as Lakeland Mountain Drawing 261 (a different drawing of a virtually identical scene), on page 44 of Fellwalking with a Camera, page 193 of Memoirs of a Fellwanderer, and page 84 of Wainwright in Lakeland. The bridge was an essential link in the old fell route between Keswick and Ambleside.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 2nd November 1986, a day in the Lake District with Sheelagh Hughes Hallett – a perfect autumn day of vivid colours and sunshine, with excellent visibility, and with snow on the higher fells.  We did a circular walk by Castle Head, Friar’s Crag, Ashness Bridge and Walla Crag, and I also took sketch number 6.

My next picture on slide film, was taken on Boxing Day 1993 on a walk from Ashness Bridge with Andrew Amos and Peter and Ruth Messenger.  We climbed High Seat – my favourite fell – and went on to Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag, a walk of great beauty over familiar fells transformed by winter snow.

Having visited Ashness Bridge many other times, and indeed first fallen in love with Lakeland on an ascent of High Seat from here, I first took this picture for this project on 7th April 2013, on a day out with Peter and Ruth Messenger.  After a long cold spell it felt Spring-like at last. Other pictures taken this day were 6, 55 and 311. It was a windless day and quite warm; skylarks sang over the fells, and there were many other walkers out.  On Walla Crag, we got the 5th and last sketch of the day (178).  Wainwright’s notes speak of “miles of camera film” being used at Ashness Bridge annually – no longer! Hopefully, his comment about capital punishment for anyone who defaces the bridge was written tongue in cheek.