Drawing 393: Gouther Crag, Swindale
Direction of view: ESE
Notes: The viewpoint is on the Swindale road, about one mile beyond the point where cars should be parked, as there is no parking at the top end of the valley. In some places the foreground wall is much taller than shown in the sketch; in others it has a post and rail wooden fence, so neither is ideal. For the best lighting, this will need a sunny afternoon in late Spring – early Autumn.
The only other place in Wainwright’s published works where this view appears is on page 237 of The Outlying Fells of Lakeland.
Comments: First taken on 27th December 2015 after a visit to the Lake Artists Society winter exhibition at Rheged with Sheelagh Hughes Hallett. 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 327. An improvement was definitely required.
This was duly obtained on 10th May 2018 on a walk with David Johnson (editor of the Wainwright Society’s magazine “Footsteps” and a keen contributor to the Society’s sketchbook project). We chose a viewpoint without the fence, but the picture inevitably looks square in format, whereas AW’s sketch is definitely “landscape”!
The rock climbing guide identifies four separate buttresses: North East, Truss, Fang, and Nymph; and states that “the rock is clean and sound, and provides excellent climbing in a variety of grades”. In this view, North East Buttress is only just in view on the extreme left; the buttress in the centre of the picture is Fang. Diana Whaley (“A Dictionary of Lake District Place Names”) says that the name Gouther Crag means “the rocky height with an echo”. I haven’t tried that out…