Drawing 41: Helvellyn from Fairfield
Direction of view: NNW
Notes: Taken from near the summit of Fairfield, on the path towards Cofa Pike.
This scene appears in five of Wainwright’s other works: Lakeland Mountain Drawings (20); Fellwanderer (page 34); Memoirs of a Fellwanderer (page 32); Westmorland Heritage (page 32) and Wainwright in Lakeland (page 19). The mountain drawing omits the foreground which is in the sketch, and consequently more of the path up out of Grisedale is in view.
Comments: I first took this picture (image 1) on slide film on 10th July 1982, on a walk with Peter Messenger. We went up Dovedale to Dove Crag, then over to Fairfield and St Sunday Crag and down over Birks and Arnison Crag. By the time we reached Fairfield, it was a beautiful afternoon, and in the day as a whole we photographed five sketches: 140 of Brothers Water, 73 of Dovedale, this and 236 on Fairfield, and 78 of Ullswater from St Sunday Crag.
I took image 2 on my digital camera on 11th March 2014, a simply glorious day. I walked up Deepdale from Bridgend, and up into Link Cove. Getting from there to Hart Crag was seriously difficult, due to hard old snow. I should have had crampons with me. I then walked onto Fairfield, and got this sketch and 236. The ridge to Cofa Pike had an unavoidable patch of steep hard snow – only 20 feet, but not justifiable, so I had to go a long way round and back to outflank it before continuing to St Sunday Crag, and getting sketch 396 on the way back down to Deepdale.
It’s interesting that the path up Dollywaggon Pike is much more obvious on the older photo; quite the opposite of what one would expect, and a tribute to modern path restoration and management.