Drawing 52: Gimmer Crag, Great Langdale
Direction of view: NW
Notes: This is taken from a thin path, shown on Harrison Stickle page 7 in The Central Fells, but now inconspicuous. Lighting is ok until mid afternoon.
This picture appears on page Loft Crag 2 of The Central Fells, and also in Lakeland Mountain Drawings (126), Wainwright in Lakeland (page 111), Westmorland Heritage (page 214) and Fellwalking with a Camera (page 29). The sketch contains three ephemeral features: two birds in the sky, two walkers approaching the crag, and a sheep in the foreground. In the mountain drawing the birds and walkers are there, but not the sheep. The photograph contains none of these, so it seems likely that the mountain drawing was done from the sketch, not from the original photograph.
Whether AW’s sheep is a “gimmer” is not known. A gimmer is a ewe between its first and second shearing – usually before its first lamb.
Comments: I took this picture on 8th March 2015, on a walk with Peter Messenger. We set out from the Stickle Gill car park, and climbed to Stickle Tarn for sketch 116 and lunch, then proceeded via Bright Beck to Thunacar Knott, Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle for sketch 116, thence descending the Thorn Crag path. By the time we reached this location it was 4pm, and I was sure we would be too late for good lighting, but I was wrong; it was slanting nicely across this face of the crag, picking out the features. A cloudy morning had turned into a glorious afternoon.
The rock-climbing guide to Langdale summarises Gimmer’s appeal: “This huge, barrel-shaped sweep of grey rock, with its contrasting characters and fine situation, is one of the most popular crags in Lakeland”. The first recorded climb there was in 1902. I climbed there myself in the mid 1990s, on the easier routes like Ash Tree Slabs, C Route and D Route. They were quite thrilling enough for me!