Drawing 73: Dove Crag

Direction of view: WSW

Notes: The viewpoint is not on the public right of way through Dovedale, as shown on the O.S. map, but is on Wainwright’s route (Dove Crag 4) just above the intake wall.  This path branches right (inconspicuous initially) just beyond Hartsop Hall.  Best lighting in the morning.

This scene appears twice in Lakeland Mountain Drawings: as drawing 416 and as the frontispiece to volume 4. The representation of Dove Crag is quite different between the two drawings.  It is also the title page to the Dove Crag chapter in The Eastern Fells.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 10th July 1982, on a walk with Peter Messenger: see Drawing 41.

On 13th August 2014, Peter Watson and I set off up Dovedale in search of the “Priest’s Hole” cave on Dove Crag.  We aimed to get this shot en route, but it was soon obvious that the viewpoint was above the intake wall, whilst we were in the valley bottom.  It was a good walk nevertheless, and we enjoyed the trip up to the cave, where harebells and alpine lady’s mantle grew in cracks in the rock.  We continued to the summit of Dove Crag, and on to Hart Crag, then down the ridge over Hartsop above How.  Then we descended a steep grassy slope between crags to the intake wall, and soon found the location of the sketch.  The grassy slope, too, was thick with flowers we would never have seen but for the search for the sketch location, and the whole day had a mildly adventurous feel.

Wainwright comments that “the overhanging cliff of Dove Crag [is] inaccessible to all but the most expert of rock climbers”.  The climbing guide says: “this magnificent crag is one of the most impressive pieces of rock in the district, its central and right-hand sections being sheer or overhanging for much of their height”.  Sure enough, most of the climbs are graded Extremely Severe.