Drawing 77: Slater’s Bridge, Little Langdale

Direction of view: NW

Notes: The viewpoint is on the south side of the river.  The tree by the bridge has grown up, obscuring some of the fellside behind.

This scene is also sketch number 3 in A Furness Sketchbook, and appears on page 216 of Westmorland Heritage, and page 59 of Fellwalking with a Camera.  The Furness sketch contains a lot more detail of the fell in the background than does the Lakeland sketch, but both are very true to the photograph in other details.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 29th June 1977: see Drawing 45.  The result, however, was rather blurred.  My next visit was on 4th May 1981 with Peter Messenger, when we got four sketches, including this one, before exploring the Little Langdale quarries and ascending Wetherlam.  It was a day of cold winds, with cloudy and sunny intervals, and image 1 captures this.

I took this photo for this digital project on 4th August 2014.  Anne Setright and I were spending a long weekend at nearby Elterwater Park.  Slater’s Bridge is a busy spot, and we had to wait awhile for the combination of sunshine and no-one standing in the view.  We both took pictures in good conditions, then I realised my camera was still switched to manual, and my last picture had been inside Cathedral Cave!  A further wait, and the sun shone again, but not quite so brightly, so Anne got the better picture, whilst I cursed my carelessness! Image 2 was the best I was going to get that day.

The bridge is a remarkable example of the simplicity and robustness of an arch.  The stones seem hardly to have been dressed.  Wainwright’s drawing certainly does full justice to this classic Lakeland scene.