Drawing 8: Dow Crag, Coniston

Direction of view: SW

Notes: The viewpoint is on the path from Goat’s Hause to Coniston Old Man, where it curves to the right.  A wide angle lens is required.  Wainwright’s photograph of this scene is on page 51 of Fellwalking with a Camera.  This gives a great opportunity to see how Wainwright transformed a photograph into a drawing; in this case a flat white sky in the photograph has become full of interest in the drawing.  Several such juxtapositions of drawings and photographs can be found in Memoirs of a Fellwanderer.

Comments: I first took this picture on 25th July 2015, on a walk visiting eight sketch locations in the Coniston fells (see 156 and 290 for more details).  A beautiful sunny morning had clouded over by the time I reached this point, though there were still sunny intervals.  I walked past the viewpoint initially without being sure about it, and eventually returned to it after visiting the summit of the Old Man.  A short wait in the cold wind yielded a decent picture.  As I waited, a large party of walkers passed by, obviously on a works’ outing, as they were all discussing various contractual woes!

AW comments that “Dow Crag is one of the earliest major rock climbing grounds, the pioneers being drawn mainly from the Furness area conveniently near, and has remained one of the most popular”.  This story is well told in Harry Griffin’s book The Coniston Tigers.

A prominent landmark at the foot of the crag is a stretcher box, painted blue, which was originally provided by the Barrow Mountaineering and Ski Club as a memorial to two of their members who died in an avalanche on Helvellyn.  In 2018 the box was replaced with a new one by Coniston Mountain Rescue Team.