Drawing 94: Blea Water, High Street

Direction of view: ENE

Notes: The exact foreground is debateable, but it is on the approach to Mardale Ill Bell from High Street, where there are lots of rock and grass foregrounds.

This picture does not appear in any of Wainwright’s other published works.

Comments: I first took this picture on 15th July 2012, on a walk with Peter and Ruth Messenger.  We didn’t have much time to hunt for the right foreground, but were certainly in the right area.  However, the light was very flat, and the picture isn’t shown here. My next visit was on 10th February 2016 on a walk over High Street from Nan Bield to Kidsty Pike with Peter Watson (see 147 for an account of that day).  Snow on the ground and a bitter wind didn’t make it easy to find the foreground on this occasion either, but the picture was brighter and better.

Let me add here a note about how I managed my project.  I used an old “one inch” Ordnance Survey map of the Lake District, and 400 small round white stickers, each of them numbered and stuck on the map at the location of the viewpoints (according to AW) for the sketches.  This enabled me, when planning any walk, to ensure I took all relevant sketches with me.  I photocopied all 400 sketches, and took the relevant pages on my forays; these were then used in the field to note down the direction of view, location of viewpoint etc.

I adopted a scoring system for my photographs: marks out of 10 for accuracy to the sketch, and marks out of 10 for quality of the photograph (eg flat light or low sun in the camera lens would result in a low “quality” score).  When I got home and downloaded the photos, they were scored and entered on a spreadsheet, with an overall maximum of 20 points. Fourteen points or below equated to not good enough; 15 – 17 points meant acceptable, and 18 – 20 points meant a good picture.  “Good” meant a clear and accurate shot, well illustrating the current appearance of the view from Wainwright’s viewpoint.  The circular white stickers were marked up, so I could see at a glance which photos I needed to improve upon.

As I approached the end of the project, I created a table in Word showing the remaining pictures I needed, and whether they were sketches I’d never photographed before, or ones where an improvement was required.  As and when I got them, they were ticked off.  As 2018 drew to a close and 2019 began, friends found me increasingly single-minded about where I wanted to go walking, especially if good weather was forecast!

Along the way, I got clues about viewpoints etc from photographs taken by others, particularly Peter Messenger, who generously loaned me his entire collection of slides, and members of The Wainwright Society, who were sending me their pictures for the Society’s Sketchbook Project.