An Artful Way: Ennerdale water to Pillar Rock

Photograph of Pillar Rock rising above the grassy fellside; on a sunny day

Anna Sharpe is an artist and climber, so it’s not surprising that for her Artful Way she chose to include a climb – and will be following this up with a painting. Here she shares her thoughts on the day, and the three Artful Ways questions.

Anna Sharpe:

Wordsworth does a good job of describing the iconic crag…

You see yon precipice—it almost looks
Like some vast building made of many crags,
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale,
Whence by our Shepherds it is call’d, the Pillar.

— William Wordsworth

Not only did poets engage with the mighty Pillar Rock but it was also a hotspot for the early pioneers of rock climbing in the 1800s. My route took me up ‘The Old West Route’ first climbed in 1826, making it the first recorded rock climb in the Lakes!

Question 1: Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?

For me, creativity is about engaging with ‘an other’ to make something new, be it an art piece or a different way of being-in-the-world. Today I was engaging with Pillar and its history. I was alone, but I was not lonely- I felt close to my predecessors as I became a part of the place’s culture and history.

Question 2: Connectivity – Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect. What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?

Relationships can be with more than just humans, but humans are still the best for sharing a pint with!

Question 3: Place – How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for our environment?

I think the more people experience the environment as something full of wonder that they are enmeshed in (rather than as an external resource), the more people will care for it as a respected and loved extension of their selves.

Photographs by Anna Sharpe

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