Thursday, 19 February 2015

A lost Lakeland Memorial?

In posh language 'while researching' or in the common tongue 'playing around on the internet', I came across this article in The Fell and Rock Climbing Club Journal of 1907, page 40:-

On May 1, 1878, this fine old mountaineer, then in his eighty-second year, fell a victim to his passion for climbing. He started for Wastdale, provided with poles and ropes, intending to ascend the Rock ; but as he did not return, search parties were organised, and on the second day his body, was found in a large hollow called Great Doup, somewhat to the east of the Rock. The 1st of May had been misty, and it was evident he had approached too near the edge of the precipice, had lost his balance, and had fallen a distance of about three hundred feet. In a bottle in his pocket, which he had intended to leave on the Rock, were these lines: 

'Two elephantine properties are mine, 
For I can bend to pick up pin or plack; 
And when this year the Pillar Rock I Climb 
Fourscore and two's the howdah on my back'.

Two years later two veteran lovers, of the Lake Mountains (Mr. F. H. Bowring and the late Mr. J. Maitland, who had been playfully appointed " presumptive patriarch " by Mr. Jackson) placed a cairn and iron cross on the spot where the old man's body was found.*

In a footnote later the following appears:-

The Cairn and Cross came to grief during subsequent winter storms, but on August 16th, 1906 , a more lasting Memorial was undertaken. Mr. Baumgartner , in conjunction with Mr. J. W. Robinson and Mr . George Seatree, had the initials J. J. and the date 1878 chiselled on the face of the nearest suitable rock by Mr. Benson Walker , marble mason, Cockermouth . Mr. Benson found the rock to be very hard, but in a few hours an effective memorial was completed.-ED (Editor).

Another enlightening article on this exceptional individual is:

Initials and a date one would expect to be a lasting tribute, as the one to The Scafell Tragedy is at the base of Lords Rake. Another is the 'Brothers Parting' Wordsworth Poem carved on a rock in the Grisedale Valley, yet I can find no reference or image to this memorial on the internet. It seems a mistery, but worth a hunt and a reason to take to the fells.

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