|Striding Edge, as seen from the Nethermost Pike path.|
|Helvellyn summit looking back to Glenridding, and Charles Gough's route|
Striding Edge with the rise to the Gough Memorial stone, likely the area of his fall.
|Coming off Striding Edge for the final summit climb, where Gough would have fallen|
|Looking back along 'The Edge'.|
|Picture of the supposed scene, by Sir Edward Landseer, depicting the faithful Foxie never leaving her master.|
Local people quickly dispelled this as a likely version of events, stating that it would have maintained itself from carcasses of dead sheep that would be in the area and the worrying of the corpse would be from carrion that thrived in the area. Thus the scene was set for the romantic tale that led to two of the great poets of the time to write on the subject, Sir Walter Scott and Wordsworth.
Sir Walter Scott - Helvellyn
I climbed the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn,
Lakes and mountains beneath me gleamed misty and wide;
All was still, save by fits, when the eagle was yelling,
And starting around me the echoes replied.
On the right, Striden-edge round the Red-tarn was bending,
And Catchedicam its left verge was defending,
One huge, nameless rock in the front was ascending,
When I marked the sad spot where the wanderer had died.
Dark green was that spot 'mid the brown mountain heather,
Where the pilgrim of nature lay stretched in decay,
Like the corpse of an outcast abandoned to weather,
Till the mountain-winds wasted the tenantless clay.
Nor yet quite deserted, though lonely extended,
For, faithful in death, his mute favourite attended,
The much-loved remains of her master defended,
And chased the hill-fox and the raven away.
How long didst thou think that his silence was slumber?
When the wind waved his garment, how oft didst thou start?
How many long days and long weeks didst thou number,
Ere he faded before thee, the friend of thy heart?
And, oh! was it meet, that—no requiem read o'er him,
No mother to weep, and no friend to deplore him,
And thou, little guardian, alone stretched before him—
Unhonoured the pilgrim from life should depart?
When a prince to the fate of the peasant has yielded,
The tapestry waves dark round the dim-lighted hall;
With scutcheons of silver the coffin is shielded,
And pages stand mute by the canopied pall;
Through the courts, at deep midnight, the torches are gleaming;
In the proudly arched chapel the banners are beaming;
Far adown the long aisle sacred music is streaming,
Lamenting a chief of the people should fall.
But meeter for thee, gentle lover of nature,
To lay down thy head like the meek mountain lamb,
When, wildered, he drops from some cliff huge in stature,
And draws his last sob by the side of his dam.
And more stately thy couch by this desert lake lying,
Thy obsequies sung by the gray plover flying,
With but one faithful friend to witness thy dying
In the arms of Helvellyn and Catchedicam.
Wordsworth however did allude to the practical question of nourishment in his final verse of:
A barking sound the Shepherd hears,
A cry as of a Dog or Fox;
He halts, and searches with his eyes
Among the scatter'd rocks:
And now at distance can discern
A stirring in a brake of fern;
From which immediately leaps out
A Dog, and yelping runs about.
The Dog is not of mountain breed;
It's motions, too, are wild and shy;
With something, as the Shepherd thinks,
Unusual in its' cry:
Nor is there any one in sight
All round, in Hollow or on Height;
Nor shout, nor whistle strikes his ear;
What is the Creature doing here?
It was a Cove, a huge Recess,
That keeps till June December's snow;
A lofty Precipice in front,
A silent Tarn  below!
Far in the bosom of Helvellyn,
Remote from public Road or Dwelling,
Pathway, or cultivated land;
From trace of human foot or hand.
There, sometimes does a leaping Fish
Send through the Tarn a lonely chear;
The Crags repeat the Raven's croak,
In symphony austere;
Thither the Rainbow comes, the Cloud;
And Mists that spread the flying shroud;
And Sun-beams; and the sounding blast,
That, if it could, would hurry past,
But that enormous Barrier binds it fast.
Not knowing what to think, a while
The Shepherd stood: then makes his way
Towards the Dog, o'er rocks and stones,
As quickly as he may;
Nor far had gone before he found
A human skeleton on the ground,
Sad sight! the Shepherd with a sigh
Looks round, to learn the history.
From those abrupt and perilous rocks,
The Man had fallen, that place of fear!
At length upon the Shepherd's mind
It breaks, and all is clear:
He instantly recall'd the Name,
And who he was, and whence he came;
Remember'd, too, the very day
On which the Traveller pass'd this way.
But hear a wonder now, for sake
Of which this mournful Tale I tell!
A lasting monument of words
This wonder merits well.
The Dog, which still was hovering nigh,
Repeating the same timid cry,
This Dog had been through three months' space
A Dweller in that savage place.
Yes, proof was plain that since the day
On which the Traveller thus had died
The Dog had watch'd about the spot,
Or by his Master's side:
How nourish'd here through such long time
He knows, who gave that love sublime,
And gave that strength of feeling, great
Above all human estimate.
|The erection of the Memorial Stone to Charles Gough on Helvellyn. Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley stands behind the stone, facing the camera.|
|The Gough Memorial now. (sorry about the muzzle!)|
In an article from The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald of 1903 it was said that Rawnsley had been fortunate enough to have spoken to the son of the man who found Gough's body. His father had told him that he was up the fell the same day as he met Wordsworth, Scott and Davy. Scott was going down to see the very spot where Gough came to rest. His father took Scott down and Scott then sat on a 'girt stane, and just luikt, an' luikt, an' luikt'. Rawnsley himself became interested and went and found the stone and green area, which could not be seen from above. Scott himself was to descriptively refer to: 'The dark green in the brown mountain heather.' One would expect that now the location of the body coming to rest was identified to these academics, then this would in turn be passed on, until Rawnsley was later in possession of the knowledge and therefor know where to best place the memorial.