BB1518 : The Hunt For The Red Paper Bridge

Thursday 21st May 2015

Have you seen the Red Paper Bridge?

That is what Martin asked me last last night.  He said it was up Grizedale (the Westmorland one) and sent me two photographs that he had taken on Monday.

I hadn't.  

I hadn't even heard about it.  

So I made a few enquiries and discovered that it had only been in existence since 11th May and the last day for visiting was Monday 18th May. It would then be dismantled.

There was a glimmer of hope that it might not yet have been removed so John Hn and I decided to pay it a visit.

As we walked up the valley, with one exception, none of the people we met had any idea what we were talking about.  

One lady, though, had chanced upon it last week but had not seen it today. She thought it had been removed.

When we reached the site, well up the valley, that was obviously the case.

There it was; gone.  Apart from the remains of a stone base on each side of the beck and a lot of vehicular ground disturbance.  What a pity the publicity had passed us by otherwise we could have rearranged schedules to make a visit.

What was it?   

A collaboration between the artist, Steve Messam, the specialist papermakers, James Cropper PLC and Lakes Ignite Culture. It was a temporary artwork made for and about the landscape of the Lake District.  You can read all about it on Steve's webpage: PaperBridge.

The reason the PaperBridge was only in position for a few days was partly for artistic reasons and partly due to restrictions from the landowner.  It was not at all due to the fact it was made out of paper- that would have lasted for years outdoors.

I asked Martin how he had heard about it.  He said firstly from the on-line version of The Westmorland Gazette and subsequently on the BBC Northwest news and on Countryfile.  All that publicity had worked for others, it seems, as the village had been overwhelmed at the weekend.

It's a pity we missed it.  Nevertheless, it was still a pleasant stroll up and down the valley.   

Looking up Grisedale for the bridge

John on the vanishing Red Paper Bridge

The hunt for the Red Paper Bridge was not the only, nor indeed the first, expedition of the day.  Earlier we had parked at Glenridding with the intention of climbing Glenridding Dodd to bag another Wainwright for John.

Glenridding washing photo for Margaret

We had some trouble at first because the path on the OS map no longer seemed to exist.  Fortunately we met a lady from one of the cottages nearby who seemed used to people having that predicament and she directed us to the new path.  Apparently the old one was closed due to a landslip over 20 years ago. Some one should tell the Ordnance Survey.  Or perhaps they have and my map is just out of date.

Once on the right track, it was a steep climb up the Rake and onto Glenridding Dodd, which provides an excellent viewpoint over Ullswater.

Next was to be Sheffield Pike.  

The forecast was for incoming heavy cloud and I knew that the approach from the east was one not easily reversed if bad weather set in.

However, it was a glorious day with no sign of problems on the horizon so up we went.

Sheffield Pike from Glenridding Dodd

Previously (BB0825, led by Bryan and Stan), I ascended by a route to the south of Heron Pike.  I wasn't sure that I could find it so opted for what on the map seemed a gentler angle from the north.  It, too, proved quite steep but steered clear of any precipitous drops. Definitely not a route for descending in mist

Ullswater from the ascent of Sheffield Pike

Once the second W of the day had been conquered, there was a decision to make.  The original plan was to head off to Red Tarn below Helvellyn then return over Birkhouse Moor for the third tick of the day.  The alternative was to hunt for the Red Paper Bridge.  Eat first then decide.

The Helvellyn range

Comitibus : Stang End

Eat first- looking down on Glenridding

As you already know, the hunt won.  And lost!

Don, 21st May 2015


PS On the way back, we stopped at the Kirkstone Inn, as much as anything to see if Santa's Reindeer was still on display with the Christmas decorations, as per last summer.  

There he was, though there was no Christmas music playing this time!




Thursday 21st May 2015

Distance in miles:

5.8 & 6.0 = 11.8 (Memory Map)

Height climbed in feet:

1,940 & 679 = 2,619 (Memory Map)


Grisedale Dodd, Sheffield Pike
The Red Paper Bridge. Not!


Don, John


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1518A and bb1518B .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page

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boys. Likewise written comment.

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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2015


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