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A Newt In Hard Tarn

An Appreciation Of Alfred Wainwright

Derek Cockell


Hard Tarn is situated on a narrow shelf of rock at the foot of the steep crags of Nethermost Pike, high up in the remote, hidden valley of Ruthwaith Cove in Grisedale, in the Lake District. Even today, the tarn has few visitors, the way to it being pathless in its later stages.

It was here that Alfred Wainwright had an encounter with a newt that inhabited the dark waters of the tarn. What could its purpose and mission be, living in the waters of this isolated tarn high up in the mountains? And his contemplation led him to think about himself – these two beings sharing a common bond at that moment. What were his thoughts? If that small creature had a purpose and there was meaning to its life, then how much more did he have a purpose, a mission to fulfil?

This book seeks to define how Wainwright interpreted his vision and purpose through the medium of his books and correspondence with his many admirers. The author explores the beliefs and philosophy shared by Wainwright and the Lake Poets of the Romantic era, covering themes such as Nature and the natural world, landscape, beauty, imagination and the emotions.

The book includes many quotations of Wainwright as well as showcasing his consummate skills as an artist with numerous examples of his pen and ink sketches.




The Wainwright Society



Publication Date:



Hardback; 240 x 165mm




Black and white pen and ink illustrations throughout

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