I’d heard about a paper bridge being built in Grisedale as part of the Lakes Ignite Culture festival, so thought I would check it out. You can read the news release about it here.
I had parked in Patterdale overnight so that I got an early start and got up at 6 am after yesterday’s experience and the sky was already bright but no sun, but it looked promising so I set off the 2-3 miles up Grisedale to where the bridge has been built.
I love Grisedale, it’s my favourite route to Helvellyn as there’s no through road so only foot traffic apart from the odd farm vehicle.
The walk was very pleasant as the sun came out a few minutes after leaving the van and with a strong breeze it made for lovely walking conditions. Jack of course was more interested in the sheep than anything else but he stayed close to the track.
You can see in the photo that the weather over Helvellyn was still dark and brooding, in fact several times I felt spots of rain falling but the sun from behind me kept the clouds at bay.
This is a longish view as I approached the bridge to give you an overview of it’s geographic location. Some people have loudly criticised the fact that it is 3 miles along the valley but the whole purpose of the bridge is to tease people into exploring places they haven’t been before. From Patterdale there is road for a mile or so and then a very good track the rest of the way to the bridge so it’s not like it’s hard going. The views are tremendous and who knows, it might encourage people to come out more and enjoy the lakes.
1 other person passed me on the way there and from a distance I saw him clambering about the bridge. It stands out a mile with it being bright red but the last hundred yards to it are sodden ground so by the time we got there Jack was muddy up to his belly. What a sight.
Yes, that bridge is made up of 4 tons of paper, the sheets compressed and shaped into an arch. Clever engineering for paper but for at least 1,000 years this is how bridges and other structures were made: no nails, no glue, no mortar, not even dovetail joints.
I took a closer shot here so that you can see the individual sheets of paper even from about 60 feet. I’m not sure I’d call it art, but it certainly is an attraction.
I chose the right time of day too. Friends who took photos later on have crowds of people in which shows that as an attraction it has worked.