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Harter Fell - Eskdale



Mick Knapton

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Height: 653m (2,142ft) GPS: SD 21881 99718 Walking Routes

Harter Fell is a mountain of 649 m (2128 ft) in the western part of the English Lake District located between the Eskdale and Duddon valleys.

The headwaters of the Esk and Duddon are separated by a ridge falling south west from the summit of Crinkle Crags. This line of high ground continues over many twists and turns for 15 miles, finally meeting the sea on the slopes of Black Combe.

From Crinkle Crags the first fells on this ridge are Hard Knott and Harter Fell, separated by Hardknott Pass. From Harter Fell the ridge continues over Green Crag, Great Worm Crag, Yoadcastle, Whitfell, Buck Barrow and Black Combe.

To the north of Harter Fell is Hardknott Pass joining Eskdale with the Duddon Valley. There is a steep single-track motor road over the pass with gradients of up to 30% (1 in 3), reaching a maximum height of 393 m (1,290 ft).

The Hardknott Roman Fort stands at a height of approximately 200 m (650 ft) on the lower slopes of the western ridge as it descends into Eskdale. A roman road from Ravenglass to Ambleside once crossed the pass, although, by a slightly different route.

From the top of the pass a complex series of grassy knolls firms up into a ridge bearing south westward. This steps upward, first over Horsehow Crags and then the impressive gable-end of Demming Crag, before reaching the summit area. Further outcropping rock occurs on all sides, although, little of it is of interest to climbers.

Notable features are Maiden Castle, Brandy Crag and Mart Crag to the south east and Kepple Crag to the south. To the southwest is a broad and marshy saddle leading onto Green Crag and the moorlands of Birker Fell, the ongoing watershed.

The southern and eastern flanks are heavily forested with conifers, legions of Forestry Commission trees sweeping down into the Duddon valley.

Harter Fell appears in most views as a conical hill, unsurprising given its broadly circular contours. Wainwright paid it perhaps the ultimate accolade, stating that "Not many fells can be described as beautiful, but the word fits Harter Fell, especially so when viewed from Eskdale."

The summit area bears three rocky tors, the middle one of which is the highest. An Ordnance Survey triangulation column stands on the western outcrop and all three provide pleasant scrambling.

From its summit there is an excellent view of the ring of fells known as the Eskdale Horseshoe comrising Sca Fell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Great End, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

To the south are the sands of the Duddon estuary and Morecambe Bay and to the west the Irish Sea and Isle of Man.

From Eskdale, Harter Fell can be climbed from Jubilee Bridge in the west or from the summit of Hardknott Pass in the east.

From the Duddon, walkers can make use of the car parking at Birks Bridge. This provides a reasonably direct line from the west.

An alternative is to start from Fickle Steps and circuit clockwise around the fell to join the path from Jubilee Bridge.

Harter Fell forms the final challenge in the Woolpack walk when tackled in its usual direction.


Walking routes near Harter Fell - Eskdale


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