Haweswater from Harter Fell

Harter Fell Mardale

Route: Harter Fell Mardale

Area: Far Eastern Lake District

Date of walk: 29th July 2020

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 4.9 miles

Ascent: 1,800 feet

Weather: Mixed cloud and sunshine

There are two Harter Fells in the Lake District. The subject of today’s walk was Harter Fell Mardale, in the far east of the Lake District. I was last here 6 years ago, as part of the Kentmere Horseshoe Round, so a return visit was long overdue

I parked in the car park at Mardale Head (a voluntary £2 payment is suggested). I passed through the deer gate and almost immediately turned left, following a signed path to Gatesgarth Pass. I’d previously decided to walk the route in a clockwise direction, as recommended by Alfred Wainwright, in order to keep the best views ahead of me. This proved to be excellent advice, and in turn I’d recommend anyone following this walk to do likewise

The path was easy to follow and the gradient wasn’t steep, so it was a fairly easy ascent to the top of Gatesgarth Pass. I turned right here and followed a path over Little Harter Fell, which leads to the summit of Harter Fell. There were ever improving views over Haweswater along the way. From the summit I could see a host of lakeland fells, including the Scafells in the distance. The descent route is not immediately obvious and involves leaving the line of the fence and walking in the direction of the Scafells. After a short distance the descent route to Nan Bield Pass reveals itself. It’s quite a steep and rocky descent but there are no difficulties or dangers

I was glad to have taken Wainwwright’s advice, as the views ahead of me were superb. These included four bodies of water – Kentmere Reservoir, Blea Water, Small Water and Haweswater. On reaching Nan Bield Pass I descended to Small Water and walked beside its northern shore. At the foot of the tarn I crossed Small Water Beck via the stepping stones and followed the path beside the beck back to Mardale Head

The history of Haweswater, the scenic highlight of the walk, is a long and fascinating one. To learn more about it, click here

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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