Harter Fell

Harter Fell

Route: Harter Fell (Eskdale)

Area: Southern Lake District

Date of walk: 28th March 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.4 miles

Ascent: 1,800 feet

As the crow flies, it’s only 14 miles from our home in the north west Lake District to the start point of the walk, but it took us nearly one and a half hours to get there – numerous intervening fells make this a very circuitous journey

We parked in the small car park at Jubilee Bridge, at the foot of the Hardknott Pass. After crossing a small footbridge over Hardknott Gill we started the ascent, which is initially up an easy slanting path. The going became a little steeper as we rounded a corner near Spothow Gill. There are several faint paths and navigation requires a little more concentration in this area

The weather had been cloudy at the start of the walk but as we approached the summit of Harter Fell, a few gaps opened up in the clouds, shining a welcome spotlight on the surrounding fells. From the summit there were wonderful views, including the Scafell group with some lingering cloud still over their tops

The official summit of the fell is the OS column, but it it surrounded by three nearby crags which are clearly a little higher, and require hands on rock. I’d climbed the highest of the three when last up here, but contented myself with bagging the trig column on this occasion

We then set off on the descent, which is in the direction of the top of the Hardknott Pass. The paths are faint and unclear in this area, sometimes disappearing altogether, only to reappear further down. It’s not a difficult descent in terms of steepness, but it’s important to stay on the correct bearing, which is appoximately north east. We eventually joined the Hardknott Pass near its highest point and, after following the road down for a few yards, joined a signed footpath which leads to the Roman fort of Hardknott Castle

There are some well preserved ruins of this ancient fort, founded in the 2nd century under Hardrian’s rule. We walked around here for a while, wondering what life must have been like for the defenders of the fort, based in such a remote and inhospitable location. Beyond the fort, it’s a short stroll back down to Jubilee Bridge and the end of a superb fell walk

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