Harter Fell

David Edgar

In his 'Pictorial Guides', A. Wainwright describes in detail 214 fells in the English Lake District. My target was to walk up all of them, over a number of years. Here's my account of my last two.

With about 50 Wainwright summits left to do in mid-1999, I decided Harter Fell (the one in Eskdale, not the one above Kentmere) would be my last. Over three weekends in autumn 2000 I completed the last few summits. I did the fells above Longsleddale, and several around Red Screes one weekend, and a few remaining fells in the west, between Wasdale and Ennerdale the next weekend. (On the way down from Grike I passed a lone bagpiper half-way up the mine track.) The final weekend was kept for the two remaining fells.

Saturday 7th October brought fairly nasty weather - and a lot of transport problems. I eventually walked from Ambleside over Wrynose Pass and Hard Knott Pass to Eskdale Youth Hostel, doing Hard Knott itself on the way. All day was spent in the mist and rain, in spite of never being very high up.

The morning of Sunday 8th was a lot better. There was some wind, and the threat of rain later on, but the mist was confined to the tops of the Scafells. It didn't take too long to reach Green Crag, and taking a fairly direct route (across a boggy col), getting to the slopes of Harter Fell was quick. A straight-forward ascent led to the two-hundred-and-fourteenth summit.

Harter Fell is a good fell - worth the choice as final fell. In particular it has the benefit of possessing a great rocky summit. I planned to take a photo of myself standing right on the top - but realised when I got there that this could be difficult, as standing on the top in the wind was a bit precarious without having to deal with a camera too. There probably wouldn't have been any of the summit in the photograph anyway.

After a bit of a break I headed down to the north, to reach the Hard Knott pass road once more. Yesterday's rain returned as I got to the road, and the afternoon conditions were mixed. A mainly road-based walk led me back over the passes; living in London, transport options were limited and I had to reach Dungeon Ghyll in time. However, I did take a few footpaths - and as I reached a high-point on one before descending to Langdale, I had a magnificent view of the Langdale Pikes, revealed in detail in what was now late afternoon sunshine. After a pint in the old hotel, I caught the bus and left lakeland - achievement complete - but with a determination to return.

Me, just in front of the summit of Harter Fell
In front of the summit of Harter Fell.
The trig-point on Harter Fell, with the true summit behind
The trig-point, a few yards in front of the summit.
Looking back on Harter Fell
A view back to Harter Fell from the Hard Knott - Wrynose road.
The autumn afternoon sunlight on the Langdale Pikes
The Langdale Pikes, from the south, in the October sun.

© Copyright 2000-2001 David R Edgar