8th June 2007

A hot afternoon on Harter Fell and Hardknott Pass


Walk Overview
Time 13.30 to 16.35
Duration 3 hr 5 min
Distance 4.9 mile
Ascent 2050 ft
Walking with On my own
Jubilee bridge - Harter Fell - Hardknott Pass - Hardknott Roman Fort - Jubilee Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Jubilee Bridge, Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass has got to be one of the steepest and most difficult roads in the country. In fact, many people make the effort to drive all the way around to this part of the Lake District just to face the challenge. I should point out that this road can be extremely dangerous during the winter months and is best avoided altogether if the weather is at all frosty. I was caught out myself on one occasion when using the route as a shortcut over to Cockley Beck. Just above the steepest of the bends the road turned into an ice rink and I had no alternative than to reverse back down until I reached a convenient turning place; not an experience I'm keen to repeat.

The car park has room for about ten cars, but should you find it full, there is usually room a little further along the road into Eskdale.

Route Map

As if parking isn't difficult enough in the Lake District, I find five cars taking up the space of about double that amount. There's more than enough room here for cars to park facing across the road. All it takes is a little bit of thought and the "there's never any where to park in the Lakes" problem that people have wouldn't be quite so bad.
I'd clamp every one of them or better still tow them away to make room for people who know how to park properly.

Well, now I've got that out of my system I can get on with the rest of the walk !
Border End and Hard Knott seen above the twisting Hardknott Pass.

The view into Upper Eskdale with Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags behind, taken from a little further up the path I'd followed from Jubilee Bridge.

This rather hazy picture is of Eskdale valley itself.

Approaching Harter Fell summit (just out of shot left).

David Mould ( www.fenrunfellwalk.co.uk ) and his son Daniel leaving the summit and heading towards Green Crag, after we'd had a talk about how to avoid the boggy bit on route.
Talk about good timing; David and I had exchanged a couple of emails during the week about doing a walk together while he was here for the weekend, but he'd set off for the Lakes before we managed to get anything sorted. I new however, that he was going to be on Harter Fell early afternoon today, so I headed here on the off chance that we'd bump into each other. As I said "good timing".

Wrynose Bottom with Grey Friar on the right of the picture.

Looking in the same direction as I neared the recently felled woods on route to the top of Hardknott Pass.

And looking across to Grey Friar.

Grey Friar again, this time taken while I was next to one of the small unnamed tarns near Hardknott Pass.

And from the same tarn, with the top of Wrynose Pass ( the lowest point on the skyline ) in the distance.

As I was walking down the road, I thought I'll perch myself on a stone above the sharpest of the hairpin bends on Hardknott Pass and try to get a decent picture of the cars struggling to drive up or better still cars coming in opposite directions and trying to pass each other. I really didn't expect to have to wait for long and it's impatient I know, but I gave up after ten minutes; settling for this picture instead.

A walk or even a drive on Hardknott Pass wouldn't be complete without a look around the Roman fort.
This part of the fort was the bath house. Unfortunately they closed their doors to the public about sixteen or seventeen hundred years ago; which is a shame. It was red hot this afternoon and a soak in the cold room would have been very welcome.

Hardknott Pass seen from the Eastern entrance of the fort.




A dry looking Hardknott Gill in front of Brotherilkeld Farm.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks