16th April 2010

An afternoon on Harter Fell


Walk Overview
Time 13.15 to 15.45
Duration 2 hr 30 min
Distance 4.4 mile
Ascent 1900 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

Right behind the small car park is Hardknott Gill and Jubilee Bridge and in no time at all after crossing them you find yourself on open fellside.

I guess the bridge must have been built (or possibly re-built) in the same year as the Queen's silver jubilee. I was still at school at the time so it's safe to say none of this was of any interest.

Not long after setting out you get fantastic views down the length of Eskdale, , ,

, , , and back towards Upper Eskdale and the higher Lakeland fells.

A rather hazy view across to Green Crag.

Approaching Harter Fell's craggy summit.

Harter Fell is perfectly situated to give superb views in all directions, and although most of the fells you see are much higher, Harter Fell feels no less impressive. This picture shows Dow Crag and Coniston old Man, ,

, , while in the opposite direction, you see a host of fells including Haycock, Pillar, Scafell, Scafell Pike and Esk Pike.

A view down to Cockley Beck and Wrynose Bottom. The fell on the right of the picture is Grey Friar.


Given what this area can be like, I thought I'd done well by getting this far and staying quite dry. All was about to change though; by the time I got to the top of Hardknott Pass I was soaked to the knees and dripping mud off the bottom of my trousers. I suppose it is an occupational hazard when you don't stick to the paths so I can't really blame anyone but myself.

The smaller of the two tarns found close to the top of Hardknott Pass.

Those were the days.


This is the flat (ish) area of ground found just above the fort. It is believed to have been the parade ground for the Roman soldiers stationed here. It is also thought that the area is man made, and if this is the case, those Romans certainly knew what they were doing, because as flat as it is, the whole area was bone dry.

"So, , , apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us"?
"Built parade grounds that don't flood"

Looking back across to Hardknott Pass.

Inside the fort now and looking towards Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike and Ill Crag.

Border End, seen from inside the fort.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks