5th November 2011

What have the Romans ever done for us - Harter Fell and Hardknott Fort


Walk Overview
Time 10.15 to 13.10
Duration 2 hr 55 min
Distance 4.8 mile
Ascent 1900 ft
Walking with On my own
Jubilee Bridge - Doddknott Gill - Harter Fell - Hardknott Pass Tarn - Hardknott Pass - Roman Fort - Hardknott Pass - 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

Jubilee Bridge, found just below the parking spaces. The name and the year 1977 are found on one of the stones on the bridge so I guess it refers to the Queens silver jubilee. I find it hard to believe there wasn't a bridge here prior to 1977 so perhaps this is the date of a rebuild. Perhaps those of more mature years than myself will know for certain.

The way ahead is straightforward enough along this section. It's further round the side of the fell that you're presented with choices; some of which can lead to very wet boots and legs.

A view from my route into the Brotherilkeld entrance to Upper Eskdale. The prominent pointed fell in the centre is Bow Fell.

Lovely Eskdale.


It's steep.

Harter Fell summit.
The pointed fell to the left is Bow Fell, so, Crinkle Crags must be behind the trig column.

A close up of Devoke Water.

And a close up of Hartknott Roman Fort. I'll be having a look around there later.

A view down to Wrynose Bottom. On the left is Cold Pike and on the right is Grey Friar.

Lots of big fells in this picture.
Scafell, Scafell Pike, Ill Crag, Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags and a few lesser ones.

It's a good job I don't mind getting wet and muddy. It was absolutely sodden along here.

This is one of the two tarns found near the top of Hardknott Pass.

Looking down Hardknott Pass into Eskdale.

Hairpin Bend.

Rather than just head straight down the road, I decided to take a look around the Roman fort. The line you see here runs through an area which is believed to have been their parade ground. It is also believed that the area was levelled by the Romans, Although I suspect people from 'the conquered north' would have done most of the work.

Looking back across to Hardknott Pass.

Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike and Ill Crag, seen from one of the entrances to the fort.

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The big ones again, seen from the north western side of the fort.

Eskdale, taken from the same place as the previous picture.

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Okay then, what have the Romans ever done for us?
It's more a case of what they wouldn't do. I'm sure they wouldn't have fixed a sign to a rock and then tell people that the 'bylaws' are on the back of the sign.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks