19th April 2013

Harter Fell and Hard Knott Pass


Walk Overview
Time 13.15 to 15.34
Duration 2 hr 20 min
Distance 4.4 mile
Ascent 1800 ft
Walking with On my own
Jubilee Bridge - Dodknott Gill - Harter Fell - Hardknott Pass Tarn - Hard Knott 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.

Heading out of the valley and up the side of Harter Fell.

A view back down the track and into the entrance of Upper Eskdale. Bow Fell is the dark pointed fell in the distance.

Looking down to Eskdale.

Another view backwards. This time you can also see Slight Side and Scafell.


What a difference from a month ago when I was last in this area. On that occasion the whole place was frozen solid and today, it was like walking across a giant sponge.

A rather dark looking picture of Green Crag. As I was taking the photo I noticed someone walking across from Green Crag and heading towards the boggy area down there. Not the best route to take after the rain we've had this week. If they'd stuck to the slightly higher ground and headed across to the right hand side of the picture they would have stayed much dryer than cutting straight across.

Almost at the top now (up on the left).

Harter Fell summit. In the background are Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell and Seathwaite Tarn.

Hard Knott Roman Fort taken from the summit.

I think I'm just a bit too far inland to to be getting the best of the sunshine. The long ridge running across the centre picture is Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. Eel Tarn and Burnmoor Tarn can also be seen.

A close up of Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man. That's Seathwaite Tarn at the bottom of the picture.

A view down to part of the Duddon Valley. The pointed fell on the right is Caw.

Zooming in on Wrynose Bottom / Cockley Beck. Wrynose Pass almost looks flat from here, which of course it isn't.

It wasn't half wet walking down there. Not the boggy kind of wet, just the splash, splash, splash, lots of water running off the fellside kind.

This is the smaller of the two Hardknott Pass tarns. That's what I'd call the boggy kind of wet.

Eskdale, seen from the top of Hard Knott Pass.

The steep bit.

It's a good job his breaks are working otherwise he'd end up in Ravenglass before he managed to come to a halt.

A view back up the top section of Hardknott Pass.

Border End on Hard Knott.

Not far now, just down there in among those trees. As I lost height it began to warm up quite a bit. I was beginning to wish I was parked further along the valley.

Over there are some of the higher Lakeland fells with the tops of them looking dark and moody in the shade.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks