Harter Fell - Route One

 

Start - Birks Bridge SD 235 995 Distance - 3 miles Ascent - 1,700 feet Time - 2 hours : 05 minutes


Birks Bridge car park
The Forest Enterprise car park and picnic site at Birks Bridge in the Duddon Valley at the start of the walk.  The car park is situated a little to the north of the old packhorse bridge over the River Duddon
Crossing the modern bridge from the car park.  On the other side a path turns immediately to the left and passes through Great Wood towards Birks
Grey Friar from the path to The Birks
Looking back to the bridge from the start of the path to Birks, with Grey Friar in the background
Approaching The Birks
Approaching Birks, abandoned as working farm when most of its land was lost to forestry.  Now owned by a Shropshire school, which use it as a residential field study centre, it has been renamed The Birks
Walking up the drive from The Birks to rejoin the forest road which is used for vehicular access to the centre
The Birks
Looking back to The Birks from the top of its drive to appreciate its wonderful location in this peaceful valley
Crinkle Crags from the forestry road
Nearly all of the forest has been felled in the last few years.  Notices have been sited at various points informing visitors that the area will be replanted with native decidious trees.  Here we have just rejoined the 'forest' road and are looking back to Bowfell and Crinkle Crags
Grey Friar from the forestry road
Looking back to the start of the walk from the forest road.  Grey Friar is the fell in the background
The road begins a series of wide sweeps as it rises 500ft in just over 1.5 miles to join the old bridleway between the Duddon Valley and Eskdale
Grassguards
Passing Grassguards, still a working farm, on the edge of the forest. The forestry road we are on serves as its vehicular access
Harter Fell from the forestry road
The summit of Harter Fell comes into view as we round one of the bends in the road
The road to Grassguards
A group of walkers who have accompanied us this far turn off the road to descend towards Grassguards. They are on circular walk from the car park and are stopping off at the Newfield Inn for lunch 
Looking back to Grey Friar
We continue on the road which is barricaded above the Grassguards turn off
The road makes one final turn as it approaches the ridge line
Green Crag from the forestry road
Nearing the top of the road as Green Crag and Crook Crag come into view
The old bridleway to Eskdale
The road comes to an end at a wide turning circle where a path continues through a younger plantation
The highest point of the bridleway
After a couple of hundred yards the path reaches a gate in the forestry fence at the highest point on the pass.  It continues on to descend into Eskdale
The start of the climb up the south west flank
We turn right to follow the fence up the slopes of Harter Fell
At the upper limit of the fence we head half right to thread our way through a series of rock outcrops
The south west flank of Harter Fell
After a passing through the outcrops we reach a level shoulder where the final slopes come into view below the summit ridge
Looking down to Green Crag
Looking back to Green and Crook Crags from the climb to the ridge
Nearing the top of the steep ascent to the summit ridge
Over Green Crag to Devoke Water
Looking back over Crook Crag to Devoke Water
The Scafells over the north west ridge
Scafell and Scafell Pike come into view as we reach the line of the north west ridge
The summit tors of Harter Fell
Approaching the summit of Harter Fell which comprises three distinctive rock tors
The summit of Harter Fell
Looking over the trig column from the 'official' summit towards the true summit.  Harter Fell is one of the few fells which requires a little rock scrambling to reach the highest point.  Harter Fell - page 7
The Scafell range from Harter Fell
The view looking north to upper Eskdale
The Duddon Estuary and Stickle Pike from Harter Fell
Looking south to Stickle Pike and the Duddon Estuary and then turning clockwise to take in the rest of the view
Black Combe from Harter Fell
The distant bulk of Black Combe across the Ulpha fells
Green Crag and Devoke Water from Harter Fell
Devoke Water, the largest of the Lakeland tarns
Eskdale from Harter Fell
Looking down the north west ridge to the lower reaches of Eskdale
Pillar and Scafell from Harter Fell
Pillar across Quagrigg Moss with the slopes of Scafell rising on the right
Scafell and Scafell Pike from Harter Fell
Scafell and Scafell Pike
Esk Pike and Bowfell from Harter Fell
Esk Pike and Bowfell at the head of Eskdale
Crinkle Crags from Harter Fell
Crinkle Crags with Hard Knott in the middle left foreground
Cockley Beck from Harter Fell
Wrynose Bottom and the green fields of Cockley Beck
Grey Friar from Harter Fell
Grey Friar across the Duddon Valley
The Coniston fells from Harter Fell
Seathwaite Tarn below Dow Crag with Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man on the left skyline  
Buck Pike and White Maiden from Harter Fell
Looking across the Duddon Valley to Brown Pike, Walna Scar, White Maiden and White Pike.
My guide for today, Kate with Jasper the "sprocker" and Conor the springer pup
Me hanging on to dogs who are eagerly awaiting their biscuit lunch!
Mediobogdum Roman fort
And lastly, a close up of the remains of Mediobogdum, the Roman fort above the Hardknott Pass road.  Built during the reign of Hadrian, abandoned during the Antonine advance into Scotland, sacked by the Brigantes in 197 AD, reoccupied by the Romans a few years later, abandoned again in the late 4th century and the stonework pillaged by dales folk thereafter!  Now maintained by English Heritage on behalf of The National Trust

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