This Friday we went up to spend the night with our great friends Steve and Babs in their caravan on the lovely Skelwith Fold site in the English Lake District. I had been tasked with finding us a walk to do on the Saturday and given the forecast of sunshine all weekend I knew the Lake District would be very busy. So I chose a fell none of us had done that I hoped was likely to be easier to get parking at. Harter Fell in Eskdale.
Alfred Wainwright paid this fell perhaps the ultimate accolade, stating that:
"Not many fells can be described as beautiful, but the word fits Harter Fell, especially so when viewed from Eskdale."
Today we will summit 1 Wainwright:
Time & Distance Info
All image description text is "above" the image that it is referring to on my blogs.
This route when viewed in Open Topo map looks like this: (N/S Orientation correct)
Here is the elevation profile:
And the view of the route as seen on Google Earth.
We were up nice and early on Saturday and Steve & Babs made us a nice fry up before we set off. Here is Mandy trying to sweet talk Steve into handing over the first butty!
We took Steves car today, so i had the rare treat of being a passenger in the Lake District. Our route took us from Ambleside, along Wrynose pass and all the way up to Hard Knott and over it onto Hard Knott pass. The view as you drive down here into Eskdale is amazing! I grabbed this out of the window as we crested the highest point of Hard Knott.
In Steve's big, wide 2.5 ton car, this is a tricky pass and takes its toll on the clutch and brakes. Look at the smoke coming off the brakes when we parked up. The vehicle had also developed a loud scraping and rattling noise on the last mile... but we decided to look at that on our return when everything had cooled down.
We unloaded and set off from Jubilee Bridge. Here is Steve taking a shot of his dogs, Sasha and Bruno.
Here is my wife Mandy on Jubilee Bridge.
The path onwards is simple to follow. Sasha makes a start immediately!
While we grab a selfie.
A view of the girls with Hard Knott and Border End behind them.
Steve and Babs with Bowfell and Great End in the distance.
As we gain height, the side of Harter Fell comes into view. This side is called Wallhead Crag and that section visible is some 500ft lower than the summit itself.
It's lovely and warm today so we are all down to base layers now. In the distance behind the team is Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. Steve and I visited those two a couple of months ago.
The girls taking a little breather.
Mandy and I taking a selfie.
Wallhead Crag ahead.
Watching the team ascend below me.
A snap of the Waterhouse family
And Mandy with Sasha.
Steve and Babs stopped for a breather.
We decide to stop at 2'000ft for lunch as we are all hungry and it's getting windy up at this altitude. We found a little crag that sheltered us from the worst of it and spent about an hour here just relaxing and taking in the views while eating our nice hot butties.
The summit is up to our right.
Suitably fed and watered, we set off towards the summit.
The summit plateau is actually one of the nicest I have been on. Lots of rocky outcrops and rock towers to explore.
The view over to the Old Man of Coniston range with Seathwaite Tarn nestled in there is brilliant.
But the view across to the Scafell range tops it for me. At a lofty 3'210ft tall, Its very rare anyone sees the top of Scafell pike without any cloud on it or even near it. Its certainly a first for me as ive only visited it once and that was in snow. All my previous views of it from neighbouring fells it has been hidden in cloud.
Here is Steve up on one of the higher rocky outcrops. You can see the OS trig point below and to the right.
The girls below what we reckon to be the highest point.
Devoke Water is visible in the distance. Surely one of Lakelands least visited tarns.
While I was wandering around with my camera near the trig point, the team, led by Mandy had started to ascend to the true summit.
Sasha and Bruno appeared to be joining them, but of course they failed.
But I joined them for what turned out to be one of my favourite group shots ever.
We descended down the other side which turned out to be much easier.
And shortly after... Steve decided to have a climb on a nice big rock face.
What a great summit this one is, plenty of places to wander around exploring.
Before we left, we scrambled up on top of this rock too. Amazingly, Bruno joined us on the top. I say its amazing as he point blank refuses to cross over little stiles and we have to carry the muddy great lump over them.
I plotted this route in a bit of a circular fashion as I dont like returning the same way I came, so our descent path is this way, walking towards Green Crag, another Wainwright I will one day visit.
During descent, I caught this fella taking a break in the sun.
Mandy captured this image of me on our way down.
Looking out over the most western arm of Dunnerdale Forest.
Leaving Harter Fell behind us.
Mandy is back in a baselayer. I am so pleased she is finally getting to enjoy some warm weather hiking as her Raynaud's disease (Affects blood flow to the extremities) really makes it hard for her to enjoy the fells with me in winter.
Once you reach the forest edge, you can literally follow this fence all the way back to the main path.
And the weather has actually got a lot better now, the late afternoon sun is much better for photography.
What a view. I agree with Alfred Wainwright, Harter Fell really is beautiful from this side.
The path eventually intersects Spothow Gill and we decided this was a great place for a break.
Steve and Babs did a little paddling to cool their feet.
As did Sasha.
Then we all just lay in the sun for 45 minutes.
Well, the ladies and the hounds did. I wandered around taking pictures now the light had improved over the hazy atmosphere we had this morning. I took this shot as both a Portrait....
And a Landscape. Which do you prefer? Its the portrait for me.
Time to go now... The path back is easy from here. Just follow the fence to the gate.
Then turn right and follow the path right back down to Jubilee Bridge.
One last selfie to prove it took us until May to get a tan this year.
And then we remember the car had a problem. Groan. We used a handy ramp shaped boulder to get the car in the air and found a loose under-tray. I carry cable ties in my rucksack, so a few of those strung together eliminated the problem.
And gave us transport to the Woolpack Inn where we enjoyed a great meal. They offer these Steak and Kidney Pies in two options. Half a pie or a full pie.. I think next time I will get half. It was huge!
Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoyed taking a little trip with us and that it inspired you to try the route. Remember, take your time, don't ever rush. The fells are there to be enjoyed, not endured.
While you are out there enjoying the beautiful fells, remember the golden rules...
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints and keep only memories".
Here is some data from my Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch.
Calories etc are pretty accurate as I use the Suunto Smart heart monitor on all my hikes. GPS data is updated every 1 second so it it records every footstep, thus mileage often looks different to Viewranger and similar apps as they update far less frequently and so miss a few turns here and there.
Finally... Here is the route on an OS map courtesy of Viewranger.
If you would like the GPX file for this route, please feel free to E-mail me and I will send it to you. (For Free)
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worthy of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.
Route Completed on May 7th, 2016 with Mandy, Steve and Barbera.
New Wainwrights: 1. New total: 138 of 214.
New Birketts: 0. New total 192 of 541.