An Eskdale Trio

21st May 2011

A week ago I devised a route planer for my remaining 46 Wainwrights, it’s not hard to see I’ve left some of the lesser trampled fells until last, & as the list is slowly getting smaller so do the out reaches of places to visit, with the likes of Black fell, Wansfell, Sale Fell- you get my drift not to mention there’s still a couple of ‘big guns’ on that list too. Anyway the list comprises of roughly 29 remaining visits incorporating once already walked fells & also new ones.

Green Crag for me way back when I first started if I’m brutally honest & maybe you readers out there too is a Wainwright tick off, a fell to go home & say ‘yeah I’ve done Green Crag’ but it isn’t is it? Its bleakness, my wind battered face is everything I love about Lakeland, the fact you will not see another person while traversing it’s Crags within the bowls of Eskdale & yet not a stones throw away from the Scafell range, Green Crag & the lesser trampled fells are the hidden gems of Lakeland & since returning home with a sense of satisfaction that these ‘lesser fells’ are there to be enjoyed all by yourself much of the time  & are testament  to the likes of A.W & others who gave these fells the recognition they deserve.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Southern Fells


On the south-western slope of Hard Knott the rocky cliffs of Border End fall steeply to an inclined grassy shelf, which extends for half a mile and then breaks abruptly in a line of crags over looking the Esk. This shelf, a splendid place of vantage commanding a view of the valley from the hills down to the sea, was selected by the Romans towards the end of the first century A.D. as a site for the establishment of a garrison to reinforce their military operation of the district. Here they built a  fort, MEDIOBOGDVM, which today is more usually, and certainly more easily, referred to as HARDKNOTT CASTLE. 

One wonders what were the thoughts of the sentries as they kept watch over this lonely outpost amongst the mountains, nearly two thousand years ago? Did they admire the massive architecture of the Scafell group as they looked north, the curve of the valley source to sea as their eyes turned west? Or did they feel themselves to be unwanted strangers in a harsh and hostile land? Did their hearts ache for the sunshine of their native country, for their families, for their homes?


Ascent: 3,280 Feet
Wainwrights: 3, Green Crag, Harter Fell (Eskdale) & Hard Knott
Weather: Cloudy & Blustery, Spots Of Rain Not Amounting To Much, Highs Of 15° Lows Of 10°
Parking: Wha House Farm,  Eskdale Road, Eskdale
Area: Southern
Miles: 9.7
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



Wha House Farm Eskdale.

A real working farm full of cattle, plenty of mud & farm machinery, I found the sign much prettier


Passing The Woolpack Inn Eskdale, much to early for a pint me thinks.


Making a left at the sign posted Penny Hill farm & Low Birker bound.


Low Birker & what looks like a new build barn conversion.


There’s a couple of paths to gain the crags seen here, I as always take the direct route, its steep yet short, the path disappears here & there but as there’s only one way up  just follow your nose, I headed for the patch of trees just to the left of the scree, these trees turned out to be Holly & somewhat prickly.


Views towards upper Upper Eskdale & Hard Knott to the right my final fell of the day, but that’s a few hours & squelchy feet away yet.


The ruined stone hut on the Peat Road to Low Birker Tarn.


Low Birker Tarn with Sheep  Fold.


Just past  Low Birker Tarn you get this fine view of Crook Crag & Green Crag over Foxbield Moss.


Looking back on ground covered with Low Birker Tarn taking centre.


The boundary stone found on the col in between Crook Crag & Green Crag.


Harter Fell under low cloud from Green Crag summit cairn.


A close up of Yoadcastle on the left & Devoke Water.


Solitude as I make my way over to Harter Fell & the disappearing tree line to the left, despite the fact this is where I soaked my boots & socks to the core this was still my favourite part of the walk, thoughts were turning over & over in my head ‘do I summit Harter Fell’ (a fell I needn’t have as I have already summated) or do I add time & miles & take in Hard knott via the River Esk & Upper Eskdale? time I had, although the weather on my side I hadn’t so I made my decision on the sty at the bottom of Harter Fell to take in its summit as this route was shorter & I’d have less chance of taking a soaking.


In the clouds yet not to far away from the summit, this being my second time on Harter Fell I was saddened a little as the conditions were identical as my first summit last July.

21st May 2010

27th July 2011

Harter Fell (Eskdale) summit trig point with Identical conditions 10 months apart 

Oh well no point crying over spilt milk, My real concern from the summit in this cloud was locating the path (or a) route down to Demming Crag & eventually the Hard knott Pass.


Out of the cloud & with a bit of photo trickery a  splendid view of  Hard Knott Roman Fort.


Picking my way down to Demming Crag, I really did feel I’d been ‘roughed up’ not only by the weather & blowing gales but also by the crags along this ridge.


Looking back up at Deeming Crag with just a couple of hundred meters to the Hard Knott Pass, it was here everything came off, the pack, the socks & shoes & the jacket, no I wasn’t getting all kinky I was straightening myself up after the run in with Deeming Crag(s) with clean & dry socks & tightened laces  I was soon back on my way.


The crags & scree of Border End.


Lunch time on the Hard Knott Pass, just out of view at the head of this picture is the top of the pass marked by a Hugh stone cairn, it was here I picked up my path for  the ascent on Hard Knott.


Looking back down to the Hard Knott Pass & its summit cairn together with Harter Fell in the distance now cloud free, D’oh!!


Looking over the Flanks of Grey Friar to the outlined peaks of Dow Crag & Coniston Old Man.


And a little further to the right, the Dunnerdale skyline.


Blowing a gale as I reach the crags of Hard Knott.


Hard Knott summit cairn.


From the summit looking towards the Scafell range yet all is visible is Slight Side’s pointed peak, all the way to the right is Esk Pike. It was decision time again, shall I call it a day & head down via Hard Knott Fort as intended? or should I make an attempt to find the Eskdale Needle?


In my attempt to scuttle across some ‘boggy bits’ I found my self knee deep in wet bog, now I’ve been up to my ankles in it, even my shins but never my knee no matter how funny this may seem it shook me a little not due to the fact it took me by complete surprise & how I nearly lost my boot but  with also just how strong I had to pull to get my leg out. Those sheep on Hard Knott now know some new swear words!

Pack off again to get a small hand towel I carry to wipe my trousers down.


But it was all worth it as like a kid I hurry down to be within the presence of this famous Lakeland landmark.


Standing 50 feet tall from its base ,The Eskdale Needle.

Being knee deep in bog is almost forgotten, being in the presence of this Lakeland landmark I will never forget.


Looking down the throat of Upper Eskdale & the River Esk.


Out flanking Border End amongst the bottom of its crags I now join up with the path linking Hard Knott Fort with Hard Knott, here making a descent to the Roman Fort.

Built between about AD 120 and 138, the fort was abandoned during the Antonine advance into Scotland during the mid 2nd century. The fort was reoccupied c. AD 200 and continued in use until the last years of the 4th century. During this time an extensive vicus developed outside the fort. The Roman garrison here was a detachment of 500 cavalry from the Dalmatian coast.


From within the fort, The Granaries.



Angle Tower, and for me this once towering structure’ four in all fascinates me the most, you can’t help but wonder about this garrison & its occupants built well over 2,000 years ago, night after night, year after year, Roman soldiers watched over Eskdale & this corner of the north western coastline.

No door ways are found in the towers, instead they gained access from a walk way above.


The fields & fells of Lower Eskdale, my car was parked along the pass somewhere in the middle of this picture giving me time to reflect on my day, highs & lows were the somewhat struggle I conquered during my descent to Demming Crags, my feet squelching wind battered I found the need to re-dress! the highs the bleak & baron mosses that gave me my squelchy feet in the first place, Highs has got to be the Eskdale Needle & together with the fact that not all of these lesser trampled fells are just a tick on a piece of paper or the input on my computer.


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