Harter Fell to Shipman Knotts from Sadgill

17th November 2013

My alarm clock went off at 05:10, I’ve never really been one who suffered with the snooze button syndrome but this morning felt as if I’d had less than an hours sleep which probably isn’t too far from the truth.

So there I was at 05:17 as the minutes passed by I dragged my sorry carcass from my bed & straight into my study to have a final check on the weather report given the fact that the previous evening, the weather forecasters couldn’t make out whether the Lakeland fells were in for a full on inversion or, it was just that the mist & low cloud was going to linger throughout the whole of the day.

The latter being the correct forecast.

At 05:30 I got myself back into bed, walking socks an all while I pondered my decision. The forecast was to half expect a dry spell throughout the morning until the showers arrived around midday, I couldn’t make a meal out of just one mornings work as I lied there debating that if I don’t go today, It maybe a full fortnight until my return.

At 05:50 I got out of bed for the second time & went straight into the bathroom to brush my teeth, slip my clobber on & boiled the kettle for my flask.

Last night I had a descent plan A & a fairly decent Plan B should the weather scuttle my plans, oddly enough todays walk didn’t feature in Plan A nor B, I simply got in my car & drove.

Wainwright Guidebook
The Far Eastern Fells

- The Far Eastern Fells; Dedicated To The Men Who Built The Stone Walls :

The broad wedge of lonely upland country rises from the valley of the Kent at Burnside and continues north, narrowing, between the valleys of Kentmere and Longsleddale for nine miles; until, having very gradually attained its maximum height on Harter Fell, the ground suddenly collapse in a tremendous wall of crags, falling swiftly to the head of Mardale amongst wild and romantic surroundings – one of the noblest mountain scenes in the District.


Ascent: 2,323 Feet, 709 Meters
Wainwrights: 3, Harter Fell (Mardale) – Kentmere Pike – Shipman Knotts
Weather: Overcast To Start Cloud Thickening, Highs Of 8°C Lows Of 4°C
Parking: Sadgill, Longsleddale
Area: Far Eastern
Miles: 8.7
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 3 Hours 35 Minutes
Route: Sadgill, Longsleddale – Harter Fell (Mardale) – Kentmere Pike – Goat Scar – Shipman Knotts – Longsleddale Pass – Sadgill

Map and Photo Gallery



Low Sadgill Farm, Longsleddale 07:48 4°C

I let the Sat-Nav do most of the driving, this being the reason I drove through the villages & hamlets that surround Kendal incorporating Plantation Bridge, Godmond Hall, Thornybank & finally Garnet Bridge, all of which were the pleasant of Lakeland hamlets, yet should another car be coming the other way, sure enough, I’d have to reverse all the way back to Kendal, the lane being so narrow.

I arrived at Sadgill & got to choose first parking spot so I fittingly park making sure for a good exit knowing that this place gets busy during the day & that other drivers aren’t as thoughtful when choosing where to park, Sadgill did get busy & the thoughtlessness continued upon my return.

The cloud is surprisingly high with hints of blue behind bulks of grey, aye aye I mutter, they’ve only got the forecast wrong, that blue will get brighter leaving me positively optimistic for what lies ahead.

With this I strap my camera around my neck instead of in the case, lock the car & turn my tail towards Gatescarth Pass, which, is a good mile or two away yet.


Low Sadgill Farm from Sadgill Bridge & the River Sprint.


Goat Scar (L) together with Buckbarrow Crags (R)

There’s some very pleasant walking to be had through Longsleddale until The Gatescarth Pass is reached, it’s one of those places you can savour before the sweat & toil ahead, which is just what I did.


This time the River Sprint makes an appearance taken further along the track.


Here looking back on The River Spring & the Longsleddale Valley.

The ground underfoot starts a rapid climb to reach The Gatescarth Pass, the start of which can be seen in the previous photo, the ascent doesn’t look much & indeed it isn’t, although what it lacks in steepness is made up in length, sure enough after a few hundred metres the steepness gets to the best of us.

Me & him included


I took my hat of to this guy as soon as I spotted him which was some way back, I didn’t really take notice of his ascent but if I said that I was probably walking faster up here than he was riding might just give you an idea as just how steep in places the path can be.

I waited for the bike to overtake, so much so I listened out for the sound of tyre over rough ground which never really came, my glancing back was becoming embarrassing for us both, thankfully we both had a laugh about it after he gave up & pushed the bike passed me.

You have to spare a thought for the miners who used to use this old track as they made their way to Wren Gill Quarry up ahead.


Jesus Holy Mary I’m unfit! (his words not mine)

I turned the conversation around by saying how much I admired his determination, we chatted for a good ten minutes about our routes, his, Nan Bield & mine Kentmere Pike then Shipman Knotts, not before realising that time was ticking on we then bid each other good day as he then hurtled up Gatescarth Pass before getting off again.


The recently restored Memorial Bridge with Brownhow Bottom providing the backdrop.

Nice genuine bloke after a night on the ale no doubt!


Here, looking back on Tarn Crags (Longsleddale L) with the prominence of Goat Scar still seen (R)


Almost at the summit.

After quite alot of zig-zagging the summit shoulder was reached, in gaining the summit I lost almost all visibility. 


Harter Fell summit cairn (Mardale)

I chocked back a few bloody hells along here (or words to that affect) the main reason being that the last time I was here on Harter Fell I had the exact conditions…it happens & is all part of the fell walking experience.

Unbeknown to me said conditions open up a different experience where I was able to enjoy the solitude of the fells & walk with my own thoughts, the next photo I took seeing that there really wasn’t any eye catching enough to photograph was my next summit of…


Kentmere Pike.


Alone with my thoughts (and lots of standing water)


Passing the top of Goat Scar along the way.

Way back on The Gatescarth Pass I realised that I not only left my map back at the car but my GPS also, I shall rename todays walk, navigational training day.



Shipman Knotts summit.

By the time I had reached Shipman Knotts the drizzle was coming down heavy, slowly but surely drowning my whole attire including camera & camera case, so apologies in advance if the next shots are a little blurred as I had nothing left dry to wipe my camera lenses.


Descending towards the top of The Longsleddale Pass.

It was whilst here I started to pass walkers heading up towards Shipman Knotts, a handful of which commented on how the views were at the summit, not as good as what your leaving behind I replied, that bad? aye I say.


Here glancing back up towards Shipman Knotts before I reach The Longsleddale Pass.


Green Quarter & The Longsleddale Pass.

The Longsleddale Pass can be seen running horizontally across the photo, if you have trouble seeing it look for the break in the wall.

Left for Longsleddale & right for Kentmere.


For those who prefer the 4×4 approach to the fells.


Passing the top of The Longsleddale Pass.


Descending into Longsleddale bringing the low cloud down with me.


A convoy of 4×4’s negotiating Low Sadgill hairpins

I guess that this idea of recreational vehicles using the pass as a playground is up in the air, I am with the latter of the seasoned fell walker of which opinion will be left there.

However, I work in the motor trade & that their vehicle is a Land Rover V8 which is possibly one of thee sweetest noises ever to emit from an exhaust pipe.


V8 Day in Longsleddale.

I got chatting to a local grandmother who had a camera in her hand taking photos of the 4×4 Vehicles & not in disgust I might add, much the same as myself she wanted to see how it was done, the drivers all got out of their vehicles as they drove through the farm yard & expressed their thanks to the Land Owner & indeed the Grand Mother.

I don’t want to see this every time I visit here, but today I made an exception, heck if the locals can I’m sure I can…just the once mind.


Low Sadgill Farm once more some three half hours later.

It’s not very often I would get out of bed to walk in the drizzle, but today I have my reasons, a man needs time to think, to immerse pressures.

There is no greater way of obtaining this than to walk in the rain in a place you love.


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