Harter Fell & the Nan Bield Pass from Kentmere

23rd November 2014

I hadn’t meant to be walking today at all, an all too familiar story every other week I know but today the urge to see the Lakeland Fells under spells of sunshine got the better of me. As always my Sunday walks are kept to a minimum if only to ease those Monday morning aches but, again, I was also beaten there too as I put in that bit more mileage than I had pre-planned.

Never mind, after the aches & pains subside the memory of a great walk such as this under such conditions especially towards the latter of my walk wont be forgotten as easily.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Far Eastern Fells

-The Far Eastern Fells:

One should always have a definite objective, In a walk as In life, It is so much more satisfying than to reach a target by personal effort than to wonder aimlessly, an objective is an ambition, and life with out ambition is.. well, is aimless wondering.



2,551 Feet 779 Meters


3, Shipman Knotts – Kentmere Pike – Harter Fell (Kentmere)


Overcast to Start Turning Bright & Sunny, Cold Breeze Across The Summits, Highs Of 8°C Lows Of 7°C


Parking Spaces, Kentmere Church, Kentmere

Area: Far Eastern
Miles: 9.6
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken:  

Kentmere Church – High Lane – Longsleddale Pass – Shipman Knotts – Kentmere Pike – Brown Howe – The Knowe – Harter Fell (Mardale) – Nan Bield Pass – Kentmere Valley – Overend -High Lane – Kentmere Church


Map and Photo Gallery


Kentmere Church 09:00am 7°C

Before I knew it I had arrived in Kentmere where I thankfully eased my way into the last available parking space opposite the Kentmere Church. Besides me a woman was also kitting up as our eyes crossed we shared an hello.

I had backed right up to the phone box only allowing a small gap to open the boot by, with this I had no option other than to lace up almost in the middle of the road at the same time having my wits about any oncoming traffic. The woman who was kitting up closed her boot & threw her pack over the one shoulder before heading off in the direction of the Garburn Pass, me I was heading in the total opposite direction in search of the Longsleddale Pass.

My route today takes me out of Kentmere towards Green Quarter.

Taking a left turn after passing Low Bridge cottage seen here in the left of the photo where I take on the narrow lanes that gradually rise their way onto High Lane, here views start to widen over the village & indeed the Kentmere Valley.

The Ill Bell Ridge seen over Hartrigg from High Lane.

I had stunning views into the Kentmere valley after the morning mist had lifted revealing cloudless summits & huge promising skies.

Kentmere from the start of the Longsleddale Pass.


Shipman Knotts ahead.

With not much wind around to cool me down by the time I had ascended around half way towards the summit of Shipman Knotts I had worked a bit of a sweat up. Behind me my path negotiates what I would describe as the first tier of the fell where the path winds its way up over steep ground where at times a little hands on ascent is needed least forget a little bog trotting. Ahead more bog negotiations before the final pull towards the summit lead by a path that runs almost parallel with the stone wall.

Kentmere Pike from Shipman Knotts summit.

The difference between the wind in this photo & the last was quite significant by the time I had reached the summit, so much so it almost had me reaching for the hat & gloves but I resisted a little while longer as it seems I’m still relishing in those winter changes.

Not sure for how long though…

Goat Scar seen with Tarn Crag (Longsleddale)


Kentmere Pike is seen further along the ridge.

Ahead lies Kentmere Pike which was gained by a short pull up its south facing ridge. I’ve never gone against the grain along this ridge before & hadn’t realised how steep that little section between Shipman Knotts & this un-named tarn actually was.

Either that or today I think I may have left some stamina behind back in bed.

Harter Fell (Mardale) from Kentmere Pike summit.

Kentmere Pike was soon reached where I took some shelter behind the stone wall before de shouldering & pulling out a Snickers bar for breakfast. Before I had reached the summit another walker had caught my eye close to Shipman Knotts, I figured he or she may be fast on my tail so summit time at Kentmere Pike was a little brief.

I hopped back over the wall taking care not to topple over as the top slab wobbled under my weight. With my hands looped through my walking poles I set off for Harter Fell all the while taking chomps out of my Snickers bar which in fact, I couldn’t finish so I left it half eaten in my trouser pocket where there was no danger of it melting, not in these winds.

The scheduled brighter weather starts to move in from the west.

A real highlight of my ridge crossing was being able to witness one weather front make way for another, beautiful to see but still bone chillingly cold.

The Ill Bell Ridge with promising blue skies beyond.


The sun was out in full glow by the time I reached Harter Fell summit.

It wasn’t long before I had arrived at Harter Fell summit not before passing three walkers all heading for Kentmere Pike all wearing shorts, I couldn’t help wonder that even I a seasoned fell walker was feeling the pinch from the wind this morning, god knows they must have felt the bite too although judging by the fact that all three had pulled their sleeves over their hands I couldn’t help but think they’d left today a little unprepared.

Small Water, Mardale Ill Bell, High Street & Kidsty Pike seen shortly after leaving Harter Fell (Mardale)

The bright spells came & went but the views over my favourite fells never fail to disappoint.

Descending the ridge between Harter Fell & Mardale Ill Bell.

After leaving Harter Fell summit behind I started my descent towards the top of the Nan Bield Pass which passes over the ridge at its lowest point.

I had two options to descend by, one of which was a direct descent over the nose of the ridge where the path descends sharply in a series of zig zags, my route however was a narrow band of path with views over Small Water & beyond, both paths meet close to the centre left of the photo, don’t worry if you can’t see my path in this photo as I left it out on purpose.

Light & long shadows along the ridge.

Another highlight of the walk was when I was met by a strong light which illuminated the final section of the ridge before it drops down on the Nan Bield Pass, here casting long shadows offering some fine clarity before I would descend left into Kentmere.

The Ill Bell ridge & the Kentmere Reservoir with Lingmell End on the right.

The weather is really starting to brighten up now.

The stone shelter found at the top of the Nan Bield Pass.

A first! It’s no biggie but I was quite delighted to have the shelter to myself today, that was until I spotted the walking sticks poking out from behind the shelter, oh well you cant have it all.

Descending the Nan Bield Pass, it truly feels like summer again.

Just like the biting wind had descended on me no sooner had it left me leaving me again with the choice to de-layer only this time I opted to take my jacket off & even had the pleasure of rolling my sleeves up & adopting the sun glasses.

Froswick seen at the head of the Kentmere valley.

Despite the marvellous sunshine my path was swollen with over flowing water that at times meant de-tours up the fell side, I could have easily blazoned my way through the water yet seeing this was all I had done since leaving Kentmere I opted not to test my luck, besides on a day like today, small detours cost nothing.

Ill Bell & the Kentmere Reservoir.

My stomach is reminding me that I needed to put food in it…

Enjoying lunch.

So I picked my spot directly over Kentmere Reservoir & ate my lunch while at the same time a cool wind bit at the sweat that had formed on my back, this is what’s called heaven.

Incidentally that’s Lingmell End over there, it was at this point I was reminded of a direct ascent myself & David executed back in July this year, it was as steep as it looks right up the nose of the fell which brought back great memories.

Ill Bell & Froswick seen over Kentmere Reservoir.


Kentmere Ponies seen with the Ull Stone (Far right)

As tempting as it was I just couldn’t stay on my perch & admire the fantastic views so I had no choice but to re-shoulder & head my way down into the of the Kentmere Valley, here flanking the head of Ullstone Gill with distant views of four wild grazing Kentmere ponies.

Kentmere Pike.


Magical Kentmere.


Reflection time.

It’s with views such as this do you stop & stare with that vacant look something of which if anyone saw you doing would swear you had gone mad.

Not a breath of wind under the heat of a winter sun.


A glimpse of Kentmere Pike in shadow.


My path passes by Overend Farm.

By the time I had reached Overend Farm my views back into the valley were becoming more & more restricted by the craggy spurs of Tongue Scar. However my walk was far from over as I passed through Overend where vivid memories rush back to a time I was almost attacked by a herd of sheep who had just given birth to new lambs, it’s funny how memories attach themselves to places isn’t it, nonetheless a beautiful farm situated within the heart of the Kentmere valley.

To Mardale


Kentmere & Kentmere Pike.


The Kentmere valley.

If one memory could sum up todays walk I couldn’t think of any other that would come close to this one. During the last half hour I had battled with demons whether or not I had planned my route accordingly with the weather that I so knew about, having the lovely ridge walk behind me within typical Autumnal light & sometimes in shadow it was only up until this point did I realise that I had planned the walk how I wanted it to turn out, I just didn’t predict though it would turn out as good as this.

Kentmere Pike from High Lane.

It was here a wooden gate had to be passed, or a short hop over a sty, I decided to take advantage of both by committing to the sty where I took a brief rest stop before lowing myself back down to pass through the gate.

Kentmere Church.

Before long I was back on High Lane as once again beautiful views filled my eyes over Kentmere, beneath my feet pine needles have gathered in such a manner they have formed a track obscuring the tarmac road beneath my feet. Sheep graze as the fell side falls away into the villagers back gardens where bedding sheets blow under a warm sun.

I find myself back at Low Bridge Cottage once more from where I take my last photo before a short haul up the road where I left my car a little over five hours ago, a scary thought suddenly dawns over me bearing on my shoulders with an incredible weight as if I was about to miss something.

I could have stayed home today, with that, the weight that had just dawned on me, left me.


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