The Harry Griffin 2,000 footers Walk 13 - Harter Fell

17th May 2015

Today I find myself back in Lakeland after telling myself that maybe I should miss this weekend but I guess the lure got the better of me as my body clock woke me up around 6.00am this morning, after a quick check on the forecast I found that there was a weather window for the best part of the morning until the forecasted showers would arrive sometime after lunch, well I guess that was my green light to climb H.Griffins route of Harter Fell, a simple trot there and back from the top of Hard Knott Pass.

I guess I should be thankful that Harry chose to gain Harter Fell by the simplest of means had he thought about it earlier he would have Included it in one of two of the Scafell routes within the campaign, it seems I owe Harry a debt of gratitude for not doing so, as one could imagine, that would turn out to be a rather ambitious walk as Harry would put it.

Getting back to today's walk Harry knew that the stand alone two thousander of Harter Fell would have been difficult to include in any horseshoe or round which is why he chose to climb to the summit one late summer evening with his wife in back July 1977.

Freeman of the Hills
'Harter Fell'
Harter Fell is, unquestionably, one of the finest of the smaller mountains in Lakeland - a perfect picture - postcard of a fell, with its surroundings woodlands, its higher belts of bracken and heather, and its little crags and outcrops of grey, welcoming rock.
Harry Griffin

Ascent: 872 Feet - 266 Metres
Summits Over 2,000Ft: Harter Fell (Eskdale)
Weather: Overcast with strong gusts, some bright spells. Highs of 11°C Lows of 8°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Top of Hard Knott Pass
Area: Southern
Miles: 3.6
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 1 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Top of Hard Knott Pass - Harter Fell (Eskdale) - Top of Hard Knott Pass

Map and Photo Gallery


Looking back at the top of Hard Knott Pass 08:40am 8°C

I arrive without incident at the top of Hard Knott Pass where thankfully I had the choice of a number of spaces to park the car, in the end I park on the Wrynose side tucked away in a two car space. The main thing that I had noticed was just how windy it was as I kitted up, so much so the wind almost took the car door out of my hand had I not grabbed it back first I'm almost sure as I would now be looking on an expensive repair bill. Despite the wind here on top of Hard Knott the temperature is mild but I opt for the hat anyway as I figure if it's like this here, what's it going to be like on the fell side.

No other traffic had passed me and I was able to kit up almost in the middle of the road as the ground where I had left my car was muddy and full of holes, a high grass bank provided space from where I could take gear from the boot before attaching to my pack which was handy if anything. Soon after I had locked the car I hear the struggle of an engine ascending as it reached the top of the pass the driver gives me a wave before parking up, I passed him minutes later buffeted by the wind, we exchange mornings before I make way along the Pass before taking a left turn almost directly onto fell side.

Harter Fell (Eskdale) during a brief sun spell.

After leaving the top of Hard Knott Pass I follow the broad grassy path besides a wire fence, this fence stays with the path as you can see in the picture before continuing around the flank of the fell. Despite the brightness in this photo which didn't last long at all much of my path was very boggy indeed, it wasn't long before my boots were covered in water which continued until I started to climb further up the fell.

Sadly Harter Fell summit is covered by cloud, I did hope this would lift as I continued with the walk but all to no avail, however, watching the cloud streak across the fell side followed by dashes of sunshine more than made up for this.

Deeming Crag is passed on route towards the summit.
I squelch on before the first of two sty's are reached with views of Deeming Crag renowned for it's good scrambling but sadly not for me today as I can only imagine just how wet the rock would be given my conditions underfoot. My path is broad and continues to climb by-passing Deeming Crag to the left, however, options open up a little further up should you fancy the scramble.

Looking back on Hard Knott during another brief sunshine spell.

Having flanked Deeming Crag I soon find myself above the cloud line.

Approaching the summit.
Despite gaining most of Harter Fell's ascent by car, the second half isn't without it steepness as I approach the craggy summit I was more than pleased to leave the boggy steep ascent behind.

Harter Fell (Eskdale) summit trig point.

My views hadn't changed much with exception of the ghostly detail of the craggy out-crops found on Harter Fell's summit, here the wind had picked back up again and was blowing at full gust which meant standing up and trying to take photos was very difficult indeed, I decide to drop down and take shelter behind a large cluster of boulders.

My shelter enabled me to take in my eerie surroundings listening to the wind buffet at the trig point just feet over my head which had an over whelming calming affect on me, at times the cloud would drift in totally obscuring views while at others the detail of nearby crags were outlined making summit time spent feel rather special, however I soon found myself cooling down as the wind somehow found its way under my jacket freezing the sweat on my back until I could stand no more, it was time to retreat back down.

Leaving Harter Fell summit.
Pins and needles soon closed in on the ends of my fingers as I make star fists to try and relive them, my gloves could have done this but they are tucked away in my pack and no sooner had I have put them on I'd be complaining I was too hot, so they stay in the pack.

Descent on Harter Fell with Deeming Crag now on my left flank.

Deeming Crag.
Photo opportunities were rare with the exceptions of the odd sunburst which brightly lit up the fell side, I guess taking in a rather dreary descent can sometimes become magical when blessed with the briefest of sunshine.

Here, looking over Hard Knott and Wrynose Bottom from my descent.

The cloud carried along by the strong winds hurried across the tops of Hard Knott, Little Stand and Grey Friar making my view never the same, I guess it pays to pay attention to the slightest of changes when walking in conditions such as this which can add some drama to what would have been just an ordinary walk.

Down below I still had the squelchy wild grasses to contend with as I pick off a different route to try to elevate this, all to no avail, it seems the area below Deeming Crag is a natural sponge made worse from recent rains.

Hard Knott Pass summit cairn with views into Wrynose Bottom.

I retrace my route back to Hard Knott Pass which is starting to build with a little traffic now, the car parking spaces have now been filled as I spot walkers making their ascents on a cloud topped Hard Knott. A little further down the Pass opposite my parking spot half a dozen mountain bikes prepare for the adrenalin rush of descending Hard Knott Pass, we share a brief chat as I learn they are all from Yorkshire, nice chaps but with no fear as one by one they hurl themselves down the Pass.

I kit down back at the back of the car as a little sunshine greets me, my grassy ledge again comes in handy as I place my pack upon making sure my walking poles are tied in before I put it back in the boot, I reverse out of the boot as a pack of tuna salad sandwiches await to be eaten followed by a Yorkie Bar purchased from my loose change while filling up with fuel yesterday.

It's fair to say that I have spent more time travelling by car than I have boot on fell, but those few hours spent drained away my addiction and brought me just another step closer to completing my challenge, until next weekend that is.

Harter Fell from Cockley Beck.

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