Harter Fell is a mountain of 649 m (2128 ft) in the western part of the
English Lake District located between the Eskdale and Duddon valleys.
The headwaters of the Esk and Duddon are
separated by a ridge falling south west from the summit of Crinkle
Crags. This line of high ground continues over many twists and turns for
15 miles, finally meeting the sea on the slopes of Black Combe.
From Crinkle Crags the first fells on this ridge are Hard Knott and
Harter Fell, separated by Hardknott Pass. From Harter Fell the ridge
continues over Green Crag, Great Worm Crag, Yoadcastle, Whitfell, Buck
Barrow and Black Combe.
To the north of Harter Fell is Hardknott Pass joining Eskdale with
the Duddon Valley. There is a steep single-track motor road over the
pass with gradients of up to 30% (1 in 3), reaching a maximum height of
393 m (1,290 ft).
The Hardknott Roman Fort stands at a height of
approximately 200 m (650 ft) on the lower slopes of the western ridge as
it descends into Eskdale. A roman road from Ravenglass to Ambleside once
crossed the pass, although, by a slightly different route.
the top of the pass a complex series of grassy knolls firms up into a
ridge bearing south westward. This steps upward, first over Horsehow
Crags and then the impressive gable-end of Demming Crag, before reaching
the summit area. Further outcropping rock occurs on all sides, although,
little of it is of interest to climbers.
Notable features are
Maiden Castle, Brandy Crag and Mart Crag to the south east and Kepple
Crag to the south. To the southwest is a broad and marshy saddle leading
onto Green Crag and the moorlands of Birker Fell, the ongoing watershed.
The southern and eastern flanks are heavily forested with conifers,
legions of Forestry Commission trees sweeping down into the Duddon
Harter Fell appears in most views as a conical hill,
unsurprising given its broadly circular contours. Wainwright paid it
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."
The summit area bears three rocky
tors, the middle one of which is the highest. An Ordnance Survey
triangulation column stands on the western outcrop and all three provide
From its summit there is an excellent view
of the ring of fells known as the Eskdale Horseshoe comrising Sca Fell,
Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Great End, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle
To the south are the sands of the Duddon estuary and
Morecambe Bay and to the west the Irish Sea and Isle of Man.
Eskdale, Harter Fell can be climbed from Jubilee Bridge in the west or
from the summit of Hardknott Pass in the east.
From the Duddon,
walkers can make use of the car parking at Birks Bridge. This provides a
reasonably direct line from the west.
An alternative is to start
from Fickle Steps and circuit clockwise around the fell to join the path
from Jubilee Bridge.
Harter Fell forms the final challenge in the
Woolpack walk when tackled in its usual direction.