Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

There are two fells by the name of Harter Fell within the National Park, one being situated in Eskdale (Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 4) and the later being at Mardale, this being the fell that is of more interest to this particular walk.

Harter Fell is most frequently climbed from Mardale Head, as there is good road access along the shore of Haweswater reservoir and currently free car parking available.

Should you be interested now in a walk to Harter Fell from Mardale and the car park at Haweswater there are several options available to you. Whilst consulting the Ordnance Survey map it was my original theory to make this a circular walk going in an anti clock wise direction, starting towards ‘The Rigg’ and then heading off up ‘Kidsty Pike’ (being on the Coast to Coast route) and a larger full days walk.

Therefore my original walk can also be read, being called ‘High Street Walk’ and incorporating the old Roman Road between the forts of Ambleside and Brougham, near Penrith a top of High Street.

For the longer walk both walks need to be consulted in unison as I have now split this walk in two parts.

This walk is now simply to climb Harter fell via Gatescarth Pass and to descend via Small Water and approximately 4 miles in length.

In uncertain weather it is always better to be able to increase or shorten any walk you undertake, and this collective walk with High Street is great for this purpose and also dependent upon personal fitness.

Leaving the car park at Mardale Head go through the gate and heading in an anti clock wise direction follow the footpath to your left with the beck also on your left. As you start you ascent of the Gatescarth Pass depending upon recent rain fall you will see some nice running stream water here which is very picturesque.

Harter Fell Walk

The Gatescarth Pass byway provided historic trade routes from Mardale to Kentmere and Longsledale respectively, although with the submergence of Mardale village beneath Haweswater reservoir in the 1940’s, the original purpose has died. The route still provides good excess for fell walkers.

Approaching a wooden gate upon the footpath simply continue through and maintain your ascent of the pass. There is then a point wherein the footpath bends of to the right and begins its ascent of Harter Fell. During your walk from the car park you will have had the pleasure of looking upwards towards the crag and rocky outcrop on your right. Now as you climb above the crag you will witness the difference in altitude and a new perspective of the crag that give the fells their own unique aura.

As you rise out of the pass your efforts will be greatly rewarded with stunning views of Haweswater Reservoir and The Rigg.

The footpath here is good and generally follows the fence line on your left hand side. Rising up onto the shoulder of Harter fell affords good views towards Small Water and High Street behind.

Travelling along the fence line the footpath is not so clear, although the route is quite obvious in its direction to the summit. The summit is marked by a cain constructed of stones and the salvaged steel posts from an old fence, and when encountered unexpectedly on a misty day, can be dangerous.

The summit of Harter fell struck me as odd with rock just sticking from the surface like deposited runes from some long forgotten time.

Looking from the summit it is possible to see your return route via Small Water descending down into the car park or alternatively you have a choice to extend your walk.

Leaving the summit the downward path towards Nan Beild Pass is clearly visible, although a rocky descent. It is advisable on wet days to take care and not slip upon the rocks. During your downward hike you will see Kentmere reservoir on your left as you approach the crossing of footpaths.

The last leg of the walk will skirt the beautiful Small Water. Look out for three igloo shaped shelters as you pass the tarn. These are well built as a refuge from bad weather and a reminder that Nan Beild Pass was once a regular thoroughfare for travellers before Mardale was flooded.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Harter Fell walk please visit Harter Fell Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Harter Fell Walk

I trust you enjoyed my Harter Fell walk.