1st March 2009

Harter Fell and Hardknott Pass


Walk Overview
Time 11.00 to 13.50
Duration 2 hr 50 min
Distance 5.5 mile
Ascent 2200 ft
Walking with On my own
Jubilee Bridge - Dodknott Gill - Harter Fell - below Demming Crag - Horsehow Crags - Hardknott Tarn - Peathill Crag - Hardknott Pass - Jubilee Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Jubilee Bridge, Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass has got to be one of the steepest and most difficult roads in the country. In fact, many people make the effort to drive all the way around to this part of the Lake District just to face the challenge. I should point out that this road can be extremely dangerous during the winter months and is best avoided altogether if the weather is at all frosty. I was caught out myself on one occasion when using the route as a shortcut over to Cockley Beck. Just above the steepest of the bends the road turned into an ice rink and I had no alternative than to reverse back down until I reached a convenient turning place; not an experience I'm keen to repeat.

The car park has room for about ten cars, but should you find it full, there is usually room a little further along the road into Eskdale.

Route Map

Jubilee Bridge on a damp, grey day.

You have a nice gentle start to this walk; which is always welcome, giving ample opportunity to enjoy the views into, , ,

and back towards, , , ,

Hardknott Pass and Upper Eskdale.

A little further along the route I was treated to a brief burst of sunshine. Just long enough to take this picture and then it was gone again.

Looking across a very wet area of the Lake District to Green Crag. There is actually a relatively dry route across here by sticking to the Eskdale side of the bog, but I wouldn't even consider walking 'straight' over unless the ground was frozen or we were in the middle of a prolonged spell of dry weather.

I was up in the clouds now as I approached Harter Fell summit.

And now leaving the summit.

Then, in a blink of an eye, the clouds parted to reveal the sunshine in Duddon Valley.

Crossing the beck near Demming Crag.

Why not, I thought to myself. Rather than head straight across to the top of Hardknott Pass I decided to have a walk over to the rocky outcrops on the northern end of the fell.
If you don't like getting your feet wet, this is an area you may wish to avoid.

Looking back across to Demming Crag.


A close up of Hardknott Roman Fort.

That reminds me, it's only 9 months and 25 days to Christmas.

The view across to Wrynose Pass from the bigger of the two tarns near Hardknott Pass.

And the smaller one.

Now for the long walk down Hardknott Pass.

A wall to sit on, a couple of sandwiches, the sound of screeching breaks and the smell of burning rubber. Why would anyone want to spend a Sunday afternoon doing anything else?


David Hall -
Lake District Walks