From the top of Wrynose Pass, Harter Fell stands framed by the hills of either side, a triangle of almost mountain perfection. Close up it seems to have its fair share of bog too, especially in the wet summer of 2012.
If you contemplate climbing it from Duddon side, Birks Bridge, be aware the bridleway is a veritable feast of bog, tree roots, bog, slimy wet rock, bog, and it's steep, with little boggy holes just so you watch your feet the whole time. It's not pleasant.
From Eskdale, on the other hand, it is a pleasure, although not completely dry as you'll see. In very wet weather the crossing of Dodknott Gill may be too deep for dry feet. It would be dangerous in spate. The bridleway from Jubilee Bridge traverses the fell side climbing steadily. Then, with all your muscles nicely warmed up, branch away from the bridleway to climb a narrow sometimes uncertain path up alongside the crags of the north west ridge. This is no engineered path with steps. Just a few cairns set to confirm you are still on the path and most of them are hard to spot amongst the rocks. Not that it matters greatly.
There is a small parking area beside Jubilee Bridge just above the cattle grid. Alternatively there are a few spaces on the verge before then.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Cross the river by way of Jubilee Bridge, just below and to the right of the parking area. Bear right and ascend up to a kissing gate through what seems to be more of a river than a path. Cross the narrow field to another kissing gate opposite and on to the track beyond. Through the bracken and across a number of small streams. Reaching Dodknott Gill, ford the river and bear right through the gate. The track climbs to another gate where you go through. Continue straight ahead for approx 100m (110 yards). The track is much rougher here. Immediately before the stream cuts across the path bear left to a small cairn marking the start of a much narrower but reasonably easy to follow path.
A path joins in from the right, bear left and continue climbing. Just
below a knoll at approx
Eventually the gradient eases and the path climbs on grass to the summit area. The true summit is on one of lumps of rock. The trig point is not at the highest point. A purist will probably find a way to climb all the major blocks, just to be sure.
The return drops off the summit the same way for approx 150m (165 yards) then at the first cairn bear left continuing on, it would seem, the major path. It initially drops steeply through a short section of boulders. Then becomes a grass, easily followed path. Cross a short plateau, and continue dropping down quite steeply. A more few boggy bits will be found here. The path heads for the corner of the forest enclosure fence and then down to the bridleway.
At the bridleway turn right. This track has a few more boggy sections that are best skirted fairly high, away from the fence. Go through the gap in the wall. A stile over the fence is reached with an enticing grass path beyond but ignore it, bear right slightly away from the fence and across yet another boggy bit. Rounding a knoll you rejoin the fence line, and soon the ascent path at the first cairn.
Continue down to the gate and go through, then bear right onto the wide grass path that leads all the way back to Jubilee Bridge.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Hard Knott Roman Fort||0.7km (0.4 miles) away|
|Slight Side from Wha House, Eskdale||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|A very short walk to Hard Knott and Border End||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011