29th April 2011
This walk was rained off last Saturday. My best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there is no other nation on Earth that can put on a show like that! Better still, we get a day off and heading for the hills seemed the obvious thing to do. It was an early start and a rendezvous at Wha House at 8am had been arranged, would we get there on time?
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Wha House Farm in Eskdale
David Dimmock did the driving from Hellifield and we met David and Jennifer Hall. The journey was timed carefully and we arrived with two minutes to spare, not bad for a 90 mile trip.
A short walk down the road led to the turning for Penny Hill Farm and Doctor Bridge.
The route takes us up an old peat road and on to the plateau, which at other times could be quite boggy. But this April has been very dry and we had no difficulties with squelchy ground.
Low Birker Peat Hut
Low Birker Tarn
A feature of today's walk is the breeze, evident here on the tarn.
Green Crag's nearest neighbour displays the effect of ice-powered erosion, the southern face of Crook Crag.
David and Jennifer Hall on Green Crag Summit
She wore traditional fellwalking gear with a Union Jack bow and he chose shorts, many had waited for this moment and the couple did not disappoint.
Me on top of Green Crag
That's Book Four : The Southern Fells completed. The relatively dry ground will allow us to cross the morass and head for Harter Fell, not something I would have contemplated in the usual conditions.
Green Crag to The Pike
Standing Stone ~ Parish Boundary
To Harter Fell
We followed the wall up from the fence, it eventually meets with the path from Eskdale.
I was just enjoying the view, when up popped DD. I made the point that, for me, the sun always shines in Eskdale. I've never been here in winter and usually camp somewhere nearby, I only bring the tent when the weather is fine, hence I only see the sunny side of Eskdale!
Rock Art on Harter Fell
David, Jennifer and Dave on Harter Fell
I went to the top of another outcrop to take the photo and camera shake played its part. Rather Windy! It's no surprise that Harter Fell is up there in the list of Six Best Summits (AW Book Seven). Can you think of the other five? It's my third visit and first since the summer of 1999.
Harter Fell Summit
Hard Knott (in sunshine) from Harter Fell
We headed off the fell and found a narrow gully in which to have our butties. The dark skies over Lakeland reached about as far as us and we felt a few light raindrops. But the sun was still shining on the far side of Harter Fell. Once we reached the top of Hard Knott, the clouds just disappeared and it was sunny all around once again.
90 minutes after the last photo, here we see my companions climbing Hard Knott. Jennifer's patriotic bow still in place. The path from HF to HK was easy enough, views subdued by the grey skies, the route up Hard Knott starts from the cairn on the Pass.
The Scafells from Hard Knott
To Harter Fell
Hard Knott outcrop
Hard Knott Views
Esk Pike (l) and Bowfell
Dave (l) and David
There's many falls and pools in this area, great fun for water adventures in warmer weather. About 45 minutes of brisk walking from the nearest parking spot at the foot of Hard Knott Pass.
Could this be the most picturesque of the ancient Lakeland bridges? Location, aspect, lack of parapet for walkers to sit and linger on, backdrop etc. etc. A sandwich eater was doing his best to spoil the photos, look carefully and you may see his hat.
Heron Crag on the north-west side of Eskdale is popular with rock climbers, look at the large boulder close to the river - it has split and left a big space between the two parts. Yew Crags are a feature of Hard Knott. Another day, I'll go up through the "gate" (top left) and go looking for The Steeple, see AW Book 4: Harter Fell page 5.
Last Look Back
Mecca for fellwalkers and valley strollers alike. Always summer in Eskdale for me!
Hard Knott Pass
If you can read the detail, the red sign entitled "Caution" warns of 1,000 cyclists using this road on Sunday May 8th.
The last photo, a look back towards Harter Fell from the road at Wha House.
Walkers: David & Jennifer Hall, Dave Dimmock and me.
Time taken: 8hrs 40 mins over a distance of about 12 miles.
Route: Parking near Wha House, Doctor Bridge, Peat Road to Low Birker and onto Green Crag. A beeline to Harter Fell, up the wall and down the other side, along the forestry fence to Hard Knott Pass. Hard Knott from the Pass and over to Lincove Beck. Down Lincove to Eskdale and all the way back to the cars.
Weather and conditions: Sunny start, windy on the tops, dark skies around midday, sunny again and warmish throughout.
Greetings Count: Two others meandering around Green Crag. An out-of-breath, slightly disorientated runner at the bottom of the Harter Fell wall, two diners (a good 10m away from the Trig) on Harter Fell and no other fellwalkers until we reached Lincove Beck. Lincove Beck and Eskdale were understandably busier.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Nothing to report today. Both Dave and I stayed awake on the journey home, luckily.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©