- Harter Fell (Eskdale)
:"To read about the Harter Fell near Mardale in the Lake District, see
Harter Fell (Mardale)."
Name = Harter Fell
Photo = Harter_Fell_from_Wha_House_Farm.jpg
Caption = Harter Fell as seen from Wha House Farm in Eskdale
Elevation = 649 m (2,129 ft)
Lake District, Southern Fells
Prominence = "c." 276 m
Parent peak =
Coordinates = coord|54|23|18|N|3|12|15|W|display=inline,title
OS "Landranger" 96, "Explorer" OL6
Grid_ref_UK = SD218997
Listing = Marilyn, Hewitt, Wainwright, Nuttall
Harter Fell is a
mountainin the Lake District National Parkin Cumbria, England. It is of height 649 m and is located between the Eskdale and Duddon valleys, from where several routes lead to the top.
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 Knottand 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. Alfred Wainwrightconsidered the latter hills unworthy of inclusion in his influential " Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells", stating that "south and west from Green Crag the scenery quickly deteriorates. This summit has therefore been taken as the boundary of fellwalking country." Later guidebook writers have disagreed, adding and the remainder of the range to their main volumes. Richards, Mark: "Southern Fells": Collins (2003): ISBN 0-00-711367-6] Birkett, Bill: "Complete Lakeland Fells": Collins Willow (1994): ISBN 0-0021-8406-0] Wainwright himself later relented and included these lesser hills in a supplementary volume, "The Outlying Fells of Lakeland".
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 Fortstands 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.
From 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 Commissiontrees sweeping down into the Duddon valley.
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.".
Alfred Wainwright: " A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells", Book 4: ISBN 0-7112-2457-9]
ummit and View
The summit area bears three rocky
tors, the middle one of which is the highest. An Ordnance Surveytriangulation column stands on the western outcrop. All three provide pleasant scrambling. From its summit there is an excellent view of the ring of fells known as the "Eskdale Horseshoe": Sca Fell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Great End, Esk Pike, Bow Felland Crinkle Crags. To the south are the sands of the Duddon estuary.
Harter Fell offers excellent insights into the structure and composition of the
Birker Fellformation of the Ordovician Borrowdale Volcanic Group. The fell is dominantly composed of composite andesite lavaflows, with autobrecciated upper surfaces developed in some locations. These are often seen in the field as flat surfaces above steep crags, the crags themselves being formed due to the more crystalline, lower portions of each flow. The dip slopeon these flows (~24° WSW) suggests that the formation is in nearly the same orientation now as when it formed. The summit of the fell is composed of one such lava flow, but only a few metres down slope the underlying lava flow is a portion of the Great Whinscale Dacite. This local marker unit conformably overlies an andesitic lapilli tuffand the Little Stand Tuff, a nodular rhyolitic ignimbrite. Below these distinctive rock units the andesite lava flows are seen again. On the northern side of the fell, at approximately 520-540m elevation, a volcaniclastic sandstoneunit is intercalatedbetween the flows. Also on the northern slopes of the fell, and lower still at between 450-500m, the lava flows switch to dacitic composition, with distinctive euhedral plagioclase feldspar phenocrysts(1-4mm). The southern slopes of the fell again display the Great Whinscale dacite-tuff sequence, owing to extensive faulting. The very lowest slopes of the fell again revert to andesitic lava flows. In the north-western corner, near the Spothow Gill, a small vein of coppermineralisation has been worked out, and some of the evidence of this Victorian-era mining activity can still be seen.
From 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 walkwhen tackled in its usual direction.
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