Saturday, 1 July 2000

Harter Fell (Mardale)

Harter Fell
Height: 778m (2,555ft)
Prominence: 149m (489ft)
Region: Far Eastern Fells
Classifications: HuMP, Nuttall, Hewitt, Wainwright, sub Marilyn, Birkett
Summit feature: Cairn on a rocky ourcrop
Times climbed: 1
Related trip report:
The Kentmere Round - 18/07/2013
The cairn on Harter Fell
What Wainwright said:

"A broad wedge of lonely upland country rises from the valley of Kent at Burneside and continues north, narrowing for nine miles. Having very gradually attained its maximum height on Harter Fell, the ground suddenly collapses in a tremendous wall of crags, falling swiftly to the head of Mardale. One of the noblest mountain scenes in the district".

Harter Fell lies at the meeting point of three ridges, and forms the head of three valleys: Mardale, Longsleddale and the valley of the River Kent. The western slopes of the fell are moderately steep, with an area of historic landslip surrounding Dry Gill. To the north Harter Fell shows a different character to the generally grassy slopes that characterise it. Extensive crags, unnamed on OS maps, drop 1,300 ft to the valley below and provide a fine scene when viewed from Riggindale.

The passes of Nan Bield and Gatescarth provided trade routes from Mardale to Kentmere. With the submergence of Mardale Green village beneath Haweswater reservoir in the 1940s, their original purpose has died, but both routes still provide good access for fellwalkers and are the easiest ways onto Harter Fell in addition to including it as part of the Kentmere Horseshoe.

A large cairn, intertwined with old ironwork marks the summit. Wainwright described some as "resembling upended pitchforks, and when encountered unexpectedly on a misty day, the effect is faintly nightmarish". Good views all round are improved by moving to the rim of the crags where the entirety of Haweswater can be seen.

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