Harter Fell and Low Birker Tarn (Eskdale)

Harter Fell occupies a relatively isolated position overlooking the Eskdale valley and this Lake District walk offers some wonderful views towards Scafell and Scafell Pike. The route also includes a visit to pretty Low Birker Tarn, which sees relatively few visitors.

Technical sheet
No. 293110
A Eskdale walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 15/09/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h40[?]
Distance Distance : 10.66km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 666m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 668m
Highest point Highest point : 634m
Lowest point Lowest point : 67m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Eskdale
Starting point Starting point : N 54.399355° / W 3.213752°
Download : -


(D)The walk starts from the car park at the foot of the Hardknott Pass and follows a path roughly south west in parallel to the main valley. It starts easily enough and then leads gradually upwards along the side of the lower reaches of Harter Fell with views of the Eskdale valley opening up below to the right with the Scafell range in the background. After the path contours Harter Fell in a south to south east direction for about half a mile without any noticeable height gain, it suddenly branches off to the left and takes a "route one" approach to the top. This is the one really steep section that is likely to increase your heart rate before long as the route climbs somewhat unrelentingly up the grassy felllside. It is not until it nearly reaches the upper reaches of the mountain that the gradient eases off.

(1)The summit area, which has a trig point to mark the very top, is notable for its outcrops of clusters of rocks which offer scrambling opportunities. The author takes the view that tarns, as well as summits, are worthwhile walk objectives and therefore the return route takes in Low Birker Tarn, rather than repeating the outgoing route in reverse. Walk back down the steep path to the junction with the path from Eskdale which you then follow for about a quarter of a mile before leaving the path and walking across pathless ground between Dow Crag and Kepple Crag to reach the tarn.

(2)Low Birker Tarn is one of the prettier, but less well-known, tarns in the Lake District. Choose a sunny day, and it may appear as a royal blue colour. Through the crystal clear waters of the tarn, in places, submerged tree roots can be seen. Green Crag provides a good backdrop to a photo of the tarn as well as offering an alternative area to explore on the return route.

(3)A clear path leads down back to Eskdale, zig-zagging in places to Low Birker Farm and then back along a path to the east by Penny Hill Farm to rejoin the car park.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Start: Hardknott Pass car park
1 : km 2.66 - alt. km 2.66 - Harter Fell
2 : km 6.34 - alt. km 6.34 - Low Birker Tarn
3 : km 7.55 - alt. km 7.55 - Low Birker Farm
D/A : km 10.65 - alt. km 10.65 - Finish: Hardknott Pass car park

Useful Information

Harter Fell has an altitude of 2,128 feet and is situated in a relatively isolated position overlooking the Eskdale valley. As it does not readily link up with any other mountains, it does not see many walkers. However, its' isolation does give it one main plus point, and that is the all round view that it commands, particularly towards the Scafell range and the Coniston mountains. Harter Fell is situated between the Eskdale and Duddon valleys, which means that each valley offers a starting point and this route starts from Eskdale. For the most part, this is a walk of gentle gradients, but there is one notable exception.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.