Lake District Walks
Harter Fell & Kentmere Pike
Date: 29th January 2006
Distance: 8.6 miles
Ascent: 2371 feet
Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY465052
One half of the Kentmere Horseshoe with great views from Harter Fell.
Route Summary: Brockstones - Smallthwaite Knott - Nan Bield - Harter Fell - Kentmere Pike - Goat Scar - Shipman Knotts - Stile End - Brockstones.
1. Yoke and Ill Bell
2. Ill Bell and Kentmere Reservoir from Smallthwaite Knott
3. Approaching the Nan Bield pass at the head of the Kentmere Valley
4. The top of the Nan Bield pass
5. Harter Fell
6. High Street from Harter Fell
7. Haweswater from Harter Fell
8. The summit cairn on Harter Fell
9. By the trig point on Kentmere Pike
10. Long Sleddale from Goat Scar
11. The top of Shipmans Knott
12. The upper Kentmere valley from Stile End
Walk Detail: This was my first solo day trip to the Lakes and it was a day of absolutely glorious weather. Before I could start my walk however I had to find a place to park which wasn't easy as what few parking spaces there were in Kentmere had already been taken by the time I arrived. After many manoeuvres, close scrapes and a nick on the back of the car I managed to get parked up near the road end at Brockstones Farm.
After this initial stress it was great to get going down the valley enjoying good views across to Yoke’s Rainsborrow Crag. After being followed up to Smallthwaite Knott by a lone sheep the views improved even more. Particularly arresting was the profile of Ill Bell over the dark waters of Kentmere Reservoir with Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag and Mardale Ill Bell providing solid support at the valley head.
The walk to Nan Bield Pass was very nicely graded and the final climb to the head of the pass and a first sighting of Haweswater was made easy by the fine zig zag path. The climb from the top of Nan Bield was a lot longer than I expected but was enjoyable nevertheless. There was also a lot more snow than I had anticipated but this only served to enhance the face of Harter Fell even further.
I was beaten to the summit by a father and his two sons who proceeded to swing about on the bits of metal sticking out of the cairn. Therefore I went in search of Wainwright’s cairn where he drew that fantastic picture of himself with Haweswater behind. In retrospect I don’t think I found the right place. However I still found a nice spot to eat some lunch.
After returning to the summit for some pictures and soaking in the views of High Street and the Far Eastern Fells I turned south to Kentmere Pike over The Knowe and Brown Howe. It was a very easy walk although I did suffer a sudden twinge in the knee which thankfully did not last long.
Kentmere Pike had an interesting top with the western side of the wall being much rockier than that on the east. On the way to Shipman’s Knott I made the recommended detour to Kentmere Pike’s subsidiary top of Goat Scar. It was well worth the effort for the great views of Long Sleddale in both directions.
The walk on to Shipman’s Knott was again very easy but while I made it to the summit of the latter I found myself on the wrong side of the wall and while I followed a trod all the way down I was constantly worried about getting back over the wall. In the end I had to scale the wall at the bottom which I had to do with great care considering the 10ft drop on the other side.
The final track back was again very pleasant and I enjoyed the views back up the valley. While I did not approach Harter Fell from its most impressive side it is definitely an impressive hill and I did enjoy my time on the top. I think Shipman’s Knott would be better appreciated in ascent as it is something of an anti-climax after Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike.