Date - 6th June 2010 Distance - 4.75 miles
Ascent -
1760 ft
Map - OL5
Start point - Car park at Mardale Head (NY 469107)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Adam Seat 2185 666 NY 4711 0907
Little Harter Fell 2234 681 NY 4689 0944
Harter Fell (Mardale) 2552 778 NY 4596 0932



During 2021 we were continuing the project to rewrite and enhance our original stories of 2008-12. This adventure was rejected for a story in 2010 as there are not very many pictures. This was due largely to the fact low cloud obscured the views. However we have now decided to write an account, to revive memories of the day.



We were chatting over tea and biscuits.

Shaun said, "that was a superb walk last Sunday ticking off one section of the Birkett tops around Mardale."

"Absolutely", cheered Little Eric, "as I ticked off the 4 Wainwright summits too."

"Dad took lots of photographs, so we will be able to write a detailed story", went on Grizzly.

Tetley was in the process of taking another biscuit, when he paused saying, "where's Allen. The arch tea belly must be thirsty and hungry as always."

"No doubt he'll be along very soon I am sure", replied Shaun.

And indeed this was the case as he came bounding in calling out, "great great. I bring news of our next walk this Sunday."

"Well have your tea and biscuits first", said Shaun holding out a steaming mug for him to take.

"Thanks pal." Then a few minutes later, after Shaun had refilled his mug, he said, "Dad is taking us to Mardale again to tick off the other Birkett tops."

"Oh wonderful", cheered Tetley. "That will mean visiting Adam Seat and Little Harter Fell. We will also climb Harter Fell again that is both a Birkett and Wainwright that we have done before."

"I haven't", said Little Eric, "so it will be another Wainwright ticked off."

"Well, roll on Sunday", cried Grizzly.


The Walk

The same route to the start as last week. As we drove along the road by the reservoir, Shaun called out, "look that's a red squirrel crossing."

"Ah, wonderful", said Allen. "Made our day, as it is rare to see them."

As we pulled into the car park at Mardale Head, the day could not have been more of a contrast to last Sunday, from the weather viewpoint.

"Last Sunday we had clear views and a fierce wind. Today is a still with low cloud down on the fells", commented Grizzly.

"The lack of wind means it will hang around all day", went on Tetley. "But, at least we had the views last week."

When the reservoir was constructed, this sign was erected to guide walkers.

Shaun instructed "our route today is the path up to Gatesgarth Pass."

Last week Dad had taken a picture of this sinuous path from The Rigg. It gives readers an idea what Dad was faced with.

In clear view last week, today by the time we were half way up we were in mist. We did not emerge until the low levels of the descent route down Nan Bield Pass.

From the car park, we set off up that sinuous path, by Gatesgarth Beck.

Before we disappeared into the mist, Allen said, "there's still a view of Haweswater. We can see the path up onto The Rigg that we took last week."

"The water is very silver today, in contrast to how blue it was then", commented Little Eric.

On and on Dad climbed into the mist and up to the col of Gatesgarth Pass.

"It may be misty, but it is certainly not cold and I have made a mistake putting my coat on as I am sweating so much", said Dad. "When we get to Adam Seat it is going in the rucksack, and I'll just walk in my t-shirt."

Shaun said, "we leave the path and go right by that fence."

There was no path and the terrain was rough, but Dad is well used to this. At a corner, Shaun pointed, "cross the stile then it is just a few yards to the summit of Adam Seat."

This is marked by a boundary stone with a letter 'L' on one side and 'H' on the other.

"I wonder what the letters mean?", mused Little Eric.

Grizzly said, "I could only find one suggestion on the Internet. That was they stood for Haweswater & Longsleddale, and indeed Gatesgarth pass links the two, but I am not necessarily convinced."

"I tend to agree", replied Tetley. "Haweswater was much smaller until the valley was dammed and flooded in the 1930s. Haweswater is the name of the reservoir, but the valley is Mardale. Before the building of the dam, there was a village, Mardale Green, at the head of the valley."

"The boundary stone looks to be older, and I wonder if in fact it marked a boundary between two estates", said Grizzly. "That was the case with the stone at the top of Heron Pike we visited on the way to Sheffield Pike."

"I guess we will never know for sure", said Allen.

"Time to have our picture taken", called out Shaun. "Let's get settled."

As Dad was taking this, Grizzly said, "this summit is alphabetically the first of the Birkett tops. Good to get it ticked off."

Issuing the next instructions, Shaun said, we recross the stile and then continue left by the fence to the main path."

Reaching this, he then advised, "cross the path and follow that narrow trod that will quickly bring us to the rocky cairned top of Little Harter Fell."

"Well", said Dad, "that must be one of the easiest climbs ever."

"Great", cheered Allen, as we scrambled out, "that's the Birkett objectives done for today."

Snugged down again, Shaun said, "we now return to the track and then climb on by the fence, and rounding the corner continue at a more gentle gradient to Harter Fell summit.

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric. "Another Wainwright bagged."

"So where now?", asked Little Eric, as we settled in the rucksack again.

"Leave the fence and head west on that path", replied Shaun. "It will take us down to the col at Nan Bield Pass."

Due to the cloud there was no photo opportunity, but this taken last week from Rough Crag, shows the ridge we were descending.

This path is used by walkers doing the Kentmere Horseshoe, so it much used. Rough and stony Dad took care to get us safely to the col.

There sits this large shelter.

"We descend the pass right to return to Mardale", said Shaun.

"Where does it go left and ahead?", asked Little Eric.

"Left is down eventually into the Kentmere valley", replied Allen. "While ahead is the continuing route of the horseshoe, first to Mardale Ill Bell and then on to Thornthwaite Crag."

The first part was rough and very steep in places to the pretty tarn of Small Water, and you will see that we are still in the cloud and mist.

The path was not it doubt running along above the tarn.

Looking back from here Tetley said, "I can see how steep and rough the descent was from the col."

"Aye lad, I am very glad we decided not to got up this way."

Along here we passed by two small shelters. "Very suitable for bears", commented Grizzly.

Beyond the tarn the path descended steeply again by Small Water Beck, to a gate. Beyond the gradient eased considerably and the path became less rough, and soon we were back to the start.

"We are out of the cloud here in the valley, but Harter Fell is still enveloped in mist", said Tetley.

"A far cry from the view we had last week", went on Allen.

"Oh well despite the cloud we have achieved our objectives and that is all the Birkett tops done in this area" said Grizzly.

"And I have bagged Harter Fell too", went on Little Eric. "Thank you Dad as always."

"What a fortunate group we are to go on all these adventures", said Tetley.

"Time for lunch now", said Allen. "We have our picnic that we can have in the comfort of the car. I suppose you will be going to Junction 38 services at Tebay, Dad."

"Yes lad."

Here he enjoyed meat pie chips vegetables & gravy, followed by fruit cake and all washed down with a pot of tea. All for £7.90. Very good value for money.


shopify analytics