Easter Sun – Harter Fell and Birks Bridge   19 comments

I forgot to mention another day out on our Easter weekend. We decided the weather was good enough for a day out in the Lakes. After our swimming exploits we fancied another dip and walk.

We needed a small but interesting peak with a river swim. Dunnerdale and Harter Fell seemed to fit the bill.


On a hot sunny Bank Holiday weekend the Lake District can be swarming with people. Dunnerdale is a stunning place but awkward to get to and off the radar so we found it relatively quiet by Lake District standards. Our route up Harter Fell was heading for the obvious outcrop of Maiden Castle in the photo below.


We stopped off at Birks Bridge, our chosen swimming hole on the way and it looked excellent.


We were excited for the swim later but first there was a mountain to climb to earn our right to a swim.


The route up was brutally steep and mercifully quite short.


We still needed a rest halfway up. It was a pretty hot and hazy day.


Maiden Castle was fine rocky outcrop with some scrambling opportunities.


It looks dramatic from most angles but in fact you can pretty much walk to the top around the back.


From here to the summit is a scramblers delight. There are small rocky outcrops littering the slopes. A playground for budding and semi-retired rock athletes.


Me and the DBs had enormous fun picking a route and finding some serious short challenges to test our skills.


The summit itself is even better with several significant outcrops and superb views.


We ate lunch, drank tea and played around on the rocks.


Smiles and laughter were in abundance. Scrambling around on perfect warm rock under a blue sky is a pretty damn good feeling.


I’m still surprised that this is my first ascent of this rocky peak, most likely the best known and largest of Lakelands major fells I’ve never climbed. I’m glad I saved it for such a superb day.


Despite the fun we were all eager to head down and enjoy a different kind of fun.


As we headed down the haze seemed to clear a little and the views were increasingly dramatic.


Our happy group finishing the hike part of the day.


And into the water!


This early in the year I expected the water to be bitingly cold and the swim refreshing but short.


In fact the water was no colder than in the height of last years heatwave and we spent a good hour playing, swimming, jumping and generally messing about.


The river runs through a narrow and deep gorge with a waterfalls at the upstream section. We had enormous fun squirming our way up the waterfalls, some more ungainly than others!


We sat on the sunny banks to warm up, thanking our luck to have such glorious hot weather at Easter. I’m pretty sure this is the earliest point in the year I’ve ever been wild swimming. Still seems surreal to have such hot weather 7 days after I shivered in winter cold in the Brecon Beacons.


We headed home a very happy and contented bunch. Sadly TBH had a very bad case of dizziness that left her in pretty bad way hardly able to move or open her eyes the previous day. Whilst much improved on this day she decided to rest at home in the sunshine. Such a shame she wasn’t able to join us but it was great to her up and about and looking much better for a day in garden when we got home 🙂

An absolutely top notch day of scrambling and swimming in the sunshine.


19 responses to “Easter Sun – Harter Fell and Birks Bridge

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  1. Great post 🙂 we spent the Easter holidays in the Lake District and did a lot of outdoor swimming. The first week it was very cold despite the sunshine as there was still melting snow on the high tops. It took me some time to stop shivering after going in to Wastwater! We also walked Harter Fell (and also Green Crag) on our trip, parking at the Woolpack Inn. We hadn’t packed our swim stuff on that walk but were so hot coming down we had a sneaky skinny dip at Doctor Bridge, only just deep enough for a brief submersion! Best swims were on the 2nd week when we parked in Stonethwaite to walk Eagle Crag and Sergeants Crag, we continued along the top for a while and then headed down to Langstrath Beck, there’s a really nice pool higher up and then a popular swim spot at Black Moss Pot. The water had warmed up by then so we had great fun 🙂


    • Hi Ruth – good to hear from you again. You were so lucky to be in the Lakes over Easter, weather was superb. We swam in the River Levens near Milnethorpe the day before (see previous post) and the water was so much colder. Combining Harter Fell with Birks Bridge was inspired for us, its a superb little gorge and a cracking mountain. Next time you to Eskdale you must get up to Tongue Pot on the Esk just below Lingcove Bridge. There are loads of deep pools there and a very wet gorge scramble up the Esk Gorge from there is a classic. Black Moss Pot is high on my wild swim wishlist! 🙂


  2. The water is still too cold for me. Looks like a nice hike. I will have a look at it.


  3. Brilliant day all round. I think I might be going back to the Duddon valley from time to time.


  4. Seen lots of photos of Birks Bridge and the crystal clear water underneath, always looks to be a good swimming spot. I haven’t done Harter Fell yet, or Green Crag for that matter. We are in Grasmere in the summer so looking for fells along the wrynose and hardknott area that I haven’t done (makes note of this walk, the boys would love the swimming!!)


    • It’s pretty much a perfect combination for the family on a sunny day. Harter Fell is a cracking peak with loads of small crags for the kids to play on and the swim at Birks Bridge is superb. Jumps, waterfalls and deep clear water. Its also fairly quiet by Lakes standards at least it was on a sunny Easter weekend. Look forward to your posts and photos in a few months! 🙂


  5. Lovely weather there! I remember it being sunny yet perishing the last time I was on Harter Fell……:D


  6. A splendid day, nothing like the feel of warm scrambling rock in the sunshine!. Do you mean it’s the first time you’ve climbed Harter Fell, or the first time for the extra little scrambly bit to the true summit?.
    Don’t know about these aquatic frolics though, not our thing!.


    • First time on Harter Fell – I was decent at scrambling in my youth but these days the summit rocks are about as tough as I can make. The swimming I can handle! 🙂


  7. What an absolutely brilliant day of hiking, climbing and having fun with friends and recorded sensationally with your lens. Fantastic to see the DB’s and yourself making the most of the rocky crags.


  8. If those pictures haven’t been taken to avoid other people being in the shot you did well to find such a quiet and peaceful walk in the Lakes on a Bank holiday.


    • No camera trickery involved. I’m guessing we saw maybe a dozen people in total on our walk and a similar number messing about in the river. It’s quite a tricky place to reach by Lake District standards and Harter Fell isn’t high or well known enough to attract the attention of the casual peak bagger. As you can see it’s their loss as it’s a superb little mountain. For a warm sunny day it was pretty much perfect although it takes a certain degree of keenness to swim in cold rivers. Good fun though.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Harter Fell and Birks Bridge. – Beating The Bounds

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