The headwaters of the River Esk and the Duddon are separated by a ridge falling south west from the summit of Crinkle Crags. This line of high ground continues over many twists and turns for 15 miles , finally meeting the sea on the slopes of Black Combe. From Crinkle Crags the first fell on this ridge is Hard Knott, followed by Harter Fell and Green Crag. Alfred Wainwright did not include the remainder of the ridge in his influential ‘’Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’’, but later guidebook writers have disagreed, adding Great Worm Crag, Yoadcastle, Whitfell, Buck Barrow, Black Combe and the low hills around Devoke Water to their main volumes. Wainwright himself later relented and included these lesser hills in a supplementary volume, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland.
From the main ridge of Crinkle Crags a low saddle juts out to the west in the vicinity of the southernmost Crinkle. This separates the basin of upper Eskdale from the head of the small marshy valley of Moasdale, down which the Moasdale Beck flows south to join the River Duddon at Cockley Beck. To the west of the saddle the ridge turns southward and gains height, rising over a series of rocky knolls to the summit of Hard Knott. The Moasdale side has gentle gradients but the western flanks above the Esk are fringed with crags. One feature on this side is the Eskdale Needle, a finger of rock detached from the main face. As the Esk and Moasdale Becks diverge, the girth of the fell increases, until a pair of side valleys intrude to nip off its southward progress. These streams, both named Hard Knott Gill, fall from either side of Hardknott Pass, beyond which the ridge climbs again over a series of crags toward Harter Fell.
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