26th May 2008

A walk around Hard Knott


Walk Overview
Time 09.30 to 14.45
Duration 5 hr 15 min
Distance 6.9 mile
Ascent 1780 ft
Walking with On my own
Britherilkeld Farm - Lingcove Bridge - Lingcove Beck - Moasdale - Hardknott Pass - Hardknott Roman Fort
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Jubilee Bridge, Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass has got to be one of the steepest and most difficult roads in the country. In fact, many people make the effort to drive all the way around to this part of the Lake District just to face the challenge. I should point out that this road can be extremely dangerous during the winter months and is best avoided altogether if the weather is at all frosty. I was caught out myself on one occasion when using the route as a shortcut over to Cockley Beck. Just above the steepest of the bends the road turned into an ice rink and I had no alternative than to reverse back down until I reached a convenient turning place; not an experience I'm keen to repeat.

The car park has room for about ten cars, but should you find it full, there is usually room a little further along the road into Eskdale.

Route Map

Brotherilkeld Farm, found near the bottom of the Eskdale side of Hardknott Pass, as you start the walk into Upper Eskdale.

And the view into Upper Eskdale, with the distinctive pointed top of Bow Fell in the distance.

A couple of things were notable on today's walk, the fist one was just how dry all the rivers and becks were. The other thing was the wind; even at valley level it was blowing a gale. I'm glad I hadn't intended to get onto the higher fells today, otherwise the walk would have turned into a battle against the elements.

Sheep, quite literally being ran back onto the higher fells.
Shortly after taking this picture the farmer from Brotherilkeld caught up with us and explained that it was so dry on the fells that the sheep kept returning to the farm end of the valley, and he had to keep taking them back up to the higher areas of the valley.

And there they go, up the fellside above Lingcove Bridge.

Lingcove Bridge.


Lingcove Beck.

A close up of Scafell Pike and Broad Crag.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell.

The big ones. Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag and Ill Crag.

A short walk from Lingcove Beck brings you to the gate, marking the start of Moasdale; a lovely, quiet valley between Hard Knott and Little Stand. In light of the dry conditions I thought would be nice to walk along the Little Stand side of the valley, instead of taking the normal path which runs below Hard Knott.

And the view back into Moasdale.

The route out of Moasdale brought us to the Cockley Beck side of Hardknott Pass.
Without doubt, the walk up the road is very steep, but the need to keep stopping to let the traffic pass offers plenty of opportunity for a rest.

Looking down Hardknott Pass towards Wrynose Bottom and Wrynose Pass.

And again.

Heading down the other side of the pass into Eskdale.

Border End seen from the area of level ground above Hardknott Roman Fort. This area is believed to have been levelled off during the Roman occupation of the fort and was used as their parade ground. I wonder how many fedup soldiers were forced to march up and down here over the years, and all for the glory of Rome.

Standing next to the fort, we got a clear view down to the path we'd followed past Brotherilkeld and into Upper Eskdale at the start of the walk.

Another picture showing Border End, this time seen from one of the entrances to the fort.

The interior of the fort.

When we left the main fort we walked across to the bath house (the wall ahead of us), before turning right at the road and heading back down to Eskdale.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks