7th November 2009

Bucketing down on Hard Knott


Walk Overview
Time 09.30 to 12.30
Duration 3 hr
Distance 5.7 mile
Ascent 1640 ft
Walking with On my own
Brotherilkeld - Footpath next to River Esk - Lingcove Bridge - Lingcove Beck - Hard Knott - Hardknott Pass
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

Walking along the lonning between the Eskdale road and Brotherilkeld.

Taw House seen from the footbridge over the River Esk.

Looking back towards Brotherilkeld.

Well, the little spell of brightness didn't last long. By the time I was only have way to Lingcove Bridge it was chucking it down. Obviously I'd have preferred a dry day, but I wasn't bothered to be honest. With a noticeable lack of time spent on the fells over the last few weeks I felt like enough was enough, so I'd already told myself I was getting out for a walk today whatever the weather turned out to be like, and whatever there was to do at home.

With all the recent rain we've had, there wasn't half some pile of water about today. The fells were all sodden, the paths were mostly under water and everywhere you'd normally expect to see a gentle trickle of water, there was a fast flowing stream.

Lingcove Bridge, found at the point where Lingcove Beck joins forces with the River Esk.

Just before I turned off the path to head onto the northern end of Hard Knott, the clouds parted for a short time allowing me to see the first signs of winter on Scafell Pike, Broad Crag and Ill Crag.

And not quite so close up.


The view back to the Lingcove Beck area of Upper Eskdale.

A rather sad and surprisingly dry looking Hardknott Tarn.


Hardknott summit and a view across towards Grey Friar.

, , , a little further round and you can see into the Duddon Valley.

, , , further round still, and the blackness over Eskdale made me wonder if the end of the Earth was about to take place. Just my luck, , , of all the valleys in all the world, it had to happen in this one on a day when I came here for walk. Never mind, I suppose every day has its downside, and downsides don't come much bigger than 'the day of reckoning'. And as pointless as it may seem, if this was indeed the end of it all, at least I'm on hand to capture the event on film (or card as it is nowadays).

Yippee, that was a stroke of luck, , , once the view down to Wrynose Bottom cleared a little, I realised it was all a alarm.
"So there was no need to eat that piece of cake so fast after all was there"?
"No, I suppose there wasn't"

The top of Hardknott Pass. Needless to say there was no one else about up here.

The view down the pass into Eskdale.

Now this is what I call rain. It may seem clear enough, but look at the puddles.
By the time I got to the car the rain was bouncing off the road and I was faced with the problems of (A) taking my waterproofs off before getting in the car and (B) getting in the car before I got too wet. After standing next to the car like an idiot waiting for the rain to stop I eventually gave in, and yes, I successfully managed to remove the waterproofs before getting in the car. Unfortunately item (B) on the problem list was a total failure.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks