27th April 2014

Hard Knott from Brotherilkeld


Walk Overview
Time 10am to 1:40pm
Duration 3 hr 40 min
Distance 5.8 mile
Ascent 1400 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Jubilee Bridge - Brotherilkeld - Lingcove Bridge - Lingcove Beck - Hardknott Tarn - Hard Knott - Hardknott Pass - Jubilee Bridge
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


Eskdale beckoned today so we headed to the bottom of Hardknott Pass for a walk to Lingcove Bridge and over Hard Knott. Jennifer pointed out that she likes it around here because it's always nice and quiet. Between Brotherilkeld and the top of Hardknott Pass she was right, because we never saw another person, , , then it all changed.


No point in running about when you can sneak a lift.

Passing by the bridge over the River Esk.


A view along the valley shows the pointed top of Bow Fell in the distance.

Turning around, we look back towards the main valley of Eskdale.

Ah well, it looks like another large area of fellside has been planted with plastic tubes.


There are lots of waterfalls along this stretch of the river ranging from this sort of size to some much higher ones. The thing you notice more than anything here is just how clear the water is.


Lingcove Bridge, one of the most ancient of all the packhorse bridges in the Lake District.

and again.

Just up from the bridge you pass this waterfall.

I turn around to see the bridge and its sheepfold. In the far distance is Green Crag.

After ascending the steep ground above the bridge, we make our way around to the northern end of Hard Knott.


At the far side of Upper Eskdale the highest ground in England presents an impressive skyline. Although the easiest and quickest access to those fells is from Wasdale, by far the best views are to be had from this area (IMHO).


Longcove Beck twists its way towards Bow Fell and Esk Pike, seen as we begin to head onto Hard Knott.

Hardknott Tarn, a strong contender for the least attractive tarn in Lakeland.

Here it is again, this time in front of Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell.

Not the clearest view but over there are Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End.

Approaching Hard Knott summit.

We had a few spots of rain as we walked across the summit area and as we looked around the higher fells were just falling victim of the lowering cloud.

Hard Knott summit.

Looking down to a short section of Duddon Valley.

Today must have been the annual cycling event where the riders take a route over the Lakeland passes.
The people we passed must have been the tail enders because we only saw a couple of cyclists on the drive through Eskdale.
To say the least, some of them looked in a sorry state.
Just before we got to the car, two ladies passed us pushing their bikes and although there's nothing wrong with that, they'd decided it was a good idea to take off their shoes and walk up in stocking feet. I dread to think what their feet would have been like by the time they got to the top. And after this, they have to face Wrynose Pass.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks