Other Lakeland Passes

The Wrynose and Hardknott passes are hard to beat in terms of their driving experience, but other slightly less challenging drives exist within the Lake District. Two of may favourites are the Honister Pass and the Kirkstone Pass.

The Honister Pass

Honister Pass from Slate Mine

The Honister Pass forms part of a beautiful circular scenic drive from Keswick that also includes Buttermere and Crummock Water, areas that aren't as dominated by visitors compared with other parts of the Lake District. Click here for a map. The road through the pass is the B5289, which runs down the east side of Derwent Water, and through Borrowdale (itself very scenic), before passing through Seatoller, where a worthwhile detour will take you towards Seathwaite, affording good views of some of the high peaks. From Seatoller, we climb steeply up the pass to find the Honister Slate Mine at the top.

The photo is taken from the car park, looking down at the road descending towards Buttermere.

Minor Road at the top of The Struggle

The Kirkstone Pass

At 454m (1,490ft), the Kirkstone pass (map) is around 200 feet higher than either the Wrynose or Hardknott Passes, and is much more accessible, particularly if approached via the two-lane A592 from either Ullswater in the north or Windermere in the south.

The approach from Windermere is long but not too taxing, the approach from Ullswater is steeper, but again reasonably achievable. My personal favourite approach is from Ambleside. Just north of the town centre, near the famous Bridge House, turn right at a mini roundabout and immediately climb steeply out of the town. The climb is relentless, and not without reason is it called The Struggle. Eventually, about three-quarters of the way up to the top of the pass, we reach a plateau, which is where I was able to stop and take the photo. The climb continues to the Kirkstone Pass Inn at the junction with the A592 at the top of the pass, reputedly the third highest pub in England.

Wrynose and Hardknott Pass - Introduction
The Route - Great Langdale
The Wrynose Pass
The Hardknott Pass
The Descent to Eskdale
Other Lakeland Passes

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Copyright © 2004 - 2005 Simon Davies