The Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass were on our agenda for the day, they have a reputation of being the most scenic journeys in the UK.
Our third day in the Lake District was an important one. It was the the 71st birthday of Bruce Springsteen. Ok, it was really my wife’s birthday, and we had a nice day planned for her to celebrate.
After driving over the Honister Pass yesterday, we were heading for the famous Hardknott and Wrynose Passes.
Firstly we had to make the journey from Grange-over-Sands to Eskdale Green, this took just over an hour. In the village called Boot we called into the Brook House Inn for a light refreshment.
Then it was time to attempt one of Britain’s most scenic and challenging drives – The Hardknott Pass.
The pass links Eskdale and the Duddon Vale and is the steepest road in England with a gradient of 33%.
Indeed, this was quite a difficult drive, and at one point I had to put my foot down just to get up the steepest part of the road. I thought we were going to roll all the way back down the mountain.
The views from the top of the pass were incredible and definitely worth the tough drive up.
Hardknott Pass becomes Wrynose Pass
Once we descended from the Hardknott Pass, we crossed the bridge onto the Wrynose Pass.
The Wrynose Pass is not as steep as the Hardknott Pass, with gradients up to 25%.
Furthermore, this pass reaches an altitude of 393m and it covers an old Roman road for some of the route.
However, whilst the views here were also spectacular, I think the Hardknott Pass just pips it for scenery.
Once we had a late lunch in Little Langdale we made our way to Coniston. This pretty little village is dominated by the mountain, uniquely named the Old Man of Coniston.
The mountain is 802 metres high and has been mined for copper for over 800 years. You can see the link between the village and the mountain as some local businesses are named after the copper industry, for example the Coppermines Cottages.
Overall we enjoyed Coniston village. There were a number of interesting shops and pubs in Coniston. We just wish we had more time to spend there.
From the village of Coniston we made the 15 minute walk down to Coniston Water. This is the third largest lake in the Lake District after Windermere and Ulverston.
Coniston Water is over five miles long and half a mile wide. A number of boat trips operate from the pier.
The lake is probably best known for Donald Campbell who sadly died here in 1967. He was attempting a record for water speed on his vessel Bluebird K7. Campbell’s body was not recovered until 2001. A lakeside cafe is named ‘Bluebird’ in memory of his attempt.
From Coniston we made our way back to our lodge in Grange-over-Sands. Tomorrow we are going to visit Holker Hall and the southern part of the Lake District.