Hardknott Pass Survivors [2009/01]

Hardknott Pass Survivors by Lillian Hobbs

If you have never tackled the Hardknott Pass in the Lake District then don’t even consider it unless you have a Green Badge or have been blessed by one of Gods representatives. Sample Image

Wendy, Lilian & Janet decided to tour the Lake District where the scenery is spectacular and there are some fantastic biking roads, but even they couldn’t believe the Hardknott Pass.  We had stopped for afternoon tea at Muncaster Castle where some of the locals told us they had turned back. Janet found a local pastor to bless her crossing so that she was safe and we made for spectacular Wasdale Head, before we headed off to the pass, which is a shortcut to get us back to Lake Windermere.

Although the 30% sign at the bottom of the pass is a clue, as we headed along the narrow roads, it reminded us of one of Chris Palmer’s Sunday rides along the back roads of Hampshire, but this time there was stunning scenery.

As we started to climb the pass, it got steeper, and steeper. The hairpin bends became extremely tight, with nasty adverse cambers, steep inclines, pot holes everywhere, broken tarmac and the additional hazard of 4WD’s coming down the pass who wanted to occupy the entire single track road.

Each of us had the odd heart stopping moment, but we made it to the top, admired the view and then realised that we now had to go down the pass!  At the bottom we met the farmer on his quad bike with his sheep dogs moving  all his sheep across the river. Then we realised that we now had to negotiate the Wryose Pass , but this only had a 25% incline warning so  it was a bit easier.  

Sample Image

The profile from the Garmin gives you some idea of why this is definitely not a road for novices, but to all you GS riders out there, you will love it.  Would we do it again, yes, but not on my Honda Deauville.

We can highly recommend the Lake District for biking and we found a really nice B&B in Kendal which was an ideal base for touring the area. Don’t forget your waterproofs; this area is very green for a reason. The next time you are looking for some interesting biking, don’t head across the channel, and go north instead.


Lilian Hobbs

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