Location: Cumbria, England
Length: 8,8 km (5,5 miles)
Duration: 20 min
Built: first mentioned around AD 110. It was rebuilt after Second World War
Width: 1 lane only
Surface quality (out of 10): 7
Highest point: 393 m (1,289 ft)
Operating times: open all year
Route: from Beckfoot to Cockley Beck
The Hardknott Pass Description
Hardknott Pass is a hill pass and a small road between Eskdale and Duddon Valley. Located in Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England, it’s also known as one of the most outrageous roads in England, attracting many tourists and passionate drivers. The truth is that driving is quite the experience considering its width.
This tarmacked route is the most direct way from the central Lake District to West Cumbria. Also, it has the title of steepest road in England, along with Rosedale Chimney Bank in North Yorkshire. That is why it also is one of the most challenging roads in the country. It’s a single track road passing through the middle of the Lake District National Park. Besides the reduced with, it features a series of sharp, narrow hairpin bends and it’s said to be the steepest road, with a gradient of around 33%.
The surface of the road is asphalted and you can start from two departure points to reach the pass. You can either choose to start from Beckfoot, with a 2 km long ascent and an elevation gain of 299 m, or you can start from Cockley Beck. Starting from here, the ascent is the same, but the elevation gain is smaller, of 175 m. The highest point is 393 m above the sea level.
A dangerous drive
It can become a very dangerous road on a few sections. It’s known for having unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards. Under these conditions, the Hardknott Pass can become even more challenging to drive.
The route is usually open all year. There might be some periods in winter when the road is closed because the ice makes it dangerous to drive. Also, heavy snowfalls can block some sections.
The road was completely destroyed by tanks during the World War II and repaired and tarmaced after.
The Hardknott Pass road features some very narrow sections where two cars can barely fit. If two cars meet here, one of them has to reverse for even a kilometer to get to a place that’s wide enough. Because it’s a steep road, you should check your breaks before driving in this location. When it’s dark and wet, it can be a nightmare to drive. That is why it’s recommended to drive this road during the day. It’s easy to understand why this is one of the most outrageous roads in England. Even so, it’s a challenge worth taking because driving it will offer you the enjoyment you’re seeking, as a driver.
Once you get to the top of the Hardknott Pass, you should stop and admire the views. The landscape is beautiful here. The scenery is typical to Britain, and it shows nature in all its beauty.
Photos: http://www.wainwrightroutes.co.uk, http://www.dangerousroads.org, https://www.flickr.com, http://letstourengland.com, http://www.xrv.org.uk, https://www.total911.com, http://www.roundtheworldwego.com, https://www.theguardian.comr