Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hard Knott and the Eskdale Needle

Cloud creeping over the Scafells behind the Eskdale Needle

the route, including the walk up and down the road

1st gear & lean forward!
Hardknott Pass is the steepest road in England, approaching a 33% gradient in places.  Many walkers park at the top of the pass to claim either Hard Knott or Harter Fell.  

Perhaps we should have done the same today but there was a sign at the bottom saying that the road was closed.  I was wary of becoming a statistic and so obeyed the sign and parked at the bottom by Jubilee Bridge.

This meant a steep walk up to the top of the pass. My legs were really aching from other athletic endeavours this weekend.  I could really have done with a heavy dose of vitamin I before setting off but instead, I carried my sorry self up the road.  It was a good opportunity to check it out for a future cycling adventure.  Hardknott and Wrynose passes are on my list, having conquered Honister, Newlands and Whinlatter.

Slight Side comes into view
From the top of the pass, David lead the way up to the Birkett peak of Border End.  As we climbed, Slight Side and then the rest of the Scafell range came into sight.  Further up, we could see Great Moss across the River Esk.  It was interesting to note that Great Moss is higher up than the valley bottom.

At the top of Border End, we carried on a bit further to get views of Hard Knott Roman Fort.  A 2nd Century AD fort established under the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (him of the wall).

Just back from Border End, we picked out the profile of the Eskdale Needle, a column of rock hanging over the Eskdale Valley.  David had been up here looking for the needle before but had not been able to find it due to low cloud cover.
Hard Knott Roman Fort

David with the Eskdale Needle to the left

photo of me and the needle by David Harrison AKA Wainwright Fellwalker used with kind permission

We climbed around on the needle for a while before heading up to the summit of Hard Knott.  There was a lot of hard icy snow around today so the micro spikes were essential.  At the summit we stopped for more pictures and I think I made it pretty clear that I didn't have many more miles in my legs today.  We headed down to the road and then back down the road to the car.  I almost fell asleep on the drive home, not a good idea as I was driving.  When I did get home, I snook up to bed without telling my daughter, who would have wanted to play.  My wife is very cool.

Scafells from Hard Knott

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