Wrynose Pass

Wrynose Pass view to Hardknott beyond by Tony RichardsWrynose Pass lies on a narrow, minor road that twists and turns from Little Langdale onward to Cockley Beck. Here, after plunging to Wrynose Bottom, the road forks. One arm leads south through Dunnerdale; the other fork connects with Hardknott Pass, where the road heads westward through Eskdale.

Wrynose Pass courtesy of Tony RichardsWrynose is part of the old Roman road named the 10th iter. It served the troops stationed at Hardknott Fort, and bits of the old road remain running alongside the present one. The unusual name, Wrynose, comes from ‘pass of the stallion’ and referred to the fact that the steep gradients (up to 1 in 3) needed a well-muscled horse to attain the top.

Wrynose Pass road Swirl How and lower slopes of Wet Side Edge courtesy of Tony RichardsFrom Little Langdale the road sandwiches its way through the isolated and unsettled reaches of the Lakeland and Furness fells and climbs to its 1281-foot high summit. At the top is the Three Shires Stone. This denotes the boundary where three original counties once came together (pre 1974): Lancashire, Westmorland, and Cumberland.

Wrynose Pass from above Colwith courtesy of Tony RichardsViews are far-reaching and dramatic. Southward is Coniston Old Man, while to the north are the Langdale Pikes. Both the River Brathay and the River Duddon have their origin at Wrynose.

The Wrynose Pass road is off the A593 near Skelwith Bridge.

Wrynose Pass courtesy of Barbara BallardThe National Trust and a number of private companies run tours over Wrynose and Hardknott for those who prefer not to drive the difficult road.

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of Tony Richards

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