27th March 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk No 28

Hard Knott Tarn and Hard Knott Pass Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 1:15 to 4pm
Duration 2 hr 15 min
Distance 6.5 mile
Ascent 1600 ft
Walking with On my own
Jubilee Bridge - Brotherilkeld - Lingcove Bridge - Lingcove Beck - Hardknott Tarn - Hard Knott - Hardknott Pass Tarn - Hardknott Pass - Jubilee Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Jubilee Bridge, Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass has got to be one of the steepest and most difficult roads in the country. In fact, many people make the effort to drive all the way around to this part of the Lake District just to face the challenge. I should point out that this road can be extremely dangerous during the winter months and is best avoided altogether if the weather is at all frosty. I was caught out myself on one occasion when using the route as a shortcut over to Cockley Beck. Just above the steepest of the bends the road turned into an ice rink and I had no alternative than to reverse back down until I reached a convenient turning place; not an experience I'm keen to repeat.

The car park has room for about ten cars, but should you find it full, there is usually room a little further along the road into Eskdale.

Route Map


I had a drive through to Eskdale this afternoon for a walk over Hard Knott. I'd wanted to do this walk for about the last 4 Fridays but for various reasons I didn't or couldn't but here I am now. On the plus side, the dry(ish) weather has allowed the higher sections on Hard Knott to dry out a little bit.

I cross the bridge over Hardknott Gill and then follow the track to Brotherilkeld Farm.

Brotherilkeld farm in front of Bow Fell. You'll have to take my word for it but it's much further to Bow Fell from here than this picture makes it look.

And then he slammed the brakes on, reversed a little bit and tried again.
Literally inches to spare on each side.

Ah, this picture makes Bow Fell look at a more realistic distance.

When I was a kid these tree roots would have made the perfect place to 'build' a camp. You know the type of thing. Somewhere we could go to plan our adventures, somewhere we could stash our secret treasures and more importantly somewhere that the grown-ups 'apparently' new nothing about.
I wonder if kids still do this type of thing; probably not as much as we did. They'd rather stay in the house and engage in electronic friendships these days.

It's a lovely walk through here to get to Lingcove Bridge. 2 miles of easy walking with a view of Bow Fell almost the whole way.



40 minutes after setting off I reach Lingcove Bridge.


Time to gain a little bit of height as I leave Lingcove Bridge and follow Lingcove Beck around the end of Hard Knott. As I walk further round, Crinkle Crags come into view.

Looking across to Esk Pike and Bow Fell.

Englands highest ground seen from the grassy northern end of Hard Knott.


The sun comes out and a few patches of blue appear. Over there is Grey Friar, still hanging onto the snow that fell the other night.

O dear, , , , well I've certainly seen this tarn with more water and less mud than today. Hey ho, there's nowt I can do about that, except, , , ,

, , , , walk across to the smaller of the tarns and get a picture of that as well.



Okay, it's not the prettiest of tarns but it has a background to rival many others.

Hard Knott summit.

And again, this time in front of Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End and Esk Pike. Quite a line up eh!

On route to the top of Hard Knott Pass I look down to Duddon Valley and Grey Friar.

After crossing the Hard Knott Pass road I make my way up to the two tarns found near the top of the pass. Here's the smaller of them.

And another picture of the small one.

Here, you see the bigger of the two tarns.

I'm sure you've all got a huge collection of pictures showing the Hard Knott zigzags and here's another to add to them.

Looking back up to the top section of Hard Knott Pass.

Just before I reach the car I take this picture looking across to the tops of the higher fells. It seems like the day is turning much brighter than it was when I set off.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks