Lake District Day 3: Ullswater via Kirkstone Pass

Today's ride started with a climb up Kirkstone pass, it's a winding mountain pass which climbs up out of Windermere northwards towards Ullswater.  It is the second largest lake in the Lake District after Windermere and is also long and narrow ribbon lake.  The pass itself climbs to an elevation of 454m above sea level, the approach from the south is reasonably mild, and features fantastic scenery over the surrounding valleys and lakes.

The ascent snakes up the hill slowly and surely, lined with a slate wall along the undulating moss rockiness.  There are two approaches up Kirkstone pass, I took the A592 which is the less steep but longer ascent, there is a shorter sharper ascent known as The Struggle which starts from Ambleside; this features parts with up to 25% gradient.

Finally made it to the top!  Not too difficult a climb approaching from the south, as you generally have the prevailing south westerly wind behind you, as well as the generally gentle gradient.  At the top is the Kirkstone inn which has the claim to the third highest pub in England.

Looking south over Windermere, The Struggle is to the right and the A592 which is the road I climbed up.

After a brisk descent into the valley I passed by Brothers water...

And then onto Ullswater which again had fantastic scenery.

I made it to the small town of Pooley Bridge where I turned back.  Now the hard bit...  The ascent from the north of Kirkstone pass was a lot steeper.  Funnily enough this is the highest road open to motor traffic in the Lake District.  You can see it winding slowly up the mountain, gradients get as steep as 20% in some parts.  Thankfully I had my lower gearing, I'm so glad I had done this as the 32t bottom sprocket really helped up some of these sharp climbs.  I wouldn't have the power or the knee strength to climb up these gradients with a 25t bottom sprocket.

Halfway up... this climb wasn't going to be so easy compared to the ascent from the south.  Now I was climbing up a 15-20% ascent into a stiff wind...

Back again at the top, with a quick ascent back home on the other side.  Thanks for reading.


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