Hard Knott

Way back in November we had a long weekend in the Western Lakes. The original plan was to bag as many Wainwrights as possible: I was hoping for at least six across the whole weekend, but the weather had other ideas. It was a very wet, very windy weekend, and across four days we managed three Wainwrights. One day was a total write off, and on one day we had a window of around two hours to get up and down a hill before the weather closed in. We settled on Hard Knott as the linear route was short enough that we’d be back in plenty of time to avoid the worst of the weather, as well as minimising the amount of time we’d be exposed! Although the rain hadn’t started the wind was picking up and we bundled up in layers before venturing out onto the hill.

Hard Knott is a Wainwright I’d never really thought about before we started doing the Wainwrights: I’d heard of the famous Hard Knott pass, but I’d never realised there was a fell of the same name. We had to drive up the notoriously steep and windy pass to get to the start of the walk – it felt a bit like the start of a rollercoaster when you’re climbing up to the drop!

The route started from the high point of the pass, cutting out a lot of hard work climbing. We found the walk in our Walking the Wainwrights guide, but a similar route is available on WalkLakes. Parking is free in a small grassy area with space for a few cars. It was empty when we arrived but then again I’m not sure that it was a tempting day for a walk with the wind blowing a hoolie!

The walk isn’t particularly steep or strenuous (although at times walking into the wind was like trying to push against a wall). The potential difficulty to watch out for is navigation – the path is grassy and for a lot of the time non-existent. We relied a lot on our OS Maps app to keep on course, and we had clear weather (even if it was windy): I think in poor visibility this would be one to avoid.

We were up and down in less than an hour and a half. We kept the pace pretty sharpish as the wind was freezing! The best part of this walk was the great views over the Hard Knott Pass as well as looking towards the Scafell range. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the weather, we didn’t see another soul – just a few hardy Herdys!

Dog friendly rating: 3/5. This isn’t the best dog walk in the Lakes, but it’s not the worst either. We kept ours on leads as there were sheep hiding around the odd corner, but there was no road walking and no stiles to clamber over. There were plenty of puddles on the ground for the dogs to have a drink, although these may disappear in summer!

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