Monday 9 January 2012

The Struggle

The top of Kirkstone Pass is 1,480 feet above sea level; the highest pass open to motor traffic in the Lake District National Park.

The main  road over the Pass (the A592) climbs up from Windermere town, breasts the summit and then drops down past Brothers Water, to Patterdale in the Ullswater valley.

From Ambleside, however, there is another way up to the top and it is not without good reason that it is named 'The Struggle'.

Seen here, The Struggle has made its first ascent out of Ambleside, twisting and turning, climbing at gradients of 1 in 4 to reach the more level ground below the Kirkstone Quarry. The water seen in the distance is Windermere, England's largest lake.

The main materials mined at Kirkstone Quarry are blue-black and green slate. The latter is relatively rare, formed through a combination of volcanic activity dating back some 450 million years and the metamorphosis which has occurred since that time. 

Mark tells me that the quarry is due to close in the near future. He is looking forward to the rush to find climbing routes on the exposed faces and to be the one to log a 'first ascent'.

After the quarry, the road again climbs steeply to join the main A592 at the head of the pass, just before the Kirkstone Inn. In total, the road has risen 1,300 feet in three and a half corkscrewing miles.

Nevertheless, it's not the hardest ascent in the Lakes!


  1. I'm staying home and warm thank you, too steep for me. Lovely photos though, I'm only used to water-level views....

  2. Wow....
    Beautiful !
    I can't tell which photo I like better but it does look cold.
    I have always wanted to visit Lake Windermere.

    cheers, parsnip

  3. And here I thought that our Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park was a tough one...that road looks mighty challenging! You captured that mist and the whole essence of nature with some wonderful contrasts. I wanna come see!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  4. It is one of my favourite routes - I love that first glimpse of Windermere

  5. Looks like a road full of adventure to me! A nice Sunday drive:)