Two Mountain Passes – Single Track

Two Mountain Passes, Wrynose and Hardknott, Cumbria – Lake Country, UK

There is a single-track motor road over the Wrynose Pass with gradients up to 1 in 4.  The pass reaches an altitude of 393m or 1,281 feet.  The road continues over Hardknott Pass, whose 1 in 3 gradient is the steepest road in England, and goes on to Eskdale and then the coast.

1 in 3

What a drive, very narrow for one car only, no guard rails and many steep corners and switchbacks. An exhilarating drive for a old rally driver like me.  The little car did very well, it’s tiny turbo diesel never faltered, with power to spare.  We did the trip both ways, and took lots of pics.

Not a road for the faint hearted or inexperienced, if you slid off the road you would likely roll over many times, but I never felt nervous, and Maggie relaxed and knitted…. that says a lot… but I noticed the shawl had several !!##@$$ noted in the pattern.


This is a special group of images, intended to give a good view of the road and scenery. Another post titles, The Hidden Lake – Wast Water, will appear as a second post of this day

The unusual name of the pass is taken from that of the adjacent Wrynose hill, also called Wrynose Fell. The name was recorded in 12th century documents as “Wrenhalse” and in the 16th century as “Wrenosse Hill”. It is thought, based on a suggestion by Eilert Ekwall, to mean “stallion’s ridge”, being formed on the Old Norse words (v)reini (“stallion”, probably here used as a byname for an individual), and hala. It is one of a number of place names of Scandinavian origin in the area. Although most academic sources characterise “Vreini” in this context as a personal name, it has also been explained as suggesting “the horse power needed to climb it”. Other suggested origins are from Old Norse ravn hals, “pass of the raven”, and wreye nes, the “twisted headland”. Over the years, the name has been altered to the form “Wrynose” through folk etymology, though it is still locally pronounced “Wreynuss”, much like its older form.

Here are the pics in a gallery with titles, enjoy our drive.  Click the little i on the bottom left, to see the captions or the thought bubble to comment.

This entry was posted in UK 2015.

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