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Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

Grimsby, England
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Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

We are staying at the Innonthelake Ullswater next month and would like to drive to Wastwater as it looks absolutely beautiful. Can anyone tell me if the drive is fairly easy and what would be the prettiest route to take. Very confident driver but just wondered whether there is anything we should be aware of.

Thank you for your help.

Bingley, United...
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1. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

< Can anyone tell me if the drive is fairly easy >

The only sensible route takes you over Kirkstone Pass, through the Langdales and over Hardknott Pass approaching Wastwater from the west

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardknott_Pass

Edited: 21 May 2013, 13:26
London
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2. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

Wrynose and Hard Knott passes are very narrow and steep, 1 in 3 in places. Exhilarating if you enjoy that sort of thing, a heart stopping nightmare if you don't enjoy practising your extreme hill start technique. The scenery is stunning, but be honest about how comfortable you are on very steep / narrow roads before choosing this route.

The alternative is to backtrack from Ullswater to the A66. Follow that to Cockermouth then turn left to Egremont. Pick up the A595 to Gosforth, and then turn in to Wastwater from there. This is further, but will take no longer than the Hard Knott route - your average speed over the passes will be very very low.

You'll see a real contrast in the landscape, Wasdale feels incredibly 'remote' compared with Ullswater.

London
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3. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

Does the drive over the Hardknott and Wrynose passes take you over beautiful scenery? Yes

Is it perfectly feasible for a reasonably confident driver in a well-maintained car? Yes

Is it fairly easy? Definitely not.

If you want an exhilarating drive, then go over the passes. If you want a fairly easy drive, then follow rcspiers's suggestion to go via the A66 and Cockermouth.

Or, if you want a bit of variety, you could also skirt round the south of the Lake District, if you take the long way round via Ambleside, Conison, and Broughton-in-Furness. That's a bit further than the Cockermouth route, but if you want to go there one route and back another route so that you see different bits of scenery, and don't fancy driving over the passes, then it might be worth a thought.

Widnes, United...
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4. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

Wrynose Pass is fairly straightforward most of the time, it's no harder than Honister or Kirkstone really (imo), Hardknott is much steeper with hairpin bends but as long as you avoid it on Bank Holiday weekends you'll be fine. I was a nervous wreck the first time I went over it (on a Bank Holiday Sunday - never again!) but I've driven over it many times since and lived to tell the tale.

UK
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5. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

It's within the capability of any confident driver with a well maintained car , preferably a hire car!

Have a peep first.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fmTglvGki0

Grimsby, England
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6. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

Thank you for your replies very helpful but will probably look a the A66 and Cockermouth route unless I'm feeling particulary brave!!

London
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7. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

The difficulty with Wrynose is not that it's steep, but that the access road in from Langdale is very narrow in places - with drystone walls each side. This makes trying to squeeze past another vehicle nerve wracking for a few miles.

That said - the views really are great - and if it's not a weekend - then I'd say go for it.

If you do go over the passes, stop of the western side of HardKnott. It's a very short walk to the Roman Fort there, but you could so easily drive past and never know the fort is there.

Iquique, Chile
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8. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

IMO, if you are not familiar with driving in Britain, especially on narrow, winding, steep roads, avoid the Hardknott Pass route. Especially avoid it if the road is wet (and this is the Lake District!). This road is not the place to meet for the first time a hairpin bend on a 1 in 3 slope with a long drop below and a car coming the other way!

Lancaster
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9. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

It's no problem at all driving over the passes. Mountain Goat tours go over them in a minibus, and I've driven vans over them loads of times when I was working on the tools in the Lakes. It's even more fun on a motorbike though!

Go for it and enjoy the scenery!

London, United...
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10. Re: Driving to Wastwater from Ullswater

The prettiest way is over the passes. A confident driver will be ok. There is a hairpin just below the Hardknott Fort. You need to be prepared to pull over as both passes are two-way. And if you've never felt what a 1:3 road gradient feels like, park up safely after the first couple of turns on the Hardknott Pass (you'll see the road sloping up to the right in the distance). Then get out of the car and try and walk 3 yards.

Yes it can be a little tricky for a first timer and there is a sheer drop on the left hand side as you go via the Wrynose Pass but a confident driver should be fine. I have also seen Mountain Goat minibuses up there.