Hardknott, a rite of passage

Before you read on I’ll be honest as not to dissapoint, this is not a post about beer…

It is related to beer in terms of a journey to and a dispenser of said beverage. It also has links to beer by association to the fact that it formed the basis of how Hardknott, one of my favourite breweries came to be.

To cut a long story short and to stop you clicking close out of the sheer tedium of my witterings, it simply documents in a mainly photographic form, the journey across quite easily the most thrilling road and through truly spectacular countryside I’ve ever come across in the UK.

So I hope you’ll forgive the transgression and stick with me today, there will be more about the pubs at final destination later on this week.

In my last post our journey first took us to the Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley, from there we had to drive around the top of Lake Windermere and take the route through the Wrynose and Hardknott passes. Taking this route as an option is not one for the fainthearted. To try and some it up, it’s a little like being on a fairground ride. That ride being a hybrid combination of the Wild Mouse and Pepsi Max at Blackpool pleasure beach crossed with Alton Towers Oblivion, only in a car. It’s just plain crazy, the road twists and turns dramatically. You turn one way and you are climbing through a 90 degree turn looking skyward, the wheels struggling for grip and shuddering away merrily beneath you. You reach the brow of many a hill and cannot see what is to come. Like that moment you reach the ascent of a roller coaster and have that moment when you know what is coming, you’re afraid, but left hanging for the briefest but at the same time long lasting second ever before the inevitable drop comes into focus.

Then there’s the descent, it’s no different, make no mistake you do not want to try this road in winter, imagine driving your car down a spiral staircase, on ice..

The crazy thing was there were cyclists racing up and down this thing, this fella wasn’t one of them, but hopefully by the look on his face you get the picture… But at the end of it you reach that final point when it all is made worthwhile, when the beautiful  Eskdale Valley comes into view for the first time…a nirvana moment. I suppose it’s down to the individual as to whether what you have just been through was a pleasurable experience or one of sheer nerve jangling terror, for me it was a mixture of the two. The adrenaline was certainly pumping first time around but it did not stop me from making the journey back, in almost gale conditions.

The Eskdale valley truly is a wonderful place, a hidden gem of peace and tranquility away from the usual tourist hustle of the Lake District. It is the spiritual home of Hardknott Brewery, The Boot Beer Festival as well as being a walkers paradise.

For those reasons though, there should only be one way into the valley, you have to cross the Hardknott Pass, think of it as your rite of passage to all the rewards the valley has in store for you…

Even now looking at the photographs, they don’t do the passes justice, sure they offer a glimpse but it’s not enough. I’ve posted a couple of videos below too, one by car, the other a Harley Davidson, watch one watch them both, but if possible get out there and do it! 🙂

Smart Roadster Version:

Harley version:

If you run or know of a site that this post would suit better than a beer blog I’d be happy to have it posted as a guest piece or via a link, just give me a shout.

Cheers for reading

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