In Cumbria there is a road that captures the imagination of all who drive over it. Kirkstone Pass! It is the highest pass in the Lake District, UK with what you could call a major road over it. It is quite simply a stunning drive whatever the weather.
The gradient reaches 1:4 so be prepared for low gears, but also be prepared for amazing views. The altitude at the top of the pass is 1,489 feet (454m). As the driver you of course need to concentrate on these kind of roads, but it was a great opportunity to enjoy it in the new Vauxhall Mokka X. They kindly gave me the car for a couple of days to have an adventure, and sure enough I was determined to have one!
I have spoken about my Mokka X around Cumbria adventure in a previous post plus video, but this road itself needed a post unto itself. The car was perfect for this drive, compared to my previous drives up here it had no problem whatsoever, it was built with this kind of driving in mind for sure.
The pass starts in Ambleside and heads up and up and up around winding roads, fells visible in all directions, peak tops getting closer to your level all the time. Then at the top you get signs of civilisation. Namely the Kirkstone Pass Inn. Yes you can stop for refreshments up here. The pub used to be a very important old inn for a staging pass but now used for those taking in the massive views and drive.
The name Kirkstone Pass comes from a stone you can see not far from the Inn by the roadside. It is shaped like a church steeple. Old Norse for church is Kirk so together with stone it all makes sense.
Over the brow at the top and even more wow factor comes into being. Very much so! You get a view all the way down the valley to Brothers Water down below. The winding road laid out before you down the valley, peaks high either side. A view that needs savouring. There are stopping points on the way down so you can sit and take it all in.
Alas it was time to head down, but I shall always keep coming back to Kirkstone Pass. One of my favourite drives. After Brothers Water the pass ends up at another beautiful place, by the shores of Ullswater in Patterdale. More adventures ahead for sure.
The drive was fantastic, the views were fantastic, the car was fantastic. Thank you Vauxhall for helping me make this drive over another memorable one.
How to end this great day of driving? Coffee time at Appleby Castle of course.