Exploring Kirkstone Pass: A Scenic Drive with a Spooky Legend through the Lake District

Kirkstone Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 459m (1,505ft) above sea level, located in the Lake District, in the county of Cumbria, England. It is purportedly riddled with ghosts.

Kirkstone Pass

Where does Kirkstone Pass start and end?

The road to the summit is 18.50km (11.5 miles) long, running south-north from Windermere (in the South Lakeland District) to Patterdale (in the Ullswater valley of Eden District). It’s called A592. The road follows the route of a drover's road, used by farmers. Overall, Kirkstone Pass offers a scenic and memorable drive through the heart of the Lake District and is a popular route for tourists and motorists exploring the area.

How hard is Kirkstone Pass?

The steep, twisty road is totally paved but curvy, narrow, and very steep, hitting a harsh 17% of the maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Keep it in low gear. Due to its steepness, it was traditionally known as 'The Struggle'.

Is Kirkstone Pass open?

At this elevation, it is the Lake District’s highest pass that is open to motor traffic, though winter conditions can be hazardous and it’s frequently closed. It can get dangerous when covered with snow and ice. It goes up quite high, and you sometimes get mist at the top.

Is Kirkstone Pass haunted?

Located a few miles north of Ambleside, the picturesque road has lots of folklore and tales around it. It's said to be haunted. There are tales of a frightening grey woman and the ghost of a lost hiker who play poltergeist tricks there. Another ghost, of a woman hanged for murdering her child, haunts a nearby tree, appropriately called the Hangman's Tree.

Where is the highest pub in the Lake District?

Plan about 30 minutes to complete the remarkable drive without stops, although you may want to block out extra time to stop. Near the summit is the Kirkstone Inn, the 3rd highest inn in England and the highest pub in Cumbria, open for over 500 years. The scenery is fabulous, and the drive offers great views over the Lakeland fells and Brothers Water, a small lake at the foot of the pass.