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Wild Camping in the Lake District – Hardknot

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a backpack, which is kind of the same thing.

Hardknott Pass is a route between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley in the Lake District National Park, North West England. The road is the steepest road in England. It has a maximum gradient 33% therefore we have parked our car at the bottom of the hill. There is one paid parking and couple of places where you can leave your car for free.

We have walked the road up to the pass shortly visiting the old roman fort ruins and then even more up following unmarked trail. The top of the hill can be reached within half an hour even with young 6 years old, who never stops exploring every rock on the way and never stops complaining about being tired.

The top of Hardknot is an uneven plateau with plenty of boggy areas, but also nice grassy and dry spots perfect for pitching a tent. We have chosen a place where we could see sun coming down on the west, admire the ridge of the highest Lake District mountains on the North and still having the chance of being hit by the morning sun from the east. For the rest of the evening we enjoyed company of grazing sheep, warm breeze and dimming light. The sun was going down and backlit the Isle of Man in the middle of Irish sea, which is clearly visible from many hills and mountains of Lake District.

The next morning we continued north. There is no marked trail, but the entire area is mixture of grass and rocks and so you can choose your own path. Eventually we reached Lingcove Beck which is tributary of Esk river. After crossing Lingcove Beck and climbing over a small hill, we joined Esk River on its way down the Eskdale valley. Our last stop before returning to the car park were the Esk falls, which I consider the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lake District.

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