Kirkstone from the south (Ambleside)
This was our only misfire of our 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain September, 2018 trip. We mistakenly ascended Kirkstone Pass from the south instead of Simon Warren’s #83 from the north out of Penrith. Ambleside is the most difficult approach to Kirkstone Pass, but it is not the segment referred to in Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills, p. 141.
RoadCyclingUK has a nice article on the 10 best cycling climbs in the Lake District (a mountainous area in northwest England with roughly 10 very sizeable lakes in close proximity):
“Kirkstone Pass had to be part of the list simply because it’s the Lake District’s highest pass open to traffic, and here we’re focussing on the A592 road starting from Lake Windermere. The segment is 8.5km long, with a rolling first couple of kilometres to get you warmed up before the long rolling drag up.
At around 2.5km the road pitches up once more, just registering over ten per cent, but the difference this time is that there’s no roll down the other side. Instead, the road flattens off before climbing again, this time with a 14 per cent peak slope.” Read more
Greetings at 200 meters from southside start in Ambleside.
“The Struggle - Forming another path up to the top of Kirkstone Pass, The Struggle was made infamous by a soon-to-retire Sir Bradley Wiggins, who took the opportunity to dismount from his bike and run up the top section of the hillside when the 2016 Tour of Britain visited, in a tribute to the events that befell ex-teammate Chris Froome on the slopes of Mont Ventoux.” More
Bradley Wiggins walks up the climb (nod to Froome) - Photo leeblack321
“Kirkstone pass is the highest major road (A592) in the Lake District. It reaches a height of 1,489 feet (454 m) and affords great views of the surrounding lakes. There are three different routes to the top of Kirkstone Pass, each offering there own challenges. The hardest is ‘The Struggle’ which takes the shortest route from Ambleside to Kirkstone Pass. It is the shortest in distance but the steepest and requires over 400 metres of climbing. The other two ways, on the main road (A592) are less steep, but make good long challenging climbs.” More
There are 3 primary routes up to Kirkstone Pass:
From Penrith (100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain #83)
Steepest kilometer begins at km 1.6 (12.8%)
From Ambleside (south)
Steepest kilometer begins at km 4.1 (15.1%)
From Troutbeck (south)
Steepest kilometer begins at km 2.9 (8.9%)
These climbs are within Lake District National Park, 236,200 hectare (583,663 acres) established in 1951:
“The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells) and its associations with the early 19th century writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets, Beatrix Potter, and John Ruskin. A National Park was established in 1951 and, following a minor extension in 2016, now covers an area of approximately 2,362 square kilometres. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
It is located entirely within the county of Cumbria, and all the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest bodies of water in England, respectively Wast Water and Windermere.” Wikipedia - Lake District National Park