12% at the bottom
Where to find it?
Coming down the Duddon Valley go through Ulpha and head south towards the A595, after dropping down the steep climb through Bank End turn right at the lights joining the main road briefly as it crosses the river Duddon. Then take the minor road to the right which goes into the wood with the river on your right. The road is flat to start with but after a few hundred metres the climb starts.
A big bruiser of a climb and not a well known to people living outside the Lake District I suspect, but what a climb! Different in character to most other Lakeland climbs after starting in woodland this takes you over a remote, lonely and wild exposed terrain, probably closer in character to the Yorkshire Dales than anywhere else. Totally exposed, I have only done this twice and fortunately for me the days were relatively still. The surface is reasonably good too, if a little patchy in places.
The climb starts in sheltered woodland and more of less straight away you tackle the steepest section of around 12%, try not to attack this too much because you still have a long way to go. The gradient eases as you leave the wood and the road swings left onto the exposed hillside and for more or less the rest of this climb you just have to keep grinding away. On you go as its 6-10% slopes make you struggle to find a rhythm with all its minor undulations. About half way you get to a junction, you go right and then over series of little crests followed by two slight downhills before the summit is finally achieved. The average gradient is probably comparable to some of the bigger Alpine climbs but like most UK climbs it is much more variable and seems somehow harder.
The road then continues northwards, dropping down in stages over several miles before following a straight line and then seemingly dropping off a cliff before you meet the main A595. 40 mph+ easily reached here so make sure your brakes are in good shape!
7, long and makes you work harder than you feel the gradient should, a bit like a more severe version of Tan Hill or the climb up to Blakey Ridge from Castleton. Good weather recommended.