1.15 miles Duddon Valley side
1.8 miles Broughton Mills side
15%, maybe a touch more on the Duddon Valley side
Where to find it?
This is a minor road that links the wonderful Duddon Valley to Broughton Mills, tucked away and not easy to find, a hill for the connoisseur! The best approach is from Wrynose bottom heading westwards, take the left turn before the bridge at the foot of the Hardknott Pass and head down the wonderful Duddon Valley road through the village of Seathwaite. After a short distance you will come to a junction, take the left option here rather than the right to Ulpha.
Is this the Lakes seventh pass? Challenging from both sides and topping out near Stickle Pike it certainly has that feel for me. Both sides have something to offer but the approach from the Duddon Valley is a great climb and offers the most significant challenge. A must do.
Duddon Valley side
The climb has a fairly easy start on a narrow lane that then heads through a wood, it’s probably about 6% here, the surface isn’t great, but enjoy the relative calm! After about half a mile you come across a cattlegrid and the road turns sharp left (photo 2), then right onto a sustained gradient probably somewhere around 12% (photo 3) for another half mile. It’s really tough going now with no real let up, at the end of this section you have to navigate a really rough cattlgrid, the road goes left, flattens a little then you have a strenuous pull up to the summit, this might actually be the steepest section of the climb. You will be relieved to reach the top.
Broughton Mills side
Different in character to the Duddon side, the bottom section is wooded with narrow lanes, it’s not as steep, more undulating, but it is long and gradually draws the life out of you. It gets harder as you near the top once on the exposed fellside. You may have to stop at a farm where the road is gated (bear this in mind if you are descending having climbed the other side!), sometimes the gate is open but more often than not it’s shut. After this there is a short steep section as you near the top, probably 15%. The descent into the Duddon Valley needs care, steep, narrow gravelly roads and loads of sheep!
7 Duddon Valley side, 6 Broughton Mills side. Both are testing, both are long and both have steep sections. Also bear in mind that the roads out of Broughton Mills and the Duddon Valley are also testing whatever route you choose, there is no easy escape!