Wrynose Pass

Wrynose Pass is one of the most spectacular climbs in England. In terms of difficulty, it is slightly overshadowed by its more boisterous neighbour – Hardknott Pass. But, from the East, it’s difficulty should never be under-estimated. I speak from personal experience, once dragging the bike up into a headwind and over-geared (39*25) – the 20% plus gradient never seemed to ease all the way to the top. (Such an incident inspired a recent post – about walking up hills.)

If you get chance to look back from where you came, it’s one of the most memorable views you will get from a road in England. Whilst climbing you probably won’t get chance to appreciate, so it’s worth coming down Wrynose Pass too. It’s a great natural amphitheatre.


Photo: Gouldy



Photo: Gouldy

I’ve been up Wrynose pass on a couple of occasions, whilst visiting the Lake District. Often it involves going up Hardknott Pass as well.


Wrynose-Pass from Hardknott fenners

Wrynose Pass East to West

  • Location: West Lake District
  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Avg grade 11.0%
  • Max Grade: 25.0%
  • Elev Gain: 915ft / 279m
  • Cat: 3
  • 100 hills #85
  • Strava segment
  • Everesting? 32*3.2 miles = 102 miles

Interesting trivia about Wrynose Pass

  • Locals often pronounce it “Wreynuss”, much like its older form “Wrenosse Hill”
  • At the top of the Wrynose Pass is the Three Shire Stone, marking the meeting point of the historic counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.


Coming from Ambleside, the road comes to a choice. Straight on is Wrynose, to the right takes you over Langdale Chase.




Last chance to take a trip to Wrynose.


Extreme Caution! Severe bends! Always something to set the hill climbers heart thumping.



Lots of water coming off the hills.


A photo I took of famous view.


Wrynose in the distance.






Wrynose pass can be climbed from both directions. But from West to East it is not quite as tough. There isn’t as much climbing because the base of the climb is higher up. It is only towards the end of the climb, that it gets really steep, upwards of 20%. However, if you are climbing Wrynose this direction, you may have just come over Hardknott Pass so your legs will be pretty tired.

Wrynose Pass West to East

  • Location: West Lake District
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Avg grade 6.0%
  • Max Grade: 25.0%
  • Elev Gain: 580ft / 176m
  • Cat: 3
  • Strava segment

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13 Responses to Wrynose Pass

  1. Simon Bromfield February 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    I cycled the Great Dun Fell last September, a super tough relentless slog of a climb how does this compare to The Wrynose and Hardknott Tejvan? I hope to get the chance to cycle them both next month (weather permitting) and also The Hartside & Chapel Fell.
    Great images by the way.


    • tejvan February 18, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      Great Dun Fell is harder than Wrynose because it is 3 * as long. But, Hardknott is really steep 30% steep, so it’s a whole new category of difficulty.

      • Simon Bromfield February 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

        Thanks I’ll let you know how I get on.
        P.S. good to see you competing in Surrey last Sunday for the Redhill TT event. Hope you get a chance to have a crack at Barhatch Lane soon, it’s quite similar to Whitedown but slightly longer and steeper.


      • Archie irving August 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

        Tejvan, I know you have been national hill climb champion so congratulations for that but i am 12 years old and i love climbing, I have cycled the ventoux and alpe d huez and Dun fell ect and some other riders call me the climber off the future but i just want to know what you were doing at my age because all i see on strava on the big climbs is Tejvan Petinger got the KOM so i am just asking how you got be such a great climber. Cheers Tejvan!

  2. Alan February 18, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    When I rode Great Dun Fell it was very tough but I managed it ok. Wrynose is the only hill I’ve ever had to stop for a rest on, although in my defence I was hungover!

  3. Simon Bromfield June 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi Tejvan, just thought to say I finally cycled Hardknott from Eskdale onTuesday, what a magnificent climb. If you’re up in The Lakes again.Try a route from Coniston to Broughton in Furness, take the right to Hummer Lane 1.9 km average 8% (the view from the moor at the top acoss to Morcambe Bay is wonderful) Kiln Bank Cross,Birker Fell and The Duddon Valley are all en route to Eskdale. Happy cycling.

  4. Alex August 4, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    Look forward to giving wrynose and hardnott a crack.You riding great Dunn fell hill climb this year Tejvan?

    • tejvan August 4, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      In NY unfortunately

      • Alex foster August 5, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

        fortunate for me!

  5. Archie irving August 19, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    Tejvan, first of all congratulations for all your KOMs on strava and your national hill climb win in 2013. I am 12 years old and i love climbing i have done the ventoux alpe dhuez and dun Fell ect and i just want to know what you were doing at my age to be such a great climber and also what distances you were doing cheers Tejvan.

    • tejvan August 19, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      Hi Archie, I don’t think I was riding a bike aged 12. Certainly not up big hills. https://cyclinguphill.com/my-early-bikes/ I perhaps started aged 14 – but very slowly with some old chaps in Otley CC. https://cyclinguphill.com/the-traditional-british-club-run/ – Archie – good luck with your cycling and climbing. Just remember, you have many years to come!

      • Archie irving August 19, 2015 at 8:35 am #

        cheers Tejvan what is your advise with distance and what should i be doing in a week. I am doing Dunn fell Hill climb and 2x Hartside and just a short one which is 1.6 miles what is your top tips to be a better climber and how to approach the hill climbs thanks Tejvan

  6. Garga June 8, 2017 at 7:54 am #

    Hi Tejvan, I just rode Wrynose and Hardnott, glad you agree it’s a hard climb as it took everything I had in my legs 🙂 Yellow warning rain made it “interesting”. Birker Fell came next and it was another testing road, but stunning valley scenery at the end of it.

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