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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (14)
From:  Low Lorton (NY151268)
To:  Portinscale (NY248240)
Via:  Seatoller
Distance:  20.9 miles (33.6 km)
Meets:  B5292, A5271, A66
Former Number(s):  B5293, A66
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B5289 Low Lorton - Keswick
(A5271) Keswick
B5289 Keswick - Portinscale

The B5289 is a long-way-round route over the Honister Pass in the North Lakes, taking over 20 miles to make a journey whose direct route (along the Whinlatter Pass) takes about a third. However, anybody travelling along the B5289 is either in it for the journey, or else heading to a place on its route (which could well amount to the same thing). The B5289 is not about reaching a destination quickly!


Low Lorton - Buttermere

Crummock Water

The road starts on the B5292 to the north of Low Lorton, where that road has to TOTSO, and heads south along Lorton Vale (the valley of the River Cocker), so to begin with the road is flat, albeit ringed with mountains. Low Lorton itself is soon reached and the road runs along the village's narrow streets before reaching open country once again - but the roads do not widen.

A couple of miles further on, on the edge of Brackenthwaite, the B5289 has to TOTSO left. The road ahead, to Loweswater, is signposted as the C2030. At this point the B5289 runs along a side valley before crossing a saddle to return to the Cocker valley and descend to the shores of Crummock Water. In fact, the valley is not narrow enough to contain the lake and the road, so the B5289 contours above. After a couple of small car parks and a short section of flat land the way ahead is blocked by Hause Point, an escarpment jutting into the lake, so the road has to go round, right on the edge of the lake.

After leaving Crummock Water behind the road continues along the edge of the valley to the honeypot village of Buttermere. The road passes the youth hostel before reaching the next lake, which shares its name with the village. The B5289 skirts the edge of Buttermere Fell but does not run along the shore of Buttermere itself until right at the far end. It then crosses the Gatesgarthdale Beck (which feeds Buttermere and is therefore a tributary of the Cocker) at Gatesgarth before following the narrow valley upstream. The scenery here is worth every bit of the journey needed to see it.

Buttermere - Portinscale

Honister Pass

Gatesgarthdale is essentially the western end of the Honister Pass. As the road continues it climbs and the valley becomes narrower and narrower. The stream is crossed twice more before becoming indistinct and the road continues to climb ever more steeply before opening out to pass the Honister Slate Mine and reach the summit, of over 1100 feet. A youth hostel is passed and the road begins to descend.

To begin with, the descent into Borrowdale is not as steep as the climb from Buttermere. The valley is wider and there is more room to manoeuvre. However, as the road descends it does become steeper as it descends into woodland. After a sharp bend to the right the road passes the turning circle for ascending vehicles who have changed their mind and then enters the village of Seatoller, more-or-less in the bottom of the valley. The road widens again and follows the valley downstream, quickly crossing the River Derwent before turning northerly.

After going through Rosthwaite the valley narrows for a mile or so before opening out again just to the south of Derwent Water. The road moves to head to the east of the lake and passes the Lodore Hotel before going over the Watandlath Beck to run along the shore of the lake. By the time Derwent Water is left behind the road has almost reached the edge of Keswick.

On the southern edge of town the road is forced to turn left at a mini-roundabout. It enters town along Heads Road before reaching a mini-roundabout on the A5271 Main Street. There is a short multiplex north across the River Greta before the A5271 TOTSOs right and the B5289 continues ahead. It goes through Great Crosthwaite before going over the River Derwent and ending just afterwards at a T-junction on the A66 Keswick bypass.


Originally the B5289 only ran along the shore of Derwent Water

Originally the B5289 started on the A594 (now A5271) in the centre of Keswick and headed south along Lake Road, reaching its current route at the mini-roundabout on the southern edge of town. The road was rerouted onto Heads Road for obvious reasons.

The original southern end of the B5289 was by the Lodore Hotel on the southern edge of Derwent Water whilst the remainder of the road was unclassified. However, by the mid-1920s the western section of the B5289, between Low Lorton and Buttermere Village, had been classified as the B5293 and then the B5289 was extended over the Honister Pass and along the entire of the B5293 in 1935, thus reaching the B5292.

The final addition to the B5289 took place much later, with the building of the A66 Keswick bypass. The B5289 was extended along part of the old road through town to meet the bypass, thus giving the B5289 its current length.

Related Pictures
View gallery (14)
B5289, Gatesgarth - Geograph - 1274666.jpgHonister Pass - Coppermine - 5711.jpgDerwent Bridge (C) M J Richardson - Geograph - 2368903.jpgB5289 Seatoller to Rosthwaite.jpgPre-worboys Borrowdale.jpg
Other nearby roads
B5200 • B5201 • B5202 • B5203 • B5204 • B5205 • B5206 • B5207(W) • B5207(E) • B5208 • B5209 • B5210(W) • B5210(E) • B5211 • B5212 • B5213 • B5214 • B5215 • B5216 • B5217 • B5218 • B5219
B5220 • B5221 • B5222 • B5223 • B5224 • B5225 • B5226 • B5227 • B5228 • B5229 • B5230 • B5231 • B5232 • B5233 • B5234 • B5235 • B5236 • B5237 • B5238 • B5239
B5240 • B5241 • B5242 • B5243 • B5244 • B5245 • B5246 • B5247 • B5248 • B5249 • B5250 • B5251 • B5252 • B5253 • B5254 • B5255 • B5256 • B5257 • B5258 • B5259
B5260 • B5261 • B5262 • B5263 • B5264 • B5265 • B5266 • B5267 • B5268 • B5269 • B5270 • B5271 • B5272 • B5273 • B5274 • B5275 • B5276 • B5277 • B5278 • B5279
B5280 • B5281 • B5282 • B5283 • B5284 • B5285 • B5286 • B5287 • B5288 • B5289 • B5290 • B5291 • B5292 • B5293 • B5294 • B5295 • B5296 • B5297 • B5298 • B5299
Earlier iterationsB5208 • B5211 • B5215 • B5216 • B5222 • B5233 • B5234 • B5255 • B5258 • B5264(S) • B5264(N)
B5271 • B5276 • B5279 • B5280 • B5282 • B5288 • B5290(N) • B5290(S) • B5293(W) • B5293(E) • B5299

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