|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||9.8 miles (15.8 km)|
|Meets:||A66, B5289, A5086|
|Route outline (key)|
The B5292 follows the most direct route between Keswick and Cockermouth. Steep gradients meant that it only got Class II status on classification whilst the A-road followed a flatter but longer route alongside Bassenthwaite Lake: a situation that lasts to this day.
The road starts by turning off the A66 west of Keswick and heading west through Braithwaite. The road has the air of an ordinary residential street rather than a classified road. There's a very narrow section through the older part of town and an ominous looking crag ahead asking the question of how the road continues west. We leave the village alongside the Coledale Beck then bend sharply right to climb steeply out of the valley, although not quite as steeply as could be expected. This is the start of the Whinlatter Pass.
The road continues to climb and gets steeper as it continues; there are also some tight bends. For much of this section the road is wooded but the view is occasionally visible. Presently the road levels out and crosses a stream before passing a turning to the visitor centre. The summit is just a bit further after which the road runs along a valley to descend. This is straighter and not as steep as the climb - and as there aren't as many trees the steep sides of the valley are obvious.
As we drop in altitude the valley opens out (but the road gets no wider) and we bear gradually to the right. Presently we head north, straight towards Graystones, before zigzagging to head westwards, still down the valley. We pass a few buildings, the edge of the village of High Lorton, then reach the bottom of the wide Lorton Vale, the valley of the River Cocker. Presently a T-junction is reached and we TOTSO right; left is the B5289 which returns to Keswick via a roundabout route and the Honister Pass.
Now S2 for the first time on our route we continue north along the valley bottom; there are no more steep gradients but that doesn't mean the road is straight or flat. Indeed, as the River Cocker bears left our route continues ahead and so we do actually climb out of the valley albeit not steeply.
A straight section of road takes us under the A66 Cockermouth bypass (there is no junction here and so the only way to get between the two roads is through the town centre) and into town along Lorton Road. After passing the cemetery we go over the old railway line, now a footpath. At the bottom of Kirkgate there is a sharp left-hand bend to take us onto Victoria Road to avoid the narrow streets of the town centre. We cross the River Cocker onto Lorton Street and reach traffic lights.
Although maps show the B5292 turns right that road is one-way towards us and so we are forced to turn left onto Station Road. A war memorial on the left marks the former station access road, although the station itself is long gone. Traffic lights are soon reached where we meet the A5086.
Station Road is two-way which poses the question why it is not the western end of the B5292. To find that we must head north along the A5086 to a mini-roundabout by the National Trust's Wordsworth House (birthplace of the writer). The B5292 starts here and heads east along the two-way Main Street before turning right into the narrow, one-way Station Street. It's not long before traffic lights are reached and the B5292 bears left into Lorton Street and continues back south as above.