Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd are often overlooked by walkers in favour of their higher and more glamorous neighbours. Yet, Sheffield Pike has quite a character. Its south east ridge is an easy, delightful, clamber through heather and rocky steps to the edge of its summer plateau. However once there the top is a mass of small rocky outcrops rising from a sea of swampy pools and tarns. Heron Pike on the edge is a Birkett and is a little to the right of the path.
Rising over the village of Glenridding, Glenridding Dodd presents a broken craggy face. Despite its almost vertical appearance The Rake provides walkers with a straightforward, short, if steep path to the hause handily placed between Heron Pike and Glenridding Dodd. This is our route of ascent.
It is important to note that there is no safe escape from Sheffield Pike until reaching the summit to descend via the col of Nick Head as per the instructions below. Once on the south east ridge either retrace your steps or continue the climb. Do not bear left or right off the ridge in the hope of finding a way through the crags and scree below; there simply isn't any.
Dropping down to Glenridding Beck near the end of the walk you pass through the remains of Greenside Mine which produced over a million tons of galena for smelting into lead. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame are the experiments of Operation Orpheus held in the mine during the height of the Cold War. Two large conventional explosions were carried out to ascertain whether it was possible to obscure an underground nuclear explosion from being detected by the other signatories to the Test Ban Treaty.
There is parking in the centre of Glenridding in the Lake District National Park Authority pay and display car park. And at the Ullswater Steamers car park, where cheap rates in the winter months may be preferable.
If you need accommodation we have details of 12 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the upper level of the Lake District National Park Authority car park take the path next to the Glenridding Health centre signposted "Helvellyn". Reaching Greenside Road turn left. The road climbs past The Travellers Rest Inn. Bear right at the junction then shortly after bear left, the road climbs to, and passes in front of a row of cottages.
Continue over the cattle grid then immediately bear right.
Zigzag right and then left to gain the upper track. Before reaching the back of another row of cottages fork right at the post with footpath markers. Climb up steeply, ducking under the telegraph pole's restraining wire. The path winds its way up through bracken and heather to The Rake, an obvious easy route to the hause.
At the top of the rise, on the hause, just before the wall and gate bear right on to a path to the wall corner at the bottom of the scree. Continue up alongside the wall. At the top of the rise turn sharply right on to a grass path and follow this path round the first knoll. Go across to the second knoll and Glenridding Dodd summit cairn perched on rocks will appear ahead.
Drop back down to the col and continue across to start the ascent of the south east ridge of Sheffield Pike. Cross the wall, and continue directly ahead. The path now meanders through the crags without any difficulties in either following it or climbing the rocky bits.
Eventually the gradient eases and the top comes into view across boggy ground. Heron Pike, a Birkett, is marked by a small cairn to the right of the path on the edge of the plateau.
Skirt the worst of the bog by first heading a little right before swinging back left aiming for the obvious path to higher more rocky ground. Follow the steps cut into the steep grass bank, and then on to the summit cairn of Sheffield Pike a little further still.
From the summit, bear left from the route of ascent, westward, to drop down a wide boggy path. Before reaching the col of Nick Head the path splits, behind you is a boundary marker post with "M 1912" inscribed on it. Bear left to continue descending down towards the old quarry heaps and a wooden footbridge. Cross the footbridge and bear left. Although you can hear it much of Swart Beck on your left is hidden in its deep and steep sided ravine.
The path is quite well engineered until it really starts to drop into a zigzag, and then heads right below Stand End, where the path is a very rough collection of loose stone. Continue down more zigzags through some juniper bushes to the old mine buildings - now a Youth Hostel, bunkhouse and various club huts.
Bear left onto a track signposted "Red Tarn and Helvellyn". Bear left again and drop down to the gated wooden footbridge. Over the bridge and turn left onto a rough path traversing along the hillside. When the path splits keep to the higher, mostly level, track.
The slopes above you are grass and bracken. After a while notice the small boulder with a juniper bush hat.
Before reaching Mires Beck the path appears to be blocked by a low wall. Bear left in front of the wall to drop down to the lower path alongside the enclosure wall. Now follow this path to the gate above Gillside Farm, go through the gate onto the initially stone pitched path dropping down to the gravelled track. Follow the track, and then road to Gillside camp site, go through the gate and follow the footpath below the camping field. Reaching the track bear left to return to the village.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|White Side and Raise, from Glenridding||20m (22 yards) away|
|Helvellyn, The Classic Ridges of Striding and Swirral Edge||41m (45 yards) away|
|Greenside Mine and Glenridding Beck Circular Stroll||120m (132 yards) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Birkhouse Moor, Red Tarn, Catstycam||121m (133 yards) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Keldas, and Patterdale Circular||150m (165 yards) away|
|Glenridding Dodd||160m (176 yards) away|
|Place Fell and a stroll alongside Ullswater||1.2km (0.8 miles) away|
|Birks and Arnison Crag||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|A visit to Place Fell overlooking Ullswater||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|Aira Force and Gowbarrow Fell||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A short walk to Hart Side from Park Brow||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|The Dovedale Round: Hartsop above How, Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Rest Dodd and The Nab||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
|Around Hayeswater Reservoir||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
|Brock Crags and Angletarn Pikes circular walk from Hartsop||4.7km (2.9 miles) away|
|Pasture Beck Round, from Hartsop||4.7km (2.9 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011