All the Fells: Sheffield Pike

Sheffield Pike – The Eastern Fells 2,232′ (168)

Date: 28 April 1993/10 April 1997

From: Glencoyne/Glenridding Dodd

I’d seen something of Sheffield Pike’s quasi-notorious south-east ridge from Glenridding Dodd, the beginnings of its narrow rock-rib before it disappeared into the lowest fringe of the cloud. Several years later, I decided to make its ascent part of a circuit of Glencoyne, despite Wainwright offering no ‘authorised’ ridge route from here to Hart Side. This meant making a start from Glencoyne itself, proceeding through the woods and passing the old miner’s cottages known as Seldom Seen, most notable in the Nineties for its name. There followed a more spacious approach to the Glenridding Dodd col, the woods thinning out and a fresh brightness in the air, which I left to head up towards the infamous ridge nearer to its end. Once here, I was truly in the open for, despite its relatively minimal height, Sheffield Pike’s mostly trackless, tilted plateau top seemed a long way from the neighbouring fells, in glorious isolation. All I needed do to continue was to head down to Nick Head and curve right, but I came out at the foot of a green slope with a path going forward that I knew would lead me to Stybarrow Dodd. It tempted me, despite the miles on that approach, all further away, and I had to resist to turn round and keep to my original plan. My return, four years later, is confusing in its memories. My primitive record of my movements shows I climbed it from Glenridding Dodd, which meant I tackled the south east ridge, and found it great fun and nothing like so fearsome as Wainwright had made it out to be, but I have a clear recollection of crossing its summit heading eastwards, at the end of a walk, enjoying the views over Glenridding, which doesn’t fit. Did I really return by the same route? Was I heading home at the end of some other, unrecorded walk in which Sheffield Pike was an unanticipated bonus? I know I didn’t go on to Nick Head and descend to Sticks Mine because I only visited Nick Head once. I can picture it in my head, as clear as any other memory of sights in the Lakes. But then I have other clear memories that provable facts contradict. A mystery.

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