Sheffield Pike from Hart Side
|Elevation||675 m (2,215 ft)|
|Prominence||c. 90 m|
|Parent peak||Great Dodd|
|Listing||Wainwright, Nuttall, Hewitt|
|Range||Lake District, Eastern Fells|
|Topo map||OS Explorer OL5|
A broad ridge runs eastward from the summit of Stybarrow Dodd, crossing a grassy saddle to the subsidiary top of White Stones. The rocky fall into the head of Glencoyne prevents further eastward progress and the ridge splits into two, flanking the valley to north and south. The northern arm continues to Hart Side, while the southern branch drops down a heavily quarried slope to the depression of Nick Head (1,919 ft). From here it rises again to the top of Sheffield Pike.
Broadly oval in plan, Sheffield Pike separates Glencoyne from the Glenridding valley to the south. Both flanks are steep, the Glenridding Screes particularly so, and the upper slopes have substantial outcrops of rock. East of the summit is a second top named Heron Pike (c.1,985 ft), a rock turret backed by a couple of tiny tarns. Beyond here the ridge tumbles down a further rocky slope to The Rake (1,300 ft), a narrow col connecting to Glenridding Dodd. A further ridge descends from the summit area of Sheffield Pike, also running eastward, but a little to the north of Glenridding Dodd. This falls to the shore of Ullswater through Glencoyne Wood.
Geology and Mining
The summit area is composed of the plagioclase-phyric andesite lavas of the Birker Fell Formation. A vein of quartz-feldspar-phyric microgranite runs along the southern slopes and across Nick Head.
The area around Nick Head, on the Glenridding side, was the site of Greenside Mine. This operated from around 1750 until final closure in 1962, winning lead and silver in what was the District's most successful mining operation. The estimated yield was almost 2,500,000 tons of ore during the lifetime of the mine. Work commenced from levels driven into the higher slopes of Sheffield Pike, but by the closure of operations the mine had descended 3,000 ft below the summit of the fell. As a bizarre post-script to the underground activity, in 1960 the Atomic Energy Authority used the mine for seismic tests. Charges were to be detonated and the shock waves studied, in an effort to improve monitoring of underground nuclear tests by other nations. Two charges were fired, but the smaller one failed to go off. Considerable evidence of mining remains with extensive tips below Nick Head and water leats on both sides of Glenridding Beck. Part of the mine buildings have been converted into a Youth Hostel.
Summit and view
The summit of Sheffield Pike has varied terrain with areas of bog between the rocky outcrops. A broad cairn marks the summit, also carrying an old stone boundary marker dated 1830. Given that this was not noted by Alfred Wainwright in his 1955 Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells the exact provenance of this stone is uncertain. Heron Pike bears a single iron post, another boundary marker. The view from the top is restricted by the higher fells of the Helvellyn range and Ullswater can be better seen from either Heron Pike, or from the cairn above Black Crag on the Glencoyne side.
Ascents are usually made from Glenridding village, either via The Rake or Nick Head. These two depressions can also be used to provide access from the quieter valley of Glencoyne. A popular indirect route is to climb Glenridding Dodd first, and then proceed either to Hart Side for a circuit of Glencoyne, or to Stybarrow Dodd and Helvellyn for a much longer horseshoe of Glenridding.
- British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)
- Adams, John: Mines of the Lake District Fells: Dalesman (1995) ISBN 0-85206-931-6
- Richards, Mark: Near Eastern Fells: Collins (2003) ISBN 0-00-711366-8
- Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 1: ISBN 0-7112-2454-4