I realise there are 214 Wainwrights so you’d probably argue that fell 107 is a milestone, being halfway, when we reached 99 on Raven Crag we, sorry I, wanted to make the 100th be something special. Being from God’s county I picked Sheffield Pike!
A sunny but chilly day met us as we left the caravan site followed by family Dicko and headed for Ullswater and the road down the west side of the massive water that seems to take forever to drive down to Glenridding. The A592 offers twists and surprises at every turn on a sunny day, trying to find a space in the small free car parks that litter the road is an adventure in itself. We eventually settled for a small ‘pull in’ just prior to Glencoyne and met the Dicko’s at the NT car park to start our walk.
As always on meeting our favourite hiking buddies, Kel and Sue check out new kit and colour match and me and Dicko just take the mick. I was sporting my new body cam as I got for a birthday present with which I was experimenting videoing our walks. Sue’s first reaction was to ask if it records audio, I said no but I was lying, she doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a potty mouth. We set off up the straight track to the cluster of buildings which I guess is Glencoyne, the site of Sheffield Pike standing in front of us asking to be climbed. The path goes through the back garden of the buildings which always seems a bit weird to me, tramping through someone’s back garden. Through the very small wooden gate and eventually placed boot of grassy fell as we started the climb up the sheep infested hillside to a quaintly placed terrace of cottages which, looking at the map, is called Seldom Seen. The grass bank up to the stone wall and a gate through gave everyone a welcome early break to vent or remove clothing that was causing an early sweat.
Richard (Dicko’s son) was off up front hop, skiping and jumping his way through the heather and rocks while we straggled behind giving Alfie (our Springer) his excuse to do his hill reps between us and him. I was feeling it, even at this early stage, the medication I was on takes its toll in all shapes and form and early fatigue was one. The climb wasn’t particularly hard but getting to Bleabank side seemed like Everest to me and the sight of Nick Head and the designated sweet stop was more than welcome. I joined the group and plonked myself on a Peat shelf and tucked into Dicko’s jelly babies, my body craved sugar. Alfie was on a peat soaked water fest and doing ’doughnuts’ in the sodden ground was an ideal way of covering everyone in black water. Thanks mate!
We rested and contemplated the summit which wasn’t too far away, approx. 75 metre climb to the 675m summit. Halfway to the top I saw group resting with a few kids running about while the adults rested. As we got closer I recognised my work mate Louise tending a small child and then remembered she was in the area with her family and had obviously also chosen Sheffield Pike as their ‘summit of the day’. We had a bit of craic and arranged to meet at the ‘Rambler’s Bar’ later for a post walk pint. We headed east towards the summit and at last about 500m of level (ish) ground reached the summit fairly quickly and with a cracking view. Ullswater was as clear as a bell and we even got a view of people skiing down Raise. Helvellyn looked amazing, the snow had given it a wonderful coat that had a good few people climbing to the top.
At this point I’d given up on my cam, I hadn’t attached it correctly to my day sack and it kept slipping forward and all I had was cracking footage of the ground and my size 11’s. We headed south east towards Heron Pike struggling to find a definite path. We stopped at the iron post as the ‘path’ had come to drop, a 50m drop! Luckily we could see Louise and the rest of her party nearly at the bottom heading towards the stone wall. Her hubby pointed to our left, I thought it was an indication to the path we needed to take so we headed left and found a small well-trodden area of grass heading down hill towards the wall. It seemed to take an age to get to the wall and ‘The hills were alive, with the sound of Sue screams!’ There were a few scares on the slippery grass, even I had a few ‘Hip jolters!’
Eventually we met the dry stone wall heading north to south and walked in the direction of the ‘Rake’ and crossed the junction with the wall dropping off Glenridding Dodd. We did plan to top Glenridding Dodd but I felt very tired and had slight chest pains, again a result of the medication floating around my body.
I told Kel I didn’t want to go any higher so we decided to take a left then left again to briefly head north east to Mossdale Beck and follow the beck down to the road. If you chose this path be wary that it’s not very well maintained, we had to run the gauntlet of falling trees and collapsed paths. Which meant us getting ‘hands on’ in some parts, which I don’t mind but Sue didn’t look too impressed. Finally we hit the road and a short walk back up to the parking spot just passed Glencoyne Bridge.
We met Louise and her family at the Ramblers Bar for a well-deserved pint of cider and a chat in the sun. A great peak for our 100th Wainwright and a lovely sunny day to do it!