A Glencoyne circuit

6th January 2013

Sadly time was a factor in todays walk despite the fact that it had been organised for a good few weeks, unbeknown to recent events – I now had only a few short hours to spend on the fells. Originally Tim & I had organised a walk within the Uldale fells but this had to be put on the back burner due to my circumstances.

Tim duly understood as I received a text from him containing these three summits…

Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike & Hart Side.

The valley of Glencoyne did the rest.

It was only four hours, but four hours well spent in good company on good fells, a well executed walk doesn’t always need the planning of a fully pledged expedition.

Today just proves it…


Wainwright Guidebook

The Eastern Fells

-Glenridding Dodd:

Fashions Change. When people climbed hills only for the sake of the views, the heathery summit of Glenridding Dodd neglected. It occupied a grand position overlooking the upper reach of Ullswater. It is the end, topographically, of the eastern shoulder of Stybarrow Dodd.


Ascent: 1,690 Feet, 515 Metres
Wainwrights: 3, Glenridding Dodd – Sheffield Pike – Hart Side
Weather: Overcast With Winds On Tops, Drizzle For The Latter Of The Walk, Highs Of 9°C Lows Of 8°C
Parking: Car Park, Centre of Glenridding £7 All Day Parking
Area: Eastern
Miles: 6.7
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 4 hrs
Route: Glenridding – Glenridding Dodd – Heron Pike – Sheffield Pike – Nick Head – Glencoyne Head – Hart Side – Brown Hills – Glencoyne – A592 – Lake Path – Glenridding

Map and Photo Gallery



Glenridding Hotel, Glenridding 07:55am 8°C

Arrival in Glenridding was under a mask of low cloud as we carefully negotiated Kirkstone Pass at times not taking the car out of second gear – due to wall of thick cloud which meant visibility was less than the end of the car bonnet for much of the crossing over Kirkstone.

Tim was at the wheel of my car as I tried to catch upon some much needed sleep from the previous night.

Visibility only cleared as we reached Hartsop with much relief & we arrived in the sleepy hamlet that is Glenridding, Parking was easy within the mist & darkness of a winter morning, parking with seven pound to do was a little less easy…

We kitted up under darkness, me, more so as I had forgotten my head torch & for the life of me I still cant find it, It’ll show up when I least expect it I guess.

With the car locked we leave a sleepy Glenridding for a more unorthodox ascent on Glenridding Dodd.


Fire from above.

Tim & I chatted as we made our ascent with no incline as to what was going on behind us, after a short while & with a ‘Tim, what? turnaround’


We watched the sky light up the southern tip of Ullswater & Boredale Hause with camera’s fixed & jaws noticeably dropped, this has to be one of the most beautiful & dramatic sunrises I have ever seen.


A close up of Place Fell & Boredale Hause within the mist of something special.


Ullswater & Place Fell looking north west.


Heron Pike from Glenridding Dodd.

After a short yet eventful ascent we soon reached the summit of Glenridding Dodd, as the sun crept its way west had we seen the last of those beautiful sporadic views? not quite…

After a few summit shots & a fill up on fruit we spy three walkers & a couple of dogs making their way up Heron Pike’s south east ridge, we tail the walkers for the rest of the morning who seemed to be walking with good sail.


Heron Pike south east ridge.

We soon left Glenridding Dodd behind as we crossed the small col along this stone wall, our route would see us head up & around the crag you see in the foreground then take in the wonderful yet extremely muddy east ridge – which more or less leads you all the way to Heron Pike’s summit, but that is a little while off just yet.


Looking back on Glenridding Dodd from our muddy ascent.


Low sun over the east & far eastern fells.


Catstycam, Brown Cove & Helvellyn Lower Man.

Catstycam stole the stage for much of the ascent even though the summit was never clearly visible except for the odd occasion which lead me to belief, I really must give Catstycam more attention for future walks.


More sun burst from the summit of Heron Pike.

The cloud above really was doing wonderful things, at times the rolling cloud looked as if it was masking summits never seen before, only to realise that what actually looked liked a strange new mountain range was just the cloud & wind playing tricks on me.

Odd yet strangely powerful.


Sheffield Pike soon comes into view as the early morning walkers we are trailing prepare to leave.


Sheffield Pike summit.


Nick Head, Glencoyne Head & Hart Side (R) from our descent.

Nick Head was possibly the coldest part of the morning as the exposure of the valley became more apparent, It’s been a while since I had a cold blast across the face, so I leave my hat in my pack & take on the wind with clenched fist.


Passing this boundary marker along the descent.

It was now time to briefly cross Sticks Pass & make the ascent on Glencoyne Head.


Looking back over Nick Head & a now cloud covered Sheffield Pike.


Glencoyne Head.

Tim & I made the ascent without a rest stop so we decided to sit a while & watch the cloud pour over & eventually envelope the valley rim.

I could think of worse things to do whilst sat eating a sandwich…


Hart Side looms.

It was while crossing Glencoyne Head did we cross our first walkers of the day, with a wave one asks ‘have you seen a North Face hat along your travels’ (obviously he had dropped it earlier & must be on his return from Hart Side) Sorry mate I replied, when the walkers mate then shouted with a smirk, it was sh#t anyway!

We share the laugh & press on towards Hart Side summit.


Hart Side summit cairn within the mist.


We leave Hart Side under more cloud as we pick up the path for Brown Hills, they really are out there somewhere.


Birkett Fell during a break in the cloud.

Those with a keen eye may make out a stone wall in the right of the picture, this was our exit route off the ridge & offered guidance for our descent.


Brown Hills eventually make an appearance.

To continue along Brown Hills really would have given the walk a much added bonus, but sadly, time wasn’t on our hands today, maybe next time.


Keeping with the stone wall as yet more cloud traces across hillside.


Glenridding Dodd with a glimpse of Sheffield Pike (R) as we start to make the descent into the Glencoyne valley.


The mass of Sheffield Pike from our descent.


Glencoyne Head enjoys a brief sun spell.


From high above, a picture of the ruined dam & Glencoyne Beck.


The sheepfolds with Glencoyne Beck look inviting enough to lunch.


Lunch time at the sheepfold.

It was time for an early lunch or so my stomach thought so, with the murmur of Glencoyne beck close by what better way to round off a morning on the fells, even if it did start to rain…


Passing Seldom Seen cottages.


The stone cottages were once home to the miners of the Glencoyne Valley, now holiday cottages.

Within the mildest of a January day we return via the Ullswater lake path – as with the rain, came what felt to be early evening, of course this was not so, it was little past midday as we arrive back in Glenridding with only one other car than mine occupying the car park, we ignore this a wee while & take in the notice board at the side of Shermans General store, what caught my eye’s attention in the two consecutive weeks that I have spent in Lakeland was the lost sign for Joey the Jack Russell lost on the High Street Fells.

Again I spare a thought for Paul & Wendy who must be going out of their minds at the loss of their beloved Jack Russell.

I walk back to the almost empty car park as Tim walks over to the toilet block. I sip hot coffee & reflect upon a great morning spent when nothing went wrong, not even sipping coffee in the rain could spoil this day.


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