Because this walk is lengthy it is best suited for fit walkers. The ascent/descent is moderate. The summit of Sheffield Pike can be confusing in poor weather conditions so it is best walked in fair weather.
Walk down through the campsite and head for the 16th century Hartsop Hall. Bear right behind the Hall to follow the path hugging the left side of Brotherswater. Here you will see many types of water fowl such as herons, fresh water cormorants, grebes, mallards, mersangers, goosander and coots. As you walk along look across the water and catch a glimpse of majestic Hartsop Dodd as it is reflected colourfully in the lake.
On reaching a gate pass through and take the permissive path on the left and sign posted to Patterdale. This path will weave through the trees of Low Wood to eventually arrive at a gate onto the road. Cross over the road, climb a stile and follow the path along the left side of the sparkling clear Goldrill Beck.
When it reaches a bridlepath coming in from the left, turn right to go over a bridge and then keep left to follow the path to Beckstones and then Crookabeck farm where you will see the mohair sheep in the surrounding fields. Continue along the track to arrive at the picturesque hamlet of Rooking. Turn left along a tarmac lane signposted to Patterdale. On reaching the main road turn right and pass in succession the Post Office, School, Church and Patterdale Hotel and eventually into Glenridding.
Pass the minor road leading down to the steamer service to Howtown and Pooley Bridge and after passing the Inn on the Lake look for a path on the right which follows the shoreline of Ullswater. On a summer's day there will be many people enjoying boating and swimming here. The path rejoins the road briefly to skirt around Stybarrow Crag ( the large jutting outcrop familiar to motorists!) before continuing along the shore at Mossdale Bay.
After crossing the inflowing Mossdale Beck the path becomes alongside a wall where you must look across the road to take the path signposted Seldom Seen. Follow this track as it passes some cottages (called Seldom Seen) - these were built in the 1860's for the lead miners at nearby Greenside mine. Continue to a gate, keeping right along an adjoining wall. When this ends follow a path bearing slightly left across the steep slopes of Sheffield Pike to Nick Head - an obvious saddle between Sheffield Pike and the crags of Glencoyne Head.
Turn left up a path to reach the summit cairn on Sheffield Pike. Admire the views over to Stybarrow Dodd, Catstye Cam, Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag and Fairfield. To descend to Glenridding retrace your steps to Nick Head and take a path descending SW to reach the upper workings of Greenside Mine, in the past one of the most productive in the country. Follow the path as it swings left, steadily descending to a footbridge over Swart Beck. Continue along the twisting stony path to reach the Youth Hostel and Outdoor Pursuits Centre. Admire the views of Ullswater as you descend the tarmac road to reach Glenridding. Turn right at the main road and return to the campsite.