North Pennine Cycles, run by Dave Raeside, will repair, fine-tune or even replace your bike, should the rigours of the journey require. This excellent resource is now firmly established as one of the best in the north.
Folk in both Nenthead and Allenheads – the next port of call – claim to live in England’s highest village. I would be interested to know definitively which is the higher. Either way, Nenthead is 500m above sea level and has a colder climate than Aberdeen. It does seem incredible that only 300 million years ago it was on the equator.
The village was purpose- built for mining in 1825 by the Quaker Lead Company. In addition to housing they provided a reading room, wash-house, public baths and a school for the 1500 employees in the Methodist stronghold. At weekends they ran smal holdings and this way of life lasted for more than 100 years. A decorative fountain in the middle of the vil age serves as a memorial to R.W.Bainbridge Esq, superintendent of the mine company.
Falling markets destroyed the community, with cheap imports leading to a collapse in prices, and many families emigrated to the USA and Australia at the end of the 19th century. Zinc mining continued until the 1940s and Nenthead Mines eventual y closed its last pit in 1961.
The Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre is a must. They have brought to life the old workings on this 200 acre site and have helped breathe life into a vil age that history somehow forgot. You can even do some mineral panning and visit the sites on self-guided trails. 01434 382294
Killhope Lead Mining Centre is off the A689 5km east of Nenthead. Underground visits possible April – Oct. 01388 537505.