Sheffield vs the Devil's Hump

Sheffield Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 28 › view all entries

Sheffield, you will quickly discover, is extremely hilly.  It is in fact built on seven hills (just like Rome fact fans although this is where the similarities end!)


Sheffield also has the distinction of having more green land per square foot of its total area than any other city in the UK, or so I'm led to believe.


What does this tell us then?


Well when you put these two facts together what you come up with is that there are a number of very large parks, built... (can you build parks?) ...built on very steep hills.


And that is useful how?


Well if, as was the case yesterday morning, you wake up to thick snow then Sheffield become the ideal place for sledging.  In fact within hours the city’s parks are transformed into something akin to an alpine ski resort. Well... almost.


I grew up just at the top of one Meersbrook Park which has what I think will be the largest, longest and steepest slopes available.  Seriously - in certain parts of the park there incline must be about 1 in 2 and this extends for about a quarter of a mile in some places, maybe more.  So you can see that given half a chance this place is swarming with exuberant kids at the slightest whiff of snow.


Like any self respecting mountain, Meersbrook Park has a number of 'runs' staring from the gentler slopes of the 'top hill' to the breakneck inclines of 'the bottom hills'.  In fact in the tradition of it's Alpine relatives it even has its own 'black run' (as I believe is the ski parlance) which took you down the bottom right hand slope of the park.


This run was one of the longer ones available, consisted of some dizzying inclines and most importantly took you straight across 'Devil's Hump'.  How this came to get its name is probably shrouded in mythology but every child in the area knew of it and feared.  They would nod sagely and tell tales of the number of injuries it had caused - it had claimed broken bones and worse was the story.  Everyone knew that only the foolishly brave or the foolishly foolhardy would ever attempt to crest it at full speed.


The terrifying Devil's Hump was in fact a large lump in the side of one of the steepest parts of the hill where the ground suddenly flattened out slightly before dropping steeply away once more.  If tackled properly and with enough speed you could in fact get your sledge to actually briefly leave the ground and fly through the air before crashing down onto the slope again.


Now much of what was said about it was the sort of urban myth that kids love to spread and there were plenty of people who tackled this run and suffered nothing more than a few bumps.  In fact the most dangerous part of the whole thing was the fact that with some of the speeds you could generate the run off was actually rather small and it was difficult to avoid running smack into the cast iron railings which surrounded the park at the bottom of the slope!


But to the kids of Meersbrook the Devil's Hump was (and probably still is) the stuff of legends!

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photo by: moshers_moll