All my videos of the Pennine Way can be found in my long distance walks playlist.
With thanks to Crisis UK, Cotswold Outdoor, Gossamer Gear, my supporters and my accommodation providers for all their support.
The Pennine Way national trail is about 270 miles (430km) long and traditionally runs from the Nag’s Head at Edale in the Peak District to the Border Hotel at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.
I couldn’t resist the challenge of the Pennine Way as a walk to raise funds for Crisis UK. Opened in 1965, the Way runs along the Pennine hills, sometimes described as the “spine of England”. According to the Ramblers Association it is “one of Britain’s best known and toughest paths”.
The walk crosses three National Parks; the Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, one area of outstanding natural beauty in the North Pennines and one World Heritage Site at Hadrian’s Wall. The route initially crosses the gritstone moorlands of the Kinder Plateau, the Bronte country and the Yorkshire Dales National Park via Malham, Pen-y-ghent, Great Shunner Fell and Keld. It then descends from the high fells to the River Tees before following the South Tyne northwards to the Northumberland National Park. Hadrian’s Wall is followed for about 12 miles before the route turns north across the Kielder Forest to Redesdale and the Cheviot Hills. Here the route follows the border fence over the border ridge before gradually descending to join the St Cuthbert’s Way into Kirk Yetholm.
Because of the size of my original Pennine Way post, I have divided it into two posts as follows:
I hope this will make it more manageable. The original single page comments can still be found at the bottom of this page.
As a relative newcomer to camping when I did the walk, I opted for small campsites for this walk, partly for the facilities and partly for the support. The quotes I had for baggage transport were prohibitive so I did a lot of research on finding lightweight kit to enable me to complete the walk unsupported. These are my kit list and data sheet for the walk. For some suggestions on ways to lighten your pack weight please read my page about pack weight.
The remainder of the walk was spent in a magnificent array of campsites, youth hostels, bunkhouses, barns and one or two B&Bs. My final daily distances were as follows:
- Edale – Crowden 18 miles / 29km
- Crowden – Standedge 12.5 miles / 20km
- Standedge – Hebden Bridge 17 miles / 27.5km
- Hebden Bridge – Haworth 11 miles / 18km
- Haworth – Malham 18 miles / 29km
- Malham – Horton in R 15 miles / 24km
- Horton in R – Hawes 15 miles / 24km
- Hawes – Keld 13 miles / 21km
- Keld – Clove Lodge 17 miles / 27.5km
- Clove Lodge – Middleton in T 6 miles / 9.5km
- Middleton in T – Langdon Beck 8.5 miles / 14km
- Langdon Beck – Dufton 13.5 miles / 22km
- Dufton – Garrigill 15 miles / 24km
- Garrigill – Knarsdale 10 miles / 17km
- Knarsdale – Greenhead 10 miles / 17km
- Greenhead – Once Brewed 8 miles / 13km
- Once Brewed – Bellingham 15 miles / 24km
- Bellingham – Byrness 16 miles / 26km
- Byrness – Windy Gyle 14 + 2 miles to pick up / 22.5 + 3km
- Windy Gyle – Kirk Yetholm 2 + 14 miles from drop off /3 +22.5km
This worked out at an average of about 15 miles per day including walks off trail to accommodation. Originally I had planned to do the walk in 18 days but I realised that a couple of those days were over ambitious in the heat. As I have never aimed at breaking speed records as a walker, re-planning these days mean’t that I was able to enjoy some of the spectacular scenery in this part of the walk more.
The LDWA give the following stats for the Pennine Way:
410.6 km (255.1 miles)
11,345 m (37,215 ft) ascent
893 m (2,920 ft) maximum height
Wikipedia offered the following trivia about the walk in 2013:
A survey by the National Trails Agency reported that a walker covering the entire length of the trail is obliged to navigate 287 gates, 249 timber stiles, 183 stone stiles and 204 bridges aided by 458 waymarks. 198 miles (319 km) of the route is on public footpaths, 70 miles (112 km) on public bridleways and 20 miles (32 km) on other public highways.
Because of it’s proximity to major cities, the start of route in the the Peak District National Park suffers from problems with erosion and acid rain, For the first three days you are never far from evidence of the nearby cities such as reservoirs, pylons, masts and drainage channels, and the sound of planes from nearby Manchester airport. This may be a disappointment for those expecting a “wilderness walk”. However this imperceptibly changes as the walk heads north and enters the Yorkshire Dales, becoming pretty wild through the North Pennines and the Cheviots.
Flagstones have now been laid along most of the boggy areas of the route. As well as protecting the ground, they speed up the walker, protecting them from the bogs and aiding navigation. There is plenty of low cost accommodation close to the route and most of the accommodation providers were very kind and helpful. Unfortunately I had problems getting much phone or data coverage for the walk with my network at that time.
Finally, it is a tough walk which needs preparation and stamina to complete, having a total of 11,350m of ascent. I have done four distance walks but the Pennine Way stretched my boundaries, involving some scrambling and a lot of hill climbing. For reference I used the Paddy Dillon Cicerone guide, the three Harvey strip maps for the walk and the LDWA GPX download of the route for my phone.
In memory of Percy🌹