2017 – UK – “Pennine Way Part 1”

Walking from Edale to Middleton in Teesdale

The Pennine Way  

The Pennine Way was Britain’s first national trail. It was devised from the 1930’s onwards and finally officially opened in 1965. It follows a high route along the Pennines from the Peak District in Derbyshire to reach the Scottish border at Kirk Yetholm in the Cheviot Hills.

According to the official guide book the Pennine Way is 256 miles (412km) long. But this total doesn’t include the various diversions that are necessary to access accommodation and transportation.

Known as the toughest trail in Britain, the Pennine Way presents various challenges to the would-be walker but also offers a real sense of achievement to those who manage to complete it.

The Plan

Fresh from finishing the Coast-to-Coast walk in May 2016, and ready for a new challenge, I started to consider the Pennine Way for the next big adventure. I purchased the official National Trail Guide (Damian Hall – Aurum Press £14.99) and started to formulate basic ideas.

As the guide suggested taking a minimum of 16 days to cover the whole route it was immediately obvious that it would not be practical to tackle it all in one go. Even breaking it into 2 x 8-day sections would effectively mean organising 2 full 10-day holidays. This would be quite a heavy time commitment. An added problem was that the Sherpa baggage lifting service did not operate on the southern part of the route and that would mean carrying full kit over the first 5 days / 75 miles.

I started to consider a plan to divide up the route.

I decided early on to at least aim to complete the final 7 or 8 walking days from Middleton to Kirk Yetholm in one go. I assumed that it might make sense to use Sherpa to carry the bags along this section. I pencilled that in for late spring 2018.

That was part 2 potentially sorted,  but what to do about Part 1?

Other commitments before 2018 meant that we would struggle to dedicate more than 3 walking days at a time to the venture. I therefore decided to split the route from Edale to Middleton into 4 sub-sections and try to complete them all by the end of 2017.

The good news was that these southern sections were close enough to home to keep the travel to and fro to a minimum. For 3 of them it would be possible to finish the day’s walk and make it back home that same evening. The shorter sections would also mean less weight to carry.

I decided that the first 3 day walk (42 miles) would be accomplished by travelling out to Edale and back from Hebden Bridge. The second 3 days (33 miles) could be accomplished by returning to Hebden Bridge and travelling back from Malham. A third trip of 2 days would see us getting as far as Hawes, whilst a final 2 day stint would finally get us into Middleton.

The idea was to complete one of the sections in 2016 and the other three in 2017.

The first one was organised for the last weekend in July of 2016.

Thursday, 28th July 2016 –   Edale

We journeyed up to Edale by train, changing at Sheffield en route. We arrived in the late afternoon just as it was beginning to rain! An ominous sign!


The train leaves us at Edale

Trip 1

Trip 2

Trip 3

Trip 4

Pennine Way – Mileage Chart  

Part 1

Day Culm Date Start End Railhead or Access Ascent Descent Miles Miles
1 1 29/07/16 Edale Crowden Edale 2430 2560 16  16
2 2 30/07/16 Crowden Standedge   2165 1575 11  27
3 3 31/07/16 Standedge Calder Hebden Bridge 1150 2100 15 42

4 27/05/17 Calder Ickornshaw  Hebden Bridge 2885 2490 16  58
2 5 28/05/17 Ickornshaw Gargrave Ickornshaw 2360 1970 11 69
3 6 29/05/17 Gargrave Malham Gargrave   6  75
1 7 01/07/17 Malham Horton Skipton 2660 2560 14.5 89.5

8 02/07/17 Horton Hawes Garsdale 1760 1727 14  103.5
1 9  30/07/17 Hawes Tan hill  Garsdale 3005 2346 16.5  120
2 10  31/07/17 Tan hill Middleton  Darlington 1614 2280 17  137

Part 2 (Plan Only / May 2018)

1 11 Middleton Dufton Darlington 1837 2001 21
2 12 Dufton Alston 3410 3085 20
3 13 Alston Greenhead 1770 2295 16.5
4 14 Greenhead Once Brewed 3051 3117 6
5 15 Once Brewed Bellingham 16
6 16 Bellingham Byrness 1814 1470 15
7 17 Byrness Windy Gyle 2618 1591 14
8 18 Windy Gyle Kirk Yetholm Tweedbank 2411 3838 13