Pennine Way

Pennine Way – England’s Famous Long Distance National Trail

The Pennine Way is one of the longest of the 18 National Trails in England and Wales. At a distance of 270 miles, the Pennine Way lost it’s claim to being the longest national trail when the South West Coastal Path, a distance of 630 miles, opened in 1978.

The Pennine Way was the inspiration, in 1935, of Tom Stephenson, the future secretary of the Ramblers Association. Despite many difficulties and objections Parliament finally approved the recommendation of the National Parks Commission and in 1965, 30 years later, Britains first National Trail was opened on the 24th April.

It is one of the best known and popular long distance footpaths in Britain, with an estimated 160,000 people, many from overseas, attempting it every year. It is not known how many complete it, but it is thought that 70% give up after the first two days due to the peat bogs and marshland that needs to be traversed.

Pennine Way, Englands famous National Trail.The traditional route is south to north from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. In October 2009 three friends and myself decided to walk the Pennine Way in the opposite direction from north to south. The reason for this is that we live in the southern section and have already completed most of this part, so we thought we would walk home from Scotland.

The Pennine Way is a tough, wet walk, not to be taken lightly. The majority of the paths, where they exist, are through desolate moorland, peat bogs and swamp land – this is the reason many people quit and never return. It can be a sole destroying effort at times, plodding through this environment, with only the banter from companions and the thought of a good meal and drink at the end of the day to keep you going.

I will cover the first weeks walking from Kirk Yetholm to Garrigill in more detail in the next post.

Related Content:
Pennine Way – Kirk Yetholm to Garrigill
Pennine Way – Garrigill to Horton-in-Ribbledale

Pennine Way – Horton-in-Ribbledale to Blackstone Edge

Pennine Way – Blackstone Edge to Edale


Pennine Way — 6 Comments

  1. An interesting trail, this Pennine Way. We have taken the children hiking in Newfoundland across peat bogs and swampland. They were not impressed. I just love the different landscapes we’ve been lucky enough to experience hiking with the family. We’ve done a lot of hiking on the Appalachian Trail on the east coast of the United States. This rugged trail cuts across Appalachian mountaintops.

    Once again, Bill, this is a marvelous website/blog. I’ll continue to read through various posts and leave notes for you as time allows.

    • Hi Victoria Marie, I am not surprised your children didn’t like the peat bogs and swamps, it’s not my idea of enjoyable hiking either. My companions and I finished the final part of the Pennine Way yesterday and are glad that it’s over, we certainly have no desire to return.

      The Appalachian Trail sounds a great hike, at over 2,000 miles it makes our trails seem a little timid. I have always liked the sound of the name Appalachian.

  2. I remember staying in Crowden Youth Hostel a number of times during my move to the North and house hunting. There were many of the Pennine Way walkers that gave up at that point. The stretch from Edale can really hurt a lot of ambitions!

    • Crowden Youth Hostel has now been completely rebuilt Paul. I am not surprised that so many pack in the Pennine Way after the Snake and Bleaklow trek. Having said that there are places further north that are no better. In my opinion, and my companions, the Pennine Way is not one of the best National Trails.

      • I have to be honest – after completing the first few days of the hike myself many years ago I soon switched my attention elsewhere. I found the countryside of the Peak District and North Wales far more appealing. Next year I am heading to the South West to do some more Coast Path. That is far more my type of walking!

        • I have to agree with you Paul, there is far better walking elsewhere than the Pennine Way. All my companions on the walk said it was the worst one they had ever done – why people rave about it is beyond me. The number of times we were knee deep in peat bogs was unbelievable. It was just a case of ‘we have started, so we will finish’ really.

          As you mention the other side of Edale in the White Peak is totally different to the Dark Peak. I look forward to your further posts on the South West Coast Path, it’s one on my ‘to do’ list.