The Pennine Way National Trail stretches from Edale near Sheffield, all the way through the Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales and across the Pennines. The whole footpath is 268 miles or 431 km long but can be divided into a northern and southern section if preferred. This itinerary is for the Northern Section of The Pennine Way, walking northbound between Middleton-in-Teesdale and Kirk Yetholm. Considered the toughest National Trail in the UK, if you can handle the rugged landscape then you will be rewarded with spectacular scenery. These routes are best-suited to those with long-distance walking experience.
By Rail: The Pennines are well-served by rail from London, covering the journey in around 3 hours. Fast through-trains run from most other parts of Britain.
By Car: The Pennines are served by excellent roads. The A1/A1(M) motorway provides fast, easy access from the South. From the North choose from the A1 coastal route or the A68 cross-country 'holiday route' through Northumberland and Border Country. From the West, the A66 provides a scenic cross-Pennine route from the Lake District and M6 motorway.
B&Bs, Hotels and Inns (3*) or Luxury Hotels (5*). Please note the Luxury version includes some taxi transfers at the beginning or end of some days.
The tour includes transfer of luggage as stated. The tour information pack provided to the clients contains luggage tags from Compass Holidays. The clients name and the hotels used throughout the holiday will be on these tags. They should be fixed to the luggage. In the morning the luggage should be left at the reception for collection. Luggage is collected after 9.30am and delivered to the next hotel before 4.30pm.
This grade of this tour is moderate.
- Kirk Yetholm
Daily Distance Range
- Minimum:6.5 miles / 10.5km per day
- Maximum:16 miles / 25.5 km per day
This tour runs for 10 days, 9 nights and 8 days walking but can be extended or decreased by changing the daily distance.
This tour is available from April to September
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation at the stated category with breakfast
- Luggage Transfers
- Taxi transfers where specified
- Full Tour Pack
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
What is NOT included in the tour
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
The total ascent and descent on this tour is approximately 2495ft.
Caution: Much of the Pennine Way is in remote locations and therefore accommodation is limited. We therefore ask that guests provide a start date with 3 days leeway minimum to allow us to adjust the start date around accommodation availability.
Arrive MIddleton-in-Teesdale and stay overnight.
Middleton-in-Teesdale is a small town with origins in the 12th-century as an important settlement and trading place for the local farming community. There is a lot of history here including the town’s time as a market, a mill town, a lead-mining town and much more besides.
A: Middleton-in-Teesdale to Langdon Beck (8.75 miles / 14 km)
Today is an easy stretch of walking, much of it running along the River Tees. Leaving Middleton-in-Teesdale behind, the route immediately drops to run alongside the river before entering local woodland and then on to traditional meadowland. Whitewashed farmsteads are typical of this area and you will see many in the near and far distance of your walking while enjoying grassy meadowland and firm footing for most of the day. Next you will pass Holwick which used to be the most northerly town in Yorkshire before a county-boundary change put it into County Durham instead. You may also spot Holwick Lodge which is believed to have been used by the Queen Mother for her honeymoon. Next the Pennine Way enters the Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve where it is worth looking out for the small waterfalls and fast rapids that stretch along the River. From here, you can also see Wynch Bridge; Wynch Bridge was the first chain suspension bridge in the country, built to span the gorge in 1741 but it later collapsed in 1802. The current bridge dates back to 1830 when it was repaired and strengthened to span the gore; you can cross (one at a time) to detour to Bowlees if you wish. The next landmark is High Force – the most powerful waterfall in England – and then on to Whin Sill, a dramatic sheet of dolerite which has influenced much of the local landscape. Your finish is a short way off The Pennine Way at Langdon Beck for the night.
Ascent: 230m / 755ft | Descent 70m / 230ft
Stay overnight in Langdon Beck. Luggage will be transferred.
B: Langdon Beck to Dufton (13 miles / 21 km)
The route today combines a variety of terrains including riverside walking and moorland paths, along with some ascents and descents. Starting in the traditional meadowlands of Upper Teesdale the path tracks upstream alongside the River, passing Falcon Clints to reach the Cauldron Snout at the edge of the huge Cow Green Reservoir. Here you will need to cross some awkward boulders before continuing along the Way to pass farmland and historic coal sites at Birkdale and Moss Shop. Here you will ascend Rasp Hill to 590m which is usually covered with flowers and an abundance of thistles; in the distance you will see some of the boggiest moorlands in England including Mickle Fell and Little Fell, but you do not have to traverse these. From here, follow the flagstone slabs as the path descends to Maize Beck and on to the rocky cleft at High Cup Nick. Passing Narrowgate, Peeping Hill and Bow Hall, with a view of Dufton Pike in the distance, the path descends into the village of Dufton – your stop for the night. Originally an Anglo-Saxon settlement of small huts around a green, the houses were rebuilt in the 17th century of the local red sandstone.
Ascent: 300m / 985ft | Descent 510m / 1675ft
Stay overnight in Dufton. Luggage will be transferred.
C: Dufton to Alston (19.5 miles / 31.5 km)
There is limited accommodation and amenities between Dufton and Alston, apart from at Garrigill. Taxis can be arranged to shorten some of the distance, or walkers can elect to stop at Garrigill (15.5 mile / 25km) and add some extra miles tomorrow as preferred.
The traditional route runs from Dufton to Alston, but at nearly 20 miles of tough walking, it can be a daunting prospect so many instead opt to break at Garrigill. The whole length is known as the toughest part of the route, but it is also a beautiful stage, climbing and staying very high with spectacular views across the surrounding landscape. Pick up the course of the Pennine Way from Dufton Hall, following the path through the initial trees and then on between the highest Pennine summits. The route passes between Dufton Pike and Knock Pike before crossing the footbridge at Swindale Beck. Here you will enter the Upper Teesdale National nature reserve, continuing the climb which marks much of the start of the day, eventually reaching the square, built cairn of Knock Old Man and then a short additional climb to a smaller cairn marking the peak at Knock Fell (794m). Although this is the highest part of the Pennine Way you have climbed so far, it is not long before the path reaches Great Dun Fell at 848m - keep heading towards the ‘Radome’ that you should be able to see clearly. From here, the route stays high, crossing to Little Dun Fell at 842m where the landscape becomes more boulder-strewn, through the gap at Tees Head and on to Cross Fell at 893m. Cross Fell is one of the highest points in England and extends across a large Plateau offering extensive views when the weather is good. From here, the path begins to slope down and you reach Greg’s Hut which was originally a shelter for miners and offers shelter in bad weather if you need it to. Here you start crossing moorland and continue the descent passing Rake End, and on to Long Man Hill and Pikeman Hill. From here, the route continues across heather moorland all the way to Garrigill, before running along the River South Tyne for a while before turning away and eventually reaching Alston. Alston has a steep, cobbled high street and is the highest market town in England.
Ascent: 1000m / 3280ft | Descent 900m / 2950ft
Stay overnight in Alston. Luggage will be transferred.
D: Alston to Greenhead (17 miles / 27.5 km)
If walkers have opted to stop at Garrigill, you will need to complete an extra four miles today.
The majority of today’s route runs through a valley, but it still includes some ascents and descents as you navigate the local terrain. Mostly, you are crossing the slopes of South Tyneside and it starts with a walk to cross the River South Tyne and then on to climb a steep limestone terrace where you will find the ruins of Whitley Castle hill fort. From here, you will contour across the slope, pass old railway infrastructure and walk on to a path alongside the River South Tyne to continue downstream to the village of Slaggyford. From here the path continues past Burnstones to the village of Knarsdale before the route follows the Roman Road of Maiden WayAlston t across Lambley Common. Passing near to the village of Lambley the route continues to cross Hartley Burn and then on across the rushy moor at Hartleyburn Common. Hartleyburn Common gives way to Blenkinsopp Common and you will pass near to a trig point which you can detour to if you want to or continue to pass the stone hut at Todholes and on to Greenhead.
Ascent: 550m / 1805ft | Descent 700m / 2295ft
Stay overnight in Greenhead. Luggage will be transferred.
E: Greenhead to Housesteads (10.5 miles / 17 km)
Considered a short days walking, the route is also often described as a rollercoaster, with plenty of ascents and descents and some spectacular scenery to enjoy, not to mention Hadrian’s Wall. Today’s route lies in the Northumberland National Park and runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall for much of the day; Hadrian’s Wall took eight years to complete and ran coast to coast with small ‘milecastles’ at regular intervals. Leaving Greenhead behind, you’ll pass beneath the 14th century ruins of Thirlwall Castle (which you are free to explore) and then not long after pass to the old whinstone quarry at Walltown or detour to the Roman Army Museum next to the Roman fort of Magnis. Next is your first experience of Hadrian’s Wall, walking alongside it to Walltown Crags, where you can also look across to the border forests of Scotland. Much of the wall is still built tall but time and quarrying have removed some sections. Passing a number of the turrets on the route, you begin to peel away from the wall to reach Cockmount Hill and on past the Roman fort of Aesica before reaching the quarry at Cawfields. Passing ‘Shield on the Wall’ your next landmark is the trig point at Winshields Crag which at 345m is the highest point of Hadrian’s Wall. Skirting the small village of Peel, you can detour to the Twice Brewed Inn, or continue to the dramatic cliffs of Steel Rigg. Overlooking Crag Lough and then passing Hotbank Crags, eventually the path leads to Housesteads Roman Fort which likely housed 500 Roman soldiers. From here, a short distance will bring you to the one B&B near Housesteads, or take a short bus ride to a more populous area if there is no availability.
Ascent: 550m / 1805ft | Descent 460m / 1510ft
Stay overnight in Housesteads. Luggage will be transferred.
F: Housesteads to Bellingham (14 miles / 22.5 km)
Today’s route crosses low moorland passes along forest tracks and paths and uses local farmland. This is often one of the quietest parts of the whole Pennine Way and it is possible to walk all day without meeting another party. Keeping to the left of Housesteads Roman Fort, you will walk to Rapishaw Gap where the Pennine Way diverges from Hadrian’s wall and the path goes on to offer outstanding views of the lakes of Broomlee Lough and Greenlee Lough. Much of the day is spent in the extensive woodland of the area, before a brief patch of boggy moorland at Hawk Side takes some care to traverse. From here the route passes Willowbog where there is a centre which cultivates bonsai and on to Ladyhill where you will find a bird of prey visitor centre. From here the route crosses farmland before reaching Shitlington Crags where there is an extensive gritstone edge before heading on to the tall mast at Ealingham Rigg. Finally, having crossed the River North Tyne, enter Bellingham – your stop for the night. If you have the energy, it is worth walking out to Hareshaw Linn which is a gorgeous waterfall reached via a wooded gorge. It is approximately 5km round trip and can be visited and back to Bellingham in about 1.5 hours.
Ascent: 440m / 1445ft | Descent 540m / 1770ft
Stay overnight in Bellingham. Luggage will be transferred.
G: Bellingham to Byrness (15.5 miles / 25 km)
After leaving Bellingham via farmland the fields soon give way to grass and heather moorland. There is little to break up the day in terms of landmarks, but the scenery is beautiful and the walking is lovely. The route passes to the left of the summit of Deer Play and then to the right of the summit of Whitley Pike, before the route climbs the crest. The route passes close by to the ‘pepperpot’ cairn at Padon Hill and you can easily detour for a closer look. The route continues across the heather moorland to Brownrigg Head at 365m and on to Black Hill. From here, the path begins to descend, passing a house at Blakehopeburnhaugh, crossing the River Rede and crossing again at Cottonshopeburnfoot to lead into Byrness. Byrness is small but lovely and was originally built to house the workers employed to construct the Catcleugh Reservoir.
Ascent: 500m / 1640ft | Descent 400m / 1310ft
Stay overnight in Byrness. Luggage will be transferred.
H: Byrness to Clennell Street (14.5 miles / 23 km)
This route is best attempted with plenty of food and good weather if you can because the route is very exposed. A steep climb through the forest out of Byrness starts your walk, to crest on Byrness Hill where you will see a large cairn in the distance. Continuing your climb across the boulder-strewn route to pass Houx Hill and Windy Crag before passing through the gap to reach Ravens Knowe at 527m. Next is Ogre Hill with forest to the left and on to Coquet Hill – a boggy valley where you pass from England into Scotland. The route continues, passing from Scotland back into England and heads down to Roman Camps and on to Black Halls. Continuing for a while, the path crosses boggy land where there are flagstones to guide the way, bringing you to Yearning Saddle Hut which offers shelter should the weather turn, continuing past the trig point at Lamb Hill which stands at 511m. The terrain returns to heather moorland, climbing to the top of Beefstand Hill at 562m before turning downhill again to reach Mozie Law at 552m. Crossing back into Scotland, the final major landmark is Windy Gyle, marked by a huge burial cairn and a trig point at 619m, with views into Scotland and the imposing Cheviot Hills, or back across the Pennines. Here, the route descends to the finish at Clenell Street. Overnight will either be in Cocklawfoot which is 3.5km off the path, or in Trews whichi s 3km the other way.
Ascent: 850m / 2790ft | Descent 530m / 1740ft
Stay overnight near Clenell Street. Luggage will be transferred.
I: Clennell Street to Kirk Yetholm (13.75 miles / 22 km)
The final day’s walking on the Pennine Way is a wonderful finish although very remote so provisions are required. Assuming a return to start at Clennell Street from your accommodation, today’s route enters the Cheviot Hills and concludes in Scotland. Leaving Clennell Street via Butts Road, you will pass a trig point at 531m, continuing to climb to King’s Seat where the path becomes peaty underfoot. Passing Bowmont Water, walkers are offered two options: to ascend The Cheviot, climbing the spur path 2km to the peak at 815m before returning on the same route, or skipping The Cheviot and its outstanding views to continue straight to Kirk Yetholm. The ascension to The Cheviot is part of the official route and not an optional detour, but because you have to return via the same path many walkers leave without completing it – a real shame. Having returned from the spur (if you choose to walk it), the route meanders past Auchope Cairn which has two stone cairns at 725m before a steep descent begins to reach Hen Hole Hut which is a purpose-built shelter for walkers in bad weather. Enjoy the views over College Valley before passing the trig point on The Schil (detour for a closer look) and on to Black Hag. Here, you face the choice between the current Pennine Way route and the historic route, the former crossing the high ground while the latter drops lower and is often preferred in the event of mist or poor weather. The two paths merge back together outside Kirk Yetholm, to lead right past the village green to the official end of The Pennine Way. Kirk Yetholm has gypsy heritage and has a few lovely amenities.
Ascent: 760m / 2495ft | Descent 1180m / 3870ft
Stay overnight in Kirk Yetholm. Luggage will be transferred.
The routing is subject to accommodation availability and will be as follows using the Route letters from A to I above.
Route C can be shortened and Route D can be lengthened depending on where people wish to stop, or an extra night can be added between C & D to extend the trip and reduce the distances.
The correct clothes are important to ensure comfort during each walk. We suggest avoidanything with seams and buttons in sensitive areas. Clothing should take moisture from the body to the outside. Sweatshirts, thin pullovers and breathable jackets are ideal companions during the cooler days. Take light, waterproof jackets and trousers in case there is rain. On hot days we suggest a cap or hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
- Teesdale National Nature Reserve
- Wynch Bridge was the first chain suspension bridge in the country
- Knock Old Man Cairn
- Northumberland National Park
- Hadrian's Wall
- Broomlee Lough and Greenlee Lough
- Many more...