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 (see other itineraries). 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. This itinerary covers the whole trail, heading north between Edale and Kirk Yetholm which is the traditional direction for walking the trail.
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:19.5 miles / 31.5 km per day
This tour runs for 22 days, 21 nights and 20 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 combined ascent and descent on this tour is approximately 3870ft.
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 Edale and stay overnight.
The village of Edale in the Peak District marks the official start of the Pennine Way. It is also home to the Moorland Visitor Centre which is dedicated to research of the moorland habitat for which the Peak District is famous. It is a small village with some but limited amenities. It is a small village and if preferred, the first night can be spent in the city of Sheffield with a transfer to the start of the route available.
A: Edale to Torside (16 miles / 25.5 km)
As the oldest nationally managed footpath in the UK, the route has changed somewhat over the years and used to leave Edale via the soft peat bogs to reach Kinder Scout. The bogs proved very confusing and even treacherous in the mist and so the route now runs across the moors, although visitors are free to explore and view the peaty areas if preferred. This is a tough day’s walking with a lot of ascents and descents but much of the route is across flagstone paths. Leaving Edale through the commemorative gates that was erected in 2015 to mark 50 years of the route being open, follow the flagstone paths with great views across Mam Tor and Lose Hill. Having climbed 633m, you will find the trig point at Kinder Low where you will see the exposed dark grey ‘gritstone’ bedrock that this area is famous for. Some of the next stretch involves stepping from slab to slab but you will reach the waterfall at Kinder Downfall before continuing on the path. The next landmark is the cairn at the top of Mill Hill, before the path offers a very windy route to skirt the worst of the boggy areas in the region. Taking care to cross the road at Snake Pass (which contrary to its name does not have snakes) continue to follow the route passing Bleaklow Head and Torside Clough to descend into Torside.
Ascent: 680m / 2230ft | Descent 680m / 2230ft
Stay overnight in Torside. Luggage will be transferred.
B: Torside to Standedge with bus to Diggle (13 miles / 21 km)
Much of the day’s walking is across the moorland with several stretches of flagstone path and firm tracks although one or two sections are boggy. Crossing over the Dam at the Torside Reservoir, walkers have the option to visit the village of Crowden (where the route used to run) or continue along the current Pennine Way between the five local reservoirs before the path climbs to Black Hill. Black Hill used to be a treacherous stretch of bog that had turned black with misplaced steps, but now a firm path of flagstones has been laid and the top has returned to the green vegetated landscape that it always should have been. The path undulates onwards before reaching a rusty red stream at Isle of Skye near Wessenden Head. From there, the route follows the edge of the Wessenden Reservoir before turning towards Standedge where you can finish for the day. From here, walkers have the option to walk to nearby Diggle (an extra 2.5km) where you will stay for the night, or catch a bus into the town.
Ascent: 760m / 2495ft | Descent 620m / 2035ft
Stay overnight in Diggle. Luggage will be transferred.
C: Standedge to Callis Bridge / Hebden Bridge (15 miles / 24 km)
Walking the 2.5km back to Standedge, or catching a bus back to the village, begins today’s route on the Pennine Way. Despite being lengthy, today’s route offers some relief in the terrain with much fewer ascents to climb along the route, and much of it across moorland and reservoir tracks allowing faster progress. Leaving Standedge behind, the well-worn path leads across the grassy moorland for several miles to reach the trig point at White Hill 466 m / 1529ft above sea level. From here, the path turns to cross Bleakegate Moor, continuing for a while before eventually reaching Blackstone Edge which is marked by a trig point and offers one of the particularly spectacular views of gritstone in the region and which has been features in writings by authors including Celia Fiennes in 1698 and Daniel Defoe in 1724. From here the path descends but becomes rugged and stony, reaching the medieval moorland of Aiggin Stone, before continuing on to pass through a series of reservoirs where the man-made walkways offer speedier walking. Other prominent landmarks as the route descends to Callis Bridge, include Mankinholes and Stoodley Pike where you can see the monument that was built following Napoleon’s exile to Elba. It has collapsed and been rebuilt but is a prominent landmark in the region. Today’s route ends in Callis Bridge and walkers can either bus to nearby Hebden Bridge to stay for the night, or opt for the ‘Hebden Loop’ route which turns off before Callis Bridge and adds 2km to the total route (0.5km today and 1.5km tomorrow). Hebden Bridge was the first town in the UK to be recognised under the “Walkers Welcome” Scheme and was voted by British Airways as the fourth funkiest town in the world.
Ascent: 360m / 1180ft | Descent 630m / 2065ft
Stay overnight in Hebden Bridge. Luggage will be transferred.
D: Callis Bridge to Ickornshaw (16 miles / 25.5 km)
Having stayed the night in Hebden Bridge, you can either walk 1.5km to return to The Pennine Way route, or bus back to Callis Bridge to start the day if preferred. Today’s route is quite a long one but pleasant and the first major landmark of the day is the small village of Colden; you can also catch a bus to Colden from Hebden Bridge if you would like to shorten the route somewhat. From here, the route crosses a large expanse of heather moorland which can be quite brightly coloured when in flower, and you can also keep an eye out for bog cotton growing when the conditions are right. Be careful to look for signs on the next stretch so as not to divert onto the similar but longer route of the Pennine Bridleway, instead continuing on the footpath, over the footbridges which span the reservoirs and on past the next series of reservoirs where again the paths become easier. Here you will climb Withins Height at around 450m to Top Withins which features prominently in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Leaving the landmark behind, follow the twinned flagstone paths (which are sometimes used by farm vehicles) and head on past Ponden Hall which provided inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in the Wuthering Heights novel. The route winds on to view the Wolf Stones (although the path doesn’t actually run past them), across Ickornshaw Moor to end in Ickornshaw. Your accommodation will be here at Ickornshaw or in the nearby village of Cowling.
Ascent: 840m / 2725ft | Descent 760m / 2495ft
Stay overnight in Ickornshaw or Cowling. Luggage will be transferred.
E: Ickornshaw to Gargrave (11 miles / 18 km)
Offering a much shorter route than previous days, many opt to take today at a more leisurely pace, although keen, experienced walkers can head on to Malham and shorten the route by a day. Note this will mean walking over 17.5 miles so should only be considered by experienced long-distance walkers.
Today’s route marks the Aire Gap between the end of the South Pennines and the start of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is in fact quite a hilly day with lots of ascents and descents across grassy slopes. The route starts by skirting houses at Middleton and again at Gill before leaving the villages behind to climb Cowling Hill (310m / 1015ft), before continuing cross country and descending somewhat to reach Lothersdale. From here the route traverses local farmland before turning to climb to the trig point at Pinhaw Beacon where on a clear day you can look back to see your journey across the South Pennines and onwards to the Yorkshire Dales. From here, descend across Elslack Moor and here the route can become a little boggy but duckboards and flagstones keep you off the worst of it. Following the route a road lined with tall trees leads into the village of Thornton-in-Craven. After leaving the village behind, it is not long until the route turns onto the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Towpath to travel onwards. You can take a very short detour to visit East Marton which has a pub, or you can continue on the route, traversing the hills to reach Scalebar where the village of Gargrave will come into view. Descend into Gargrave which is your stop for the night. Gargrave stands near the site of a Roman fort and the village church includes fragments of the original 9th and 10th century crosses.
Ascent: 520m / 1705ft | Descent 600m / 1970ft
Stay overnight in Gargrave. Luggage will be transferred.
F: Gargrave to Malham (6.5 miles / 10.5 km)
Strong walkers may choose to combine this route with the previous day’s walking, allowing for either the overall holiday to be shortened or to permit a rest day. The route however is only half a day’s walking and is relatively flat so offers pleasant respite from the previous and future terrain and also grants opportunity to visit landmarks including the spectacular Gordale Scar (a short detour) and Malham Cove.
Starting at Gargrave, the route initially follows the quiet road before crossing a stone stile into nearby farmland. Continue onto pass the Middle Plantation following the path onward across grassy fields. After a while, the route runs for a distance alongside the River Aire, on past Newfield Hall which was built in 1865. From here, continue along the route and you can divert into Airton which is an old mill town, or continuing onto Hanlith. Here the landscape is closer to a grassy parkland than the moorland of the area and you will usually see cattle grazing grassy fields among tall, isolated trees. From there, the path drops to return to the river at Aire Head before reaching the village of Malham - your stop for the night. You can divert here to Janet’s Foo and Gordale Scar if you want to explore the scenery.
Ascent: 180m / 590ft | Descent 90m / 295ft
Stay overnight in Malham. Luggage will be transferred.
G: Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale (14.5 miles / 23.5 km)
Leaving Malham behind, today’s route returns to the hills as it enters the Yorkshire Dales proper. If you didn’t visit it yesterday, today’s route passes the iconic cliff face of Malham Cove and you can opt to detour to its base or climb 400 steps to its edge to continue the route. If they are nesting, the RSPB often sets up a Peregrine Falcon watching station here too. Malham Cove was once an unbroken waterfall which at 70m was taller than Niagara Falls, but now the river travels underground to emerge at the bottom. Interestingly, high levels of rain in December 2015 caused the waterfall to reappear temporarily, making it the tallest unbroken fall in England while it was running. Leaving Malham Cove behind, walkers enter the grassy floor of the valley, which is lined with plenty of limestone cliffs, and follows the drystone walls all the way to the river, before the river disappears underground at Water Sinks. From there the path continues, skirting the edge of Malham Tarn, passing through woodland to reach Malham Tarn House. Malham Tarn is unusual in that the surrounding rock is all permeable limestone, but the bottom of the lake is in fact an unusual patch of Silurian slate which holds the water on the surface. Next landmark is Tennant Gill before the route continues to Fountains Fell and from there on to Rainscar and Dale Head before reaching the trig point at Pen-Y-Ghent at 694m / 2277ft. The limestone in this area is riddled with caves and while some have been explored, many are too narrow to enter. Descend from here to Horton in Ribblesdale which is a lovely little village but quite strung out.
Ascent: 800m / 2625ft | Descent 760m / 2495ft
Stay overnight in Horton in Ribblesdale. Luggage will be transferred.
H: Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes (13.75 miles / 22 km)
The route is quite higgledy piggledy today as it often follows old packhorse routes. Largely, the first half of the day runs uphill and the second half of the day runs downhill, but the overall ascent and descent is not too great. Leaving Horton in Ribblesdale behind, the first landmark is Sell Gill Holes which is a cave series that has a ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ entrance – they require ropes to enter but are worth a look anyway. The track crosses grassy, rushy moor and is grassy underfoot, with views across Ingleborough and Whernside. Trees to the right hide more caves and then from here the path becomes somewhat stony heading up onto Birkwith Moor. More caves can be viewed at Calf Holes, often explored by novices, but still requiring ropes, before the path continues to the National Nature Reserve of Ling Gill which features a rock-filled gorge. The nearby Cam Beck river has a number of weirs which were installed to support native crayfish populations. The next section at Cam End and the Cam End High Road is based on an old Roman road and here you turn into Cam Woodlands and on to Kidhow and Dodd Fell as the next major landmarks. Passing through the village of Gayle it is not long until you reach the village of Hawes where you will stay tonight. The village is gorgeous and attractions include Dales Countryside Museum in the old railway station, the National Park Centre and also the Wensleydale Creamery where Cistercian monks made the first Wensleydale cheese.
Ascent: 450m / 1475ft | Descent 450m / 1475ft
Stay overnight in Hawes. Luggage will be transferred.
I: Hawes to Keld (12.5 miles / 20 km)
The majority of today’s walking includes a long, slow ascent and a long slow descent across a moorland crest. Walkers are often very exposed, so it is important to dress for the weather, but the boggiest spots are paved with flagstones to assist crossing. Leaving Hawes behind you will cross fields before passing alongside the River Ure on the approach to Hardraw. There is a recommended detour here to walk the few hundred metres to Hardraw Force – a beautiful waterfall that is stunning whatever the weather. From here, a long broad climb takes you across the moorland to climb the moorland crest over Great Shunner Fell, passing the cairn at Humesett. The climb offers a few false summits but the views more than make up for the falsehoods and you will eventually reach the trig point at the summit at 716m (2349ft). From here you begin the equally long descent, passing the beacon and descending off the moorland hill to reach the village of Thwaite. You are not too far from the finish here (about 5km) but Thwaite does offer a tea shop and provisions. From here, the route returns to farmland to pass Kisdon onto some boulder slopes and down into Keld. Keld is a beautiful village which features stout stone houses typical of the region, along with the resource centre which is worth a visit, and you can take a trip upstream or downstream along the River Swale visiting waterfalls including Catrake Force, Kisdon Force and Wain Wath Force.
Ascent: 670m / 2200ft | Descent 590m / 1935ft
Stay overnight in Keld. Luggage will be transferred.
J: Keld to Baldersdale (14.25 miles / 23 km)
Leaving the village of Keld behind, the Pennine Way climbs steadily with a few patches of soggy moorland to traverse before reaching the drier heather moorland ahead. The route passes Frith Lodge and climbs onto Stonesdale Moor where it becomes a stony track. Along the way, you will see spoil heaps from the old coal mining industry of the area before reaching Tan Hill and the Tan Hill Inn. This inn is the highest inn in Britain at 530m and also marks the end of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the start of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Once you’ve left the inn behind, you will follow a firm grassy path as it winds downhill before entering Sleightholme Moor which is often wet and mossy but fairly flat and easily walked. For many, a detour of 6.5km is added onto the trip to take advantage of the Bowes Loop and better accommodation availability in Bowes, however our route continues along the true Pennine Way to Clove Lodge where transport will be arranged to nearby Cotherstone to stay overnight.
As an alternative, strong walkers can complete a further 10km to spend the night in Middleton-in-Teesdale and reduce the trip by one day or enjoy a rest day.
Ascent: 460m / 1510ft | Descent 470m / 1540ft
Stay overnight in Cotherstone. Luggage will be transferred.
K: Baldersdale to Middleton-in-Teesdale (6.5 miles / 10.5 km)
Please note this route can be combined with the previous day’s walking for strong walkers to shorten the trip if preferred.
Today’s walking is mostly across dry moorland although there are still a few patches of bog to walk across. Returning to Clove Lodge at Baldersdale by transfer, your walk restarts with a bridge crossing at Blackton Reservoir with nearby Blackton Nature Reserve and then on to Hannah’s Meadow Nature Reserve. Hannah’s Meadow offers fine examples of Pennine hayfields. From here it is a climb up to the crest of Hazelgarth Rigg at 375m with a view of Lundale on offer ahead. The path turns downhill again leading to the Grassholme Reservoir where you will cross a five-arch bridge to reach the ongoing farmland. Much of the remaining walk is across farmland and some moorland including Harter Fell where you will get your first view of Middleton-in-Teesdale some way ahead. Middleton-in-Teesdale is your stop for the night and the small town has 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.
Ascent: 300m / 985ft | Descent 400m / 1310ft
Stay overnight in MIddleton-in-Teeside. Luggage will be transferred.
L: 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.
M: 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.
N: 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.
O: 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.
P: 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.
Q: 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.
R: 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.
S: 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.
T: 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 T above.
The route / itinerary can be shortened by one day, by combining E & F together
The route / itinerary can be shortened by one day, by combining J & K together
Route N can be shortened and Route M can be lengthened depending on where people wish to stop, or an extra night can be added between N & M 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.
- The rugged Peak District landscape
- Moorland Visitor Centre
- Many waterfalls, including Kinder Downfall, Catrake Force, Kisdon Force and Wain Wath Force
- Top Withins which featured in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
- Gordale Scar
- Malham Cove
- Dales Countryside Museum
- National Park Centre
- Wensleydale Creamery
- Yorkshire Dales National Park
- North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
- Many more...