+ The most spectacular Pennine Way week
+ Leaders show the way over Pen-y-ghent and Cross Fell
+ Atmospheric villages and B&Bs of Northern England
Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 season. Thank you!
Join our guided groups for 7 days over the most exhilarating stages of the Pennine Way. From Malham in the Yorkshire Dales to Alston in the North Pennines, cover 170km (106 miles) of bold scenery.
The Pennine Way crosses wild moors, high hills and ancient fields. We set off from Malham, quickly reaching Malham Cove and later on Malham Tarn. An ascent of Pen-y-ghent, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, sets the scene for the grandeur of the walk. Progress North through Hawes and Keld, leaving the limestone Dales behind for the North Pennines. Highlights of the route include the isolated Tan Hill Inn, the waterfall at High Force, the vast glacial ampitheatre of High Cup Nick, and the highest point in the Pennines on Cross Fell.
At the end of each day is the satisfaction of having walked a full Pennine Way stage. The route's reputation as boggy is undeserved nowadays, thanks to path improvements in the form of stone flags. By completing this Central section, our South and North sections can be walked in roughly 6 days each to complete the route between Edale and Kirk Yetholm.
PWCg Pennine Way Central (Guided)
12 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
|Scheduled guided trips|
|Private trips only||
|Private trips only|
|Private guided trips|
Our baggage service on the Pennine Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception.
On a private guided trip we can adjust your Pennine Way Central in various ways, as follows:
Fewer long days
The Pennine topography lends itself to days of 25km, give or take, and makes it tricky to walk longer days... unless you go very much further. This 7-stage trek is hard enough for most groups, including as it does the long day to Dufton (35.5km) and Alston (33km). For a less challenging end to the trip we can split the last 3 stages, albeit unevenly, and this results in our 9-stage trek.
At some stops we can book smarter hotels, or dormitory/hostel accommodation. A typical Pennines village has limited places to stay but larger ones have a mix like this. It is no longer possible to complete the Pennine Way, or even one week of it, staying only in YHA youth hostels but the YHAs plus private bunkhouses are available in some villages.
On any Pennine Way trip please ask us about visting more of Northern England. We can advise on the Lake District which is easy to reach by bus via Carlisle, or the famous cathedral cities of York and Durham.
Arrival day: Arrival in Malham
Explore the centre of this extremely pretty village, or the surrounding countryside including Janet�s Foss and Gordale Scar � two noted features of the limestone Dales.
Stage 1: Malham to Horton
25km or 16 miles)
The aim for the first stage is to reach the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, capital of Three Peaks country. Pass Malham Cove and Malham Tarn on the way, then climb Fountains Fell on old mining tracks before tackling the famous peak Pen-y-ghent. Descend along a stony lane to Horton.
Stage 2: Horton to Hawes
(24km or 15 miles)
This classic stage of the Pennine Way takes you North through the Yorkshire Dales. You move through a great deal of gradually changing scenery. Pass the Ribblehead area and take to the Cam High Road, an old Roman road running for much of the way to Hawes. The wild moors present themselves all around you. Later the small town of Hawes is a welcoming sight down in the valley.
Hotel in the Market Place, Hawes
Stage 3: Hawes to Keld
(23km or 14 miles)
Your third day�s walking takes you North from Hawes past the hamlet of Hardraw and up the long ascent to Great Shunner Fell (716m), the longest continual ascent on the Way. Pass through the pretty village of Thwaite in Swaledale to start an exceptionally pretty stretch above the valley to the small hamlet of Keld.
Stage 4: Keld to Bowes
(22km or 14 miles)
The Tan Hill Inn, in its famously wild setting, is a feature of this stage and a good place to stop for lunch. Afterwards set off across the moors for the quiet village of Bowes with its old ruined castle.
Stage 5: Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale
(21km or 13 miles)
Today�s route returns to the moors and crosses two valleys, Baldersdale and Lunedale, both with reservoirs. Arrive in the attractive settlement of Middleton on the River Tees, a large village with all the shops and facilities you need.
Stage 6: Middleton-in-Teesdale to Dufton
(35km or 22 miles)
High Force, a 21m high waterfall, and Cauldron Snout, another spectacular waterfall at the bottom of Cow Green reservoir, are highlights of today�s stage along with the glaciated bowl of High Cup Nick. Today is a long stage but there is the option to walk the first stretch to Langdon Beck the previous afternoon. Emerge in the pretty Cumbrian village of Dufton with its central green.
Stage 7: Dufton to Alston
(34km or 21 miles)
On your final day, the Pennine Way takes its highest journey of the whole route. This is another long stage. Enjoy the climb to Cross Fell (893m) and the long walk out on a track to Garrigill before a final leg of field paths beside the River South Tyne. The bustling village of Alston provides a welcoming end to your holiday with its shops and pubs.
Guesthouse in town centre, Alston
Departure day: Departure from Alston
Morning departure from Alston.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip starting. We will book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present you a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Your route follows the official Pennine Way. Set off from Malham at the start of your holiday, quickly reaching Malham Cove and later on Malham Tarn. An ascent of Pen-y-ghent, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, on the first day really sets the scene for the grandeur of this trip. As you progress Northwards through Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Hawes and Keld, enjoy the limestone Dales are reach the North Pennines. Cross moors to beautiful Teesdale then cross the spine of the Pennines to Dufton. Your final stage ascends Cross Fell, the highest point in England outside the Lake District. Arrive in Alston, England�s highest market town. Highlights of the route include the remote Tan Hill Inn, the waterfall High Force on the River Tees, and Cross Fell.
Each day your leader guides the group along the stage. On some days there is a choice of route; which route we take depends on what people prefer and on the local conditions.
The terrain is a mix of the following and more: paths in woodland, walled tracks, paths through fields (some indistinct), country lanes, paths over the open hillside (some indistinct), steep rocky paths or steps and stony mountain tops.
Our approach to the Pennine Way Central
Your route follows the official Pennine Way. Set off from Malham at the start of your holiday, quickly reaching Malham Cove and later on Malham Tarn. An ascent of Pen-y-ghent, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, on the first day really sets the scene for the grandeur of this trip. As you progress Northwards through Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Hawes and Keld, enjoy the limestone Dales are reach the North Pennines. Cross moors to beautiful Teesdale then cross the spine of the Pennines to Dufton. Your final stage ascends Cross Fell, the highest point in England outside the Lake District. Arrive in Alston, England’s highest market town. Highlights of the route include the remote Tan Hill Inn, the waterfall High Force on the River Tees, and Cross Fell.
The Pennine Way's gradients are for the most part gentle in comparison to much UK mountain walking; this follows the route's nature as a series of moorland crossings. Certain parts of the route involve steep ground, in particular the ascents of Pen-y-ghent and Cross Fell. Underfoot the route is reasonably solid, on dusty or potentially muddy paths and across fields but rarely - except in the Northern stages - on very muddy open moorland.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in Malham and ends in Alston. Both of these villages mean a bus from the nearest stations but once on the train network it is easy to reach Manchester and anywhere else in the UK. If flying, we suggest Manchester for both start and end.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Pennine Way Central
Dates Summer 2019
Scheduled trips 2019
Private trips 2019
Please join us any time in our season from
12 May to 15 September 2019
Scheduled trips: Starting 9 May 2020
Season: 3 May to 18 September 2020
Research Summer 2019
Fields and walls in Swaledale (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
Find out more
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