Pennine Way North
6 stages . 7 nights . North Pennines
Cheviot Hills on the Pennine Way
Pennine Way North
Pennine Way North
6 stages . 7 nights

Pennine Way North
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Alston in the North Pennines
End: Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders
Season dates: 1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 6 days' walking
Typical walk: 21km, 620m ascent
Total distance: 134km or 83 miles
Highest altitude: 743m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 740 per person

The Pennine Way, Britain’s first National Trail, runs 268 miles across England's backbone: the Pennines and the Cheviot Hills. Our Pennine Way North week-long holiday completes the grand top third of the route, from Alston, the highest market settlement in England, all the way across the Scottish border to charming Kirk Yetholm. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

After a rolling start, you meet famous Hadrian's Wall and follow its epic past over some dramatic stages before striking off North to the distinctive rounded panorama of the Cheviot Hills. Enjoy classic Pennine Way views as you cross valleys, forests and moorland on your way to the final section on the ridge of the Cheviots – the boldest landscape so far, bleak and magnificent at the same time, and an epic finish to your walk on the wild side! As you reach journey’s end in the charming village of Kirk Yetholm, why not spend some time in the scenic Scottish Borders or maybe even get on a train to Edinburgh to explore Scotland’s capital for a few days?

Our self-guided trip allows you to complete the Northern section of the Pennine Way at your own pace and in your own way. Our routecards follow the official Pennine Way route, but please contact us if you have any considerations and we’ll arrange the trip to suit your needs. And if by the end of this holiday the Pennine Way has got you hooked, you can easily walk its Southern and Central sections in roughly 6 days each to complete the full route over the coming years!

Alternatvely, if you'd like to hike the Pennine Way Central with an International Mountain Leader, please ask us for details of privately guided trips.


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Full Pennine Way - 19 stages, 2 rest days, 22 nights
Pennine Way South - 6 stages, 7 nights
Pennine Way Central - 7 stages, 8 nights
We walk the Pennine Way North in 6 stages, without any rest days included in our standard itinerary. The spacing of accommodation limits options, however longer and shorter schedules are possible. We provide the most popular options below, and welcome you to ask if you are looking for something a little different!

Make the trip shorter
The best way to shorten the trip is to either start at Hadrian's Wall, missing the difficult first stage from Alston, or combine stages 2 and 3 to give a long stage to Bellingham of 36.9km with 950m ascent and 960m descent. For very fast walkers it's possible to make the Cheviot crossing of Stage 5 and 6 in one day. All these options give 5 stages overall. Please let us know if you’d like more details on this.

Make the trip longer
If you would like to make the Pennine Way North trip a little longer, the best option is to split the first long section into 2, albeit unevenly. On Stage 1 walk to Slaggyford and then take the bus back to your accommodation in Alston. The following morning, hop on the bus back to Slaggyford and continue the walk to Greenhead. This makes for quite a short first stage to Slaggyford, 9.5km with 150m ascent, so it could easily be done in the afternoon of your arrival day if you plan to get there early enough.

More rest days
For those who would like some more time to explore the local area, a few towns and villages along the route make excellent stops for rest days. The larger and better-connected towns include Alston, the small market town at the start of your trip, and Bellingham. Take a day trip to a town nearby – Penrith near the Lake District, Carlisle, Kelso or Jedburgh are great options - or explore the local sights such as the famous Hadrian’s Wall. Please ask us to advise on visiting Manchester and Edinburgh (Scotland) as the natural cities at start and end - the bus or train rides are very scenic too!

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details.
Pennine Way North
1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
5 stages
(6 nights)
Please ask
GBP 680
Singles 300
60 per dog
GBP 780
Singles 350
60 per dog
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 740
Singles 360
70 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 840
Singles 410
70 per dog
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 810
Singles 420
80 per dog
GBP 910
Singles 470
80 per dog
Baggage transfer
To all stops
Please ask us
Baggage transfer
Please ask us
Where we stay
Your accommodation along the Pennine Way North is a charming mix of small guesthouses and country hotels tucked away in the hills. We choose friendly hosts, handy locations and comfortable rooms, booking ensuite rooms where possible. Towards the end of the trip, you will stay 2 nights in Byrness as there are no accommodation options at Windy Gyle, but we will organise transport for you between the route and your B&B.

For a touch of luxury at the end of the day, choose our comfy schedule and we will upgrade your accommodation. We sway our guesthouse in Bellingham for a smart hotel and we book the supieror room types where available along the rest of the route.

We don’t have a standard hutty itinerary, but please do get in touch if you are interested in staying in more basic accommodation during your trip, such as hostels and bunk houses for example in Once Brewed and Kirk Yetholm. We will be happy to assist

Single Room Supplement
If you would like to stay in single rooms rather than sharing a double, twin or triple room we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms on a per person basis.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.

Bring your dog
In common with most of our UK trips, we're delighted that you can walk with your dog! We’ll follow our normal schedule with a few adjustments to get to dog-friendly accommodation

Typical Pennine Way view
Hillside Views along the way
Our approach to the Pennine Way
Our route follows the Northern Section of the official Pennine Way. Set off from Alston at the start of your holiday, reaching Hadrian's Wall at Greenhead after a long first day. The Wall is a superb feature to follow and makes for an entertaining and shorter second stage to Once Brewed. The links to Bellingham and then Byrness make two days of classic long-distance trekking. The Cheviot Hills form the final obstacle before Kirk Yetholm. Our normal schedule tackles this long, twisting ridge over two tough days, but we can combine them into one extremely long day if you are looking for a challenge. Finally walk over the border to Scotland and find Kirk Yetholm, an enchanting little village at the end your journey!

People at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Pennine Way by Alpine Exploratory's Pete.

The Terrain
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. Underfoot, the route is reasonably solid, on dusty or potentially muddy paths and across fields, though boggy open moorland is more common during the first half of the trip, particularly from Alston to the start of the Cheviots.

Is it for me?
The Pennine Way is our longest hike in the UK, but by taking on just the Northern section, we can offer a manageable week long holiday that still gives you the flavour of the full route. Although the stage lengths are generally longer compared to our other UK holidays, the raw figures of daily distance and ascent can in many cases mislead; the miles pass quickly on the sections of walled track or of smooth open moor. Nevertheless, it will greatly help your enjoyment of the holiday to arrive fit at the start, used to walking days of roughly 5h and 8h 30m along a long-distance trail.

The Pennine Way is generally easy to follow with wooden sign posts and the acorn symbol denoting a National Trail. The Northern sections over higher ground are not always so obvious and when the clouds descend a map, compass and knowledge to use them are essential.

Once you’ve completed the Pennine Way North, you can always come back to complete the full route. Have a look at our Pennine Way South trip from Edale to Malham and our Pennine Way Central holiday from Malham to Alston.

The emphasis of the Pennine Way is on distance rather than rockiness or technical difficulty. Compared to our other UK walks the Pennine Way spends more time on high, wild ground, and is overall a little tougher. Ascents and descents are generally gradual, and they shouldn’t be a problem for regular walkers and add interest to their respective stages.

   For an even more detailed read, please see our Pennine Way Walking Guide
How to get there
Why not visit Scotland's capital Edinburgh at the end of your trip?

Your holiday starts in Alston and ends in Kirk Yetholm. The small town of Alston is a bus ride from Penrith; Kirk Yetholm is linked to a good bus network to Berwick-upon-Tweed and Carlisle. These larger towns are on the North-South train routes. If flying, we suggest Manchester for the start and Edinburgh or Manchester for the 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.
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Detailed Routecards PEW1-19 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 1 topographical map needed
  • Downloadable GPX Tracks covering the route
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm UK time)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Our baggage option on the Pennine Way North takes your bag to each night's accommodation. In the morning, simply leave your bag with your host or at reception and we will make sure that it will be waiting for you at your next stop.
Got questions about the Pennine Way North?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob and Ben will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

Enquiry Form
Pennine Way North Self-guided

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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall
  Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall    Photos from the Pennine Way North

Alpine Exploratory
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