(Pennine Way) Pen-y-ghent
PENNINE WAY (SELF-GUIDED)   19 stages . 22 nights . Northern England   Booking

Pennine Way
Self-guided trekking holiday


+ Complete the UK's classic trek, the Pennine Way
+ Tough, bleak but magnificent landscapes
+ Expert advice to find your ideal schedule

Latest news October 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - thank you.

The Pennine Way runs from Edale to Kirk Yetholm across England highest mountains outside the Lake District: the Pennines and the Cheviot Hills. This trek completes this classic route in one go.

Subtle changes of scenery occur throughout the Pennine Way. The dark gritstone of the Peak Distict gives way to the limestone Yorkshire Dales. What might be a surprise is just how much of the Pennines there is. Trekkers who have visited the Dales will find the hills extend much further North, to the North Pennines in fact and then to the Cheviots. Corners of Northern England are reached that despite being on a recognised route have an untouched feel.

If the whole route in three weeks doesn't appeal, you might consider taking 2, 3 or more trips to complete the route. Week-long trips (our South, Central and North weeks) or a series of long weekends are practical and give a sense of a campaign. Please contact us to discuss these approaches.

Your accommodation along the Pennine Way is a real variety from guesthouses to hotels tucked away in the hills. We go for friendliness, handy locations and good standards.


Map


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's Pennine Way Self-Guided walking holiday

Prices


Alpine Exploratory
PEWsg Pennine Way (Self-guided)
3 May to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
19 stages
2 rest days
(22 nights)

Please ask 1,580
Singles 550
220 per dog
Main PEW
1,780
Singles 660
220 per dog
Specialised schedules
21 stages
2 rest days
(24 nights)

Please ask 1,700
Singles 600
240 per dog
1,940
Singles 730
240 per dog
Options
Baggage transfer
All stops
190
Baggage transfer
Direct
60

Itinerary

Here is our normal schedule of 19 stages with 2 rest days:


Arrival day: Arrive in Edale
Your trip begins on arriving at your B&B in Edale. In the heart of the Peak District, the views of the Pennines begin right away in this picturesque village with two pubs and a cafe.
B&B in Edale

Stage 1: Edale to Torside
Red3 grade, 24km with 680m ascent, 740m descent
Begin the Pennine Way by crossing two Peak District hills: Kinder Scout and Bleaklow Head. The distance goes quickly on solid paths with gentle gradients. Enjoy the wide views and the sense of remotness on this excellent introduction to the Way.
B&B in Torside

Stage 2: Torside to Standedge
Red3 grade, 20km with 750m ascent, 562m descent
Black Hill is the major obstacle and feature of this stage. It rises gradually to the North. At 582m its summit is the highest point crossed by the Pennine Way from now until the Yorkshire Dales. Recent years have seen huge improvements in the path underfoot, making the black peat morasses that surrounded the summit a thing of the past. A sense of wilderness remains.
Inn in Diggle (off-route at Standedge)

Stage 3: Standedge to Hebden Bridge
Red3 grade, 26.5km with 380m ascent, 665m descent
This stage is a series of moorland crossings between the major roads linking Yorkshire to the East and Greater Manchester to the West. Around the middle of the day, enjoy striding out along the flat, smooth tracks between Blackstone Edge and Hebden Bridge. End the day with the canal-side walk into Hebden Bridge.
B&B in Hebden Bridge

Stage 4: Hebden Bridge to Haworth
Red3 grade, 23.5km with 790m ascent, 650m descent
Classic South Pennine views await on the stage as you cross the moors to Haworth. This is Wuthering Heights country; the moorland between Hebden Bridge and Haworth is wild but made easy by solid paths and good stone slabs. While the crossing marks a distinct journey between the catchments of the Calder Valley and the Worth Valley, the time spent on wild moorland is actually quite short.
Guesthouse in Haworth

Stage 5: Haworth to Elslack
Red3 grade, 25.5km with 790m ascent, 900m descent
This is a typical South Pennines stage of low moorland crossings and field paths. The views are less dramatic than on previous stages but still interesting. The stage threads a way between the industrial centres of Lancashire to the West and of Yorkshire to the East, crossing the last high ground of the South Pennines.
Inn in Elslack

Stage 6: Elslack to Malham
Blue3 grade, 24.55km with 285m ascent, 395m descent
Settle into a steady pace today and the distance will fly by. Field paths are the theme, interspersed with lanes and even a bit of canal towpath. The countryside is pastoral as you cross the Aire Gap, the lowest-lying section of the Pennine Way and the link between the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales.
Guesthouse in Malham

Rest day in Malham
Malham marks the start of the Yorkshire Dales. A charming village with a good selection of bars and cafes, the main attraction is the surrounding limestone scenery and cliffs.
Guesthouse in Malham

Stage 7: Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale
Red3 grade, 25km with 820m ascent, 780m descent
This is a fine stage with more than its fair share of notable Pennine Way features. The limestone cliffs of Malham Cove give way to some intriguing walking before Malham Tarn is reached. Two obstacles then present themselves before Horton: Fountains Fell and Pen-y-ghent. These two hills make for a challenging but rewarding second half of the walk.
B&B in Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Stage 8: Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Hawes
Red3 grade, 24km with 435m ascent, 435m descent
This is one of the classic stages and a bold day out across grand Pennine terrain. The village of Horton and the town of Hawes make natural staging posts at either end. The main event in the day is the gradual ascent of Dodd Fell by the long Roman road known as the Cam High Road. On the spine of the hill, views swap from upper Wharfedale to Widdale in the North. Hawes comes into view in its peaceful Wensleydale setting, one of the bigger Pennine settlements and a bustling market town.
Inn in Hawes

Stage 9: Hawes to Keld
Red3 grade, 21km with 670m ascent, 585m descent
This is a stage of two contrasting parts. The bulk of the day is spent crossing Great Shunner Fell, at 716m a high obstacle. The views are broad and often wild. After the descent enter the hamlet of Thwaite and begin a pastoral and beautiful section of the Way above Swaledale to Keld. The change in scenery maintains the interest throughout this stage. End the day at Keld, a tiny village on its own in a fold of hills, quiet and peaceful.
Guesthouse in Keld

Stage 10: Keld to Bowes
Red3 grade, 22km with 340m ascent, 375m descent
This stage links the head of Swaledale with the moors of County Durham. It begins with a crossing of Stonesdale Moor to the famous Tan Hill Inn, then crosses Bowes Moor to the valley at Sleightholme Fam and ends with an attractive ramble over fields and past farms into Bowes, a quiet village with an impressive ruined castle.
Inn in Bowes

Stage 11: Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale
Red3 grade, 20.5km with 460m ascent, 520m descent
Here is an enjoyable day among open and wild scenery. Two valleys break up the journey; Baldersdale and Lunedale, each holding reservoirs and being sprinkled with dispersed farms and houses. Late in the stage enjoy the panorama above Teesdale and the view down to Middleton-in-Teesdale.
B&B in Middleton-in-Teesdale

Stage 12: Middleton-in-Teesdale to Dufton
Red3 grade, 34.5km with 570m ascent, 600m descent
A long but spectacular stage running largely East to West instead of South to North. Three famous landmarks of the Way are encountered today: the waterfall at High Force on the Tees, the cascade of Cauldron Snout, and the vast and awesome high glaciated valley of High Cup Nick. After the spine of the Pennines, drop down into the quiet village of Dufton.
B&B in Dufton

Stage 13: Dufton to Alston
Red3 grade, 33km with 935m ascent, 825m descent
A long day crossing four summits, the stage is really four distinct parts: an ascent to the ridge, the crossing of four peaks, a long descent to Garrigill on a moorland track, and finally a ramble across fields to Alston. This is one of the two particularly high and bold Pennine Way stages, and exhilarating way to finish this portion of the route.
Guesthouse in Alston

Rest day in Alston
Alston is a market town in Cumbria, surrounded by the North Pennines. Explore the villages' pubs, cafes and shops or take a ride on the historic South Tynedale Railway.
Guesthouse in Alston

Stage 14: Alston to Greenhead
Red3 grade, 28km with 560m ascent, 730m descent
Field paths and moorland crossings make up two distinct themes for this stage. Starting at Alston, the route threads a way through the valley to Slaggyford and Lambley. At Lambley the Way strikes off from the road to continue the Northward direction via Black Hill. The Hadrian's Wall area and the valley of the River South Tyne are both well seen today.
Inn in Greenhead

Stage 15: Greenhead to Once Brewed
Red3 grade, 12km with 480m ascent, 555m descent
A highlight of the Pennine Way, the walk over to Once Brewed coincides with the Hadrian's Wall path. The well preserved Wall is followed for most of the day, often right beside, and there is much up and down. Open moorland falls away North and South.
Inn at Once Brewed

Stage 16: Once Brewed to Bellingham
Red3 grade, 24km with 510m ascent, 690m descent
From Once Brewed to Rapishaw Gap, the Pennine Way concludes its route along Hadrian's Wall. From the Gap, the route strikes off North to begin the wild crossing to the Cheviot Hills. It is a stage of forest tracks, moorland paths and a few fields and lanes. This is a classic stage of cross-country walking. The small town of Bellingham is welcome in the North Pennines.
Guesthouse in Bellingham

Stage 17: Bellingham to Byrness
Red3 grade, 24.5km with 525m ascent, 425m descent
The crossing to Byrness is the last of these typical PW days, with more distinct sections. After three minor moorland crossings, the day finishes with a fairly long walk through Redesdale Forest to the valley in Byrness.
B&B in Byrness

Stage 18: Byrness to Windy Gyle
Red3 grade, 20km with 940m ascent, 530m descent
This first of two days on the Cheviot Hills is a big final challenge. From Byrness the PW climbs quickly to the ridge, then stays on it as far as Windy Gyle (the highest hill of the day) for the descent to Trows. Much of the walking is on good, solid grassy paths or sections of duckboards and stones. Enjoy this superb ridge walk, the boldest landscape yet met on the Pennine Way. (We organise a pick-up at Trows for a second night at Byrness.)
B&B in Byrness

Stage 19: Windy Gyle to Kirk Yetholm
Red3 grade, 21.5km with 640m ascent, 150m descent
After a lift back to Trows, climb back up Windy Gyle. This last stage of the Pennine Way completes the traverse of the Cheviot Hills. A detour to the highest point in this area, The Cheviot, is possible. The walking is generally excellent, being on a clear path often laid with stones or boards. The ridge gives a rollercoaster ride ending at The Schil, a famous Cheviots hill. Finally, to roll into Kirk Yetholm is to enter a pastoral scene in contrast to the preceding mountain miles. The hills are behind you!
Hotel in Kirk Yetholm

Departure day: Depart from Yirk Yetholm
After a last breakfast take the bus to Berwick-upon-Tweed, Carlisle or Edinburgh and join the rail network. Then Manchester, York or London are easily reached. Congratulations on the Pennine Way!


Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.


Baggage transfer

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. Please ask us for our prices which depend on the numbers in your group.


Options

We can adjust your Pennine Way in various ways, as follows:

Fewer long days
The Pennine topography lends itself to days of 25km, give or take, and makes it curiously difficult to walk longer days... unless you go very much faster! We suggest that our 19-stage trek is hard enough for most groups, including as it does the long day to Dufton (35.5km) and Alston (33km). We can split these stages, albeit unevenly, and this results in our 21-stage trek.

Different accommodation
At some stops we can book smarter hotels, or alternatively 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 staying only in YHA youth hostels but these plus private bunkhouses can form part of your trip.

See more of England
Standardly we include rest days in Malham and Alston, two small market towns. Take buses to Richmond and Carlisle respectively, bigger towns in the North. Please ask us to advise on Manchester and Edinburgh (Scotland) as the natural cities at start and end.. the bus or train rides are very scenic too.


The route

Our approach to the Pennine Way
Your route follows the official Pennine Way. Set off from Edale to cross the High Peak towards the South Pennine towns of Hebden Bridge and Howarth. Low moors then grassy plains take you to the Yorkshire Dales at Malham. Delightful stages to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Hawes and Keld follow. The North Pennines now beckon and you cross back West to Dufton before climbing Cross Fell. Alston and a low stage lie on the way to Hadrian�s Wall. A day on the wall is diverting, then strike off North into the wilds: bold forests and bleak moors. The Cheviots come as a final obstacle, almost cruelly so, but immensely rewarding and beautiful. Kirk Yetholm is the final haven; time to celebrate!

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, 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 Edale and ends in Kirk Yetholm. Edale is on the train line between Manchester and Sheffield; Kirk Yetholm is linked to a good bus network to Berwick-upon-Tweed and Carlisle where trains run North and South. 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.


Happy clients

"Thank you for your friendly, expert, efficient service from the day we first made enquiries. Even as we were on the trip, we were recommending you to fellow walkers and will continue to do so.

"A very comprehensive pack. Everything was easy to follow.

"The holiday exceeded our expectations. A truly memorable experience. We will be scanning your website for next year!!"

Mark & Karen Drake
(Pennine Way)

Key information Summer 2020

Trip name: Pennine Way
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: PEWsg
Route: The Pennine Way (Walking guide)
(Prefer South, Central or North weeks?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 19 days' trekking, 2 rest days
Start: Edale in the Peak Distict
End: Kirk Yetholm in the Borders
Typical walk: 24km, 620m ascent
Total distance: 429km or 268 miles
Highest altitude: 893m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)



Prices Summer 2020

19 stages and 2 rest days, per person:

PEWsg Classic
GBP 1,580 (singles 550, dog 220)
Book
Pennine Way (self-guided)



Research Summer 2020

Rob Gale at Alpine ExploratoryAlpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Pennine Way was led by:
Rob Gale in March

Recces 2020

The Roman road of Dere Street in the Cheviots
The Cheviots (Photo gallery)


Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
22 nights, staying in:
B&Bs and guesthouses (12)
Small hotels (5)
Inns (4)
Hostels (1)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards PEW1-19 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
3 May to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

Kirk Yetholm, end of a long voyage
Kirk Yetholm (Photo gallery)



Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our background page on the   Pennine Way

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