Day 1 - arrival in Edale
Check into your accommodation in (or close) to Edale.
Please note that a minimum 2-night stay is required in Edale during busy periods, and this is determined by the hotels. Alternatively, we can arrange a return taxi transfer to alternative venues where you will stay the night. A supplement may be payable.
Day 2 - Edale to Torside
The first walking day is one of the most challenging of the route and will see the second biggest ascent on the trip, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views for your efforts. Starting your adventure from the centre of Edale, you will traverse the peaty moors across Kinder Scout, the flagstone paths across Mill Hill and cross Snake Pass named after the Snake Inn (no actual snakes here) before finally crossing Bleaklow Head and down into Torside. You will be collected and taken to your overnight stay in Glossop or Padfield.
16 miles (26km), 680m (2,230ft) of ascent – Strenuous walking day
Day 3 - Torside to Diggle (near Standedge)
Today starts by crossing the Torside Reservoir Dam path and then you will cover most of your days ascending in one initial section as you ascend to Laddow Rocks. The route will traverse moorland and across the successfully re-vegetated summit of Black Hill at 582m (1,980ft) and past the Wessenden Reservoirs into Standedge. Due to a lack of facilities in Standedge you follow the Pennine Way Bridleway from there for a short walk into Diggle and to your accommodation for the night.
15 miles (24km), 760m (2,495ft) of ascent
Day 4 - Dingle (near Standedge) to Hebden Bridge
Today is one of the easier walking days of the route comprising of rolling moorlands and crosses the M62 motorway via the walker’s footbridge installed in 1971 and onto the famous Blackstone Edge with its extensive lowland views of the West Pennines. After soaking in the views at Blackstone Edge the route takes you onto a gentle paved causeway track (often but incorrectly assumed to be a Roman road) and across reservoir dams before reaching Stoodley Pike. From here you descend towards Callis Bridge and branch off to follow the loop into the beautiful town of Hebden Bridge known as being the first ‘walkers are welcome town’ and its amenities to stay the night.
17 miles (27 km), 360m (1,180ft) of ascent
Day 5 – Hebden Bridge to Ickornshaw (overnight in Cowling)
Today you will be in Brontë country as the famous sisters lived nearby in Haworth. You will start your days walk by following the route out of Hebden Bridge through the village of Heptonstall which if you have time is worth exploring to see the St Thomas the Apostle church. The route crosses Heptonstall Moor and follows the flagstone path over Withins Height and past the shelter at Top Withins which is associated with the famous novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. From there you cross Ickornshaw Moor and into Ickornshaw which lack amenities, so you will walk on a short distance into Cowling to your accommodation to stay the night.
17 miles (27 km), 840m (2,725ft) of ascent
Day 6 – Ickornshaw to Gargrave
A gentler walk today starts by passing through the pretty village of Lothersdale and up to Pinhaw Beacon. The route after descends into moorland and a gentler walk that for part follows under bridges of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath and across drumlin fields to reach todays destination and your ‘gateway to the Dales’ at the village of Gargrave where you will stay for the night. If you have the time, you could explore the site of a Roman fort nearby, visit the famous Dalesman Café with its sign letting you know 70 miles have been covered since Edale, and 186 miles remain to reach your destination at Kirk Yetholm.
11 miles (18 km), 520m (1,705ft) of ascent
Day 7 – Gargrave to Malham
Another welcome shorter and gentler days walking today, heading out of Gargrave across grassy hills and following the riverside along the River Aire into Malham where you will find your accommodation for the night. As it’s a shorter walking day, you will have time to visit the breath-taking waterfall and gorge at Gordale Scar (a small detour from the trail before you arrive in Malham), and maybe to explore the village of Malham and its cafes and pubs.
7 miles (11km), 180m (590ft) of ascent
Day 8 – Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale
After two gentler days the walk heads back into the hills today. As you depart Malham you will pass the spectacular Malham Cove and its of sheer limestone rockface famous among climbers. You will continue to ascend past Malham Tarn to Fountains Fell your first peak of today. Descending onto the moor, you will then follow the gritstone steps up to Pen-y-Ghent at 649m (2,227ft) before descending into the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale and your accommodation for the night.
15 miles (24km), 800m (2,625ft) of ascent
Day 9 – Horton-in Ribblesdale to Hawes
Today you will mainly be walking through moorland and grassy fields along the old packhorse tracks, gently gaining height during the first half of the days walking, and being rewarded with a long downhill section over the second half of the day. Leaving Horton-in-Ribblesdale you ascend towards Birkwith Moor passing the caves of Sell Gill Holes and Jackdaw Hole. The trail skirts the nature reserve at Ling Gill with its weirs to conserve crayfish. When you reach Kidhow the walk levels out until Ten End from where you will pass through the village of Gayle and into the little market town of Hawes where you will find your accommodation for the night and the widest range of services found on the route so far.
14 miles (22km), 450m (1,475ft) of ascent
Day 10 – Hawes to Keld
Today will provide the longest continual ascent on the Pennine Way, but before starting your walk many choose to detour to view the nearby waterfall at Hardraw Force (England’s highest single-drop waterfall). Leaving Hawes, you follow the flagstone path to the hamlet of Hardraw from where the grassy path will take you up past the cairn at Humesett. It’s worth keeping an eye out for the fossilised marks of tress that look like tyre tracks as you follow the flagstone and stony paths to the highest point you have reached so far on the route at Great Shunner Fell at 716m (2,349ft). Take some time and enjoy far reaching views into the Pennines and as far as the Lake District. It is a descending and undulating path as you walk to Thwaite, passing through the village and across boulder-scree to Kisdon, and follow the clear path from the Pennine Way down into the delightful village of Keld where you will stay for the night.
13 miles (20km), 670 m (2,200ft) of ascent
Day 11 – Keld to Middleton-in-Teesdale
A longer but rewarding day lies ahead after departing from Keld. Ascend through Stonesdale Moor and onwards to Tan Hill, where you will find the famous Tan Hill Inn England’s highest pub standing at 732m (1,732ft) that keeps its fire blazing all year (and maybe time for a drink). From here you gently descend through Sleightholme Moor to Trough Heads and across the Wytham Moor and cross ‘God’s Bridge’ a natural limestone slab across the River Greta and continue onto Clove Lodge. You will be crossing the bridge at Blackton Reservoir, passing the flowery meadows of the species-rich Hannah’s Nature Reserve and onto Grassholme Reservoir and finally to the village of Middleton-in-Teesdale to stay for the night, once an important 19th century lead mining centre.
21 miles (34km), 760m (2,495ft) of ascent
Day 12 – Middleton-in-Teesdale to Langdon Beck
Today’s section is much shorter and gentler affording you some time to spend in Middleton or detour across to the Bowlees Visitor Centre halfway along the walk – it will be a welcome interlude with two harder walking days lying ahead. Upon leaving Middleton-in -Teesdale the route sees some of the highlights of the Pennine Way including the breath-taking High Force waterfall (England’s most powerful) and beautiful gentle river side paths and meadows along the River Tees as it gradually ascends to Langdon Beck, where (or close by) you will stay for the night.
9 miles (14km), 230m (755ft) of ascent
Day 13 – Langdon Beck to Dufton
A dramatic day today as you leave Langdon Beck following the river and some duckboards and then boulders as you pass beneath the cliffs of Falcon Clints, the dramatic constricted channel in the River Tees called Cauldrons Snout will come into view. Take care as you climb up some rock steps to the Cow Green Reservoir Dam and carry on the route as it skirts the Warcop military range and past Rasp Hill. High Cup Nick will appear, called England’s answer to the Grand Canyon it is likely to take your breath away – a post iceage glacial valley formed of limestone cliffs. From here you will descend into the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Dufton.
13 miles (21km), 300m (985ft) of ascent
Due to very limited accommodation in Dufton, you may be required to be transferred to nearby Appleby for tonight’s accommodation.
Day 14 – Dufton to Alston
This is the biggest challenge of the Pennine Way due to distance and ascent at topping 1,000 metres and one that is rewarding to have completed. The route will take you up from Dufton across Knock Fell and past the large air traffic control radar dome at Great Dunn Fell. It’s then onto the highest point of the Pennine Way at Cross Fell summit which is marked with a large cross shaped shelter cairn offering staggering views on a clear day. After leaving the summit the route firms up as you pass Greg’s Hut bothy (an old lead mining shop) and follows the Corpse Road down to the the pretty village of Garrigill. From here it is around three easier miles onto Alston (England’s highest market town) mostly following alongside the South Tyne River to stop overnight.
20 miles (32km), 1,000m (3,280ft) of ascent – Strenuous walking day
Day 15 – Alston to Greenhead
The initial section of todays’ walk can be slower going if muddy and involves navigating fields, there is an alternative to follow a parallel route along the firm South Tyne Railway path from Alston to Knarsdale, although this is not part of the ‘official’ Pennine Way route.
Today starts by navigating across fields and passing the Epiacum Roman Fort and the newly opened café and continues to Kirkhaugh, Follow the South Tyne River again to Slaggyford and pass under the many viaducts to Knarsdale. From here you will join the Maiden Way, a roman road that was used for bringing supplies to Hadrian’s Wall. The route crosses Lambley Common which while initially boggy firms up underfoot, before crossing the wettest section of the whole Way across Blenkinsopp Common. A well-earned rest awaits you at the village of Greenhead your stopping point today. Congratulations is in order as this marks the official end of the Pennine Way’s Central section.
17 miles (28km), 550m (1,805ft) of ascent
Day 16 – Greenhead to Housesteads (Once Brewed)
A shorter day walking today but a very exciting one as you follow Hadrian’s Wall across an undulating route from Greenhead passing through Walltown, Cawfields and onto Winshields Crag the highest point of the wall and admiring the fantastic views across the surrounding countryside. Prepare yourself for the most iconic section of the wall at Steel Rigg and Sycamore Gap – famous as the site of numerous films including Robin Hood, the wall follows the escarpment before descending to Housesteads Roman Fort where you can see the enormous scale of the military operations and civilian settlement which was here almost 2000 years ago.
Tonight’s accommodation will be at Housesteads, or the nearby settlement of Once Brewed.
11 miles (17km), 550m (1,805ft) of ascent
Day 17 – Housesteads to Bellingham
A quieter day walking as you leave the relative bustle of the Hadrian’s Wall and head north at Rapishaw Gap and traverse moorlands and fields towards Ealingham Rigg before descending into the village of Bellingham where you will stay for the night. If you have time and the energy the nearby waterfall of Hareshaw Linn a 3-mile round trip is well worth a visit.
14 miles (23 km), 440m (1,445ft) of ascent
Day 18 - Bellingham to Bryness
Leaving Bellingham enjoy the views across Northumberland and look back at the peak of Cross Fell. Climbing gently across grassy moorland and onto the heathery summit of Whitley Pike. Following the flagstone path, you will pass the ‘pepperpot’ cairn just off the route at Padon Hill. You will skirt the forest marked by ‘GH’ boundary stones used to mark the estate of the High Sheriff of Northumberland. Follow forest tracks down into Blakehopeburnhaugh and into the hamlet of Bryness where you will be staying tonight.
16 miles (25 km), 500m (1,640ft) of ascent – Strenuous walking day
Day 19 - Byrness to Trows
Welcome to the Cheviot Hills! It is a steep initial climb after Byrness up to the grassy crest at Byrness Hill. From here you carry on and at Coquet, cross from England to Scotland across moorland before crossing back into England where you will pass the remains of a Roman camp. The route follows the ‘border fence’ and enjoy the views as you walk to the Yearning Saddle refuge hut. Windy Gyle at (2,031ft) is the next summit to bag, just on the Scottish side and enjoy the views you have earned. From the summit the ‘border fence’ follows downhill to Trows where a pre-arranged taxi will collect you and transfer you to tonight’s accommodation.
15 miles (25 km, 580m (2,790ft) of ascent – Strenuous walking day
Due to very limited accommodation in Trows, you will be required to transfer to nearby venues for tonight’s accommodation, a supplement may be payable.
Day 20 - Trows to Kirk Yetholm
After being transferred back to Trows Farm, head back to Windy Gyle Top and head to King’s Seat. From here you can decide to summit The Cheviot or chose to omit this 2.5-mile spur depending on your stamina. After that decision you pass the square cairns at Auchope Cairn and the hut at Henhole. Enjoying views along the College Valley you follow the flagstone path and moorland passing again from England to Scotland at Black Hag. Here you can choose to take the high route and soak in the views from White Law or follow the grassy lower route across Burnhead. Either way you descend into the village of Kirk Yetholm and the official end at the Border Hotel and maybe a well-earned drink! Congratulations, what an adventure to have completed the United Kingdom’s longest and most challenging National Trail!
The trip ends at the end of the walk unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with us.
17 miles (27 km), 760m (2,495ft) of ascent – Strenuous walking day