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Pennine Way

Pennine Way

Location: Derbyshire; North Yorkshire; Cumbria; Northumberland. Established 1965
OS Maps: Explorer: OL1; OL2; OL21; OL30; OL31; OL43; OL42

The Pennine Way was the first National Trail and remains the most challenging, following the backbone of England along some of the highest and remotest areas of the country. This is not a route for the feint hearted; you must be fit and well equipped and should not attempt the route in the winter months unless exceptionally experienced. The maps listed above, together with a compass, are essential for safety. Plan thoroughly and book accommodation in advance. The last section of 40km from Byrness [NT766030] to Kirk Yetholm must be completed in one day.

The route is dramatic with magnificent views in good weather. You pass through Bronte country including the atmosheric supposed ruin of Wuthering Heights. There are spectacular waterfalls and the Roman history of Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads. You should approach this trail as you would an expedition. It is a challenge, but once completed will live in your memory forever.

Of course, you do not have to walk the entire route in one expedition. There are many opportunites to enjoy day or weekend walks along parts of the route, perhaps completing the whole Trail over many trips.

The Peak District section of the walk takes in all the major gritstone peaks of the area. The Pennine Way starts in Edale and heads up Grindsbrook onto Kinder Scout. It crosses to Crowden Brook and heads upstream to Crowden Head, the highest point of the Kinder plateau, before dropping down into Kinder River, which is followed to the Downfall. Then it heads north-west along the edge of the plateau before descending to Ashop Head and climbing up to Mill Hill to follow the long ridge which connects Kinder to Bleaklow. An alternative start takes you from Edale to the Downfall via Jacob's Ladder and Kinder Low.

The path crosses the Snake Pass road and the old track known as Doctor's Gate and then follows a feature known as Devil's Dike to reach Hern Clough, the upper section of the Alport river. This is followed upstream to the Wain Stones and Bleaklow Head, the high point of this hill. From here the path swings west for short distance to drop into the stream system of Torside Clough, which is descended to Crowden in the Longendale valley.

From Crowden the path follows the west bank of Great Crowden Brook upstream to Black Hill, detouring at Oaken Clough to climb over the top of Laddow Rocks. At the head of the clough, it heads straight up Dun Hill to reach the summit of Black Hill, an extremely boggy area known as Soldier's Lump.

Here the path divides, with one alternative heading almost north to drop down to Wessenden Head and follow the chain of Wessenden Reservoirs down to Marsden. However, the main path continues north-west along the watershed to cross White Moss, Black Moss and take an almost direct line to Standedge, where the path leaves the Peak.

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