Known as the “backbone of England”, The Pennine Way is a superb walking route. The route spans 256 miles of fabulous walking and takes around 20 days for a fairly fit walker to complete. Here are 15 reasons to walk the great trail.
- The first: The Pennine Way was the first of England’s National Trails to be established. Many people like to walk the first or the original… In 2016, the route will be 51 years old.
- A world classic: The Pennine Way features on the bucket list of many walkers. It’s a route to rival many other classic walks across the world thanks to its distance, rugged landscapes and historic highlights.
- To push yourself: Twenty days of walking – more, or less – is a big ask but if you have the time and the inclination, completing the full Pennine Way in one trip is a hugely satisfying achievement.
- To break a record: If you fancy walking quickly, the record for the fastest completion of the Pennine Way was set by Mike Hartley in July 1989. Mike ran the route in two days, 17 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds without stopping for sleep.
- To push yourself further: You can even choose to do the Pennine Way as “Britain’s most brutal race”, the annual Spine Race.
- To walk part of something longer: The Pennine Way forms part of a European long-distance path called the E2.
- For great highs: Just before reaching the halfway point at Baldersdale, walkers pass a pub that claims to be the highest in Britain, Tan Hill Inn. At 528m above sea-level. The route also reaches a high point of 893 metres at Cross Fell.
- To walk great heights: Walker the entire Pennine Way amounts to a total ascent of 12,000m, which is almost nine times the height of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest summit.
- For three parks in one walk: The Pennine Way takes walkers through the wild and rugged Peak District; the Yorkshire Dales with its windswept moorlands and farmland; and Northumberland National Park, where you’ll discover a mix of high hills, dales and crystal clear rivers.
- To count…: Stiles (249), bridges (249), gates (287) and waymarker signs (458). Someone has counted all these although we can’t be sure the number is exact. The good thing is you will be able to easily follow the route with so many signposts.
- For wonderful waterfalls: Even just the names, such as High Force and Cauldron Snout, offer a clue to the sights of two of the Pennine Way’s fabulous falls. High Force in County Durham is also the largest waterfall in England.
- For superb places names: Have you heard of Slaggyford, Once Brewed, Standedge, Kinder Scout and Bleaklow Head? No? Well, you’ll visit all these and many more evocatively named locations on the Pennine Way.
- For history: The trail passes through Hadrian’s Wall country and visits many historic attractions as castle and forts.
- For movie moments: The limestone pavement above Malham Cove is one of the highlights of the route. It appeared in both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was filmed at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall.
- To be inspired: Many poets have been inspired by the beauty of the Pennine Way. Yorkshire bard Ian McMillan wrote of the route:
The Pennine Way is a beautiful thing.
In summer, autumn, winter, spring.
As the clouds dance across the Pennine sky
And the wild birds wheel past the walker’s eye.
For walking holiday ideas see the Pennine Way.