Pennine Way


Pennine Way
by Greg Brock

In June 98 me and Si undertook the 260 mile Pennine way from Edale, Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm, Scotland. The following is a report on what went on for almost three weeks.

Day 1 : Friday 26th June 98
We undertook the 3 hour car journey up to Edale, Debyshire from our homes in Essex, today. We got to Edale by car which was kindly driven by Bob Penman. When we got to Edale we booked into Edale Youth Hostel, and we had the rest of the day to get kit ready make final arrangements and get a good night sleep before we started on our walk. We actually went to bed about 8pm this day as we had nothing else to do.

Day 2 : Saturday 27th June 98
We woke up at 7am which wasn't difficult at all as we had such a early night the night before. We had a youth hostel breakfast and left the hostel at 8:15am in the rain (Typical). After about 15mins of walking we made it to the official start of the pennine way. From here it was a steep climb up to the tops of the Derbyshire peat bogs. Once we were at the top the heavens opened and it rained solidly for a few hours. At 2pm it stopped raining and we stopped for lunch. From here we descended down over a reservoir to campsite 6km behind from where we had planned to stay as we had problems up in the peat bogs. Here we dried our clothes after the torrential down pour and cooked e.t.c.

Day 3 : Sunday 28th June 98
Again got up at 7am cooked breakfast and left about 8:30am. Our journey today started o.k. until we got on top of Black Hill, where we got a bit lost on the peat bogs again. We then had lunch, in the rain again and continued on our way. We stopped of at Marsden where we helped ourselves to water from a pub. We walked out of Marsden and continued on until we could find a good place to camp up on the hills.

Day 4 : Monday 29th June 98
Today we planned to get up at 6am but didn't actually get up until 7am. After walking about 30mins we came across a food van by the side of this main road, here we bought sweets and also a cheeseburger, very rewarding. From here we crossed the M62, walked on to the White House Pub, then round some reservoirs to Stoodley Pike (a massive monument on top of a hill). You could walk inside this and climb up some spiral stairs to the top where we had lunch, in the shelter from the wind, and also with quite a good view. We then walked down to this village where we posted some maps home and walked up this very steep hill. From here we came across a farm shop which was overflowing with food, so we decided to stock up for the next 3 days. This shop was also very cheap as 3 days food for the 2 of us came to £11.40 not bad, (that includes the fudge cake). We then walked on to our planned campsite which turned out to be closed so we did a few extra km to another site. This is the worst campsite I have ever been to it was near vertical with a cliff face at the bottom, it was also overgrown infested with midges and the toilets were a trek down the road. We arrived at this site at about 8pm. We have nearly caught up the km we lost when we got lost, we should be back to our schedule in the next couple of days.

Day 5 : Tuesday 30th June 98
We set off half a day behind but managed to catch up all the distance and arrive in Malham, (our scheduled place for that day) at 8pm. We then set up camp and cooked dinner in this nice campsite. After all that we washed up and walked into Malham village where we phoned home to find out the England v Argentina score. After walking around malham for a little while we went back to camp and went to bed.

Day 6 : Wednesday 1st July 98
We set off from campsite, and only about 10 mins down the road we could see Malham Cove in the distance. When we arrived at the cove we walked up loads of stairs to the top where there is a nice limestone pavement. At the top we stopped to look around, take photos and take in the view. After we left the top of the cove and started walking down to Malham Tarn we met up with 2 blokes (a father (Peter) and son (Andrew), who were walking the whole length of the P.W. but were using B+B's all the way, they planned to finish a day before us. We carried on walking with them all the way to Horton-in-Ribblesdale via Pen-Y-Ghent (a steep scramble). We went to Pen-y-Ghent cafe where we had dinner and bought some supplies. We then went to our camp site (just down the road) put up our tent and went to bed in the middle of a load of kids on their D of E playing football.

Day 7 : Thursday 2nd July 98
From our campsite in Horton-in-Ribblesdale we walked up a track and came across Calf Holes (cave) and saw a dead sheep who had fallen into the cave. The route from here was boring, it was mainly flat and it was just following a track. We stopped for lunch and watched paragliders jumping off hilltops. After lunch we walked into Hawes and on to our planned campsite in Hawes, we found out our map was out of date and didn't admit Tents. This wasn't a problem we walked to another campsite just down the road and booked in. We then walked into Hawes to find the youth hostel where we booked 2 beds for Friday night and also meals. After that we walked around Hawes and then went to bed.

Day 8 : Friday 3rd July 98 - REST DAY
Today I got up early and walked to Cotter Force, while Si stayed in bed. When I got back about 10:30am Si was up and sorting out stuff. We then cooked breakfast, washed clothes and dried them in the spin dryer, provided by the campsite. Once they were almost dry we packed our bags and did the short walk to Hawes Youth Hostel and left our stuff there. We then had no stuff to carry so we walked to Hardrow Force (Britain's highest surface waterfall (96ft)). When we arrived I swam about in the plunge pool at the bottom while Si paddled (he was some what warmer). We then walked to the top of the waterfall and along to a shop where we bought lunch. When we got back to the Youth Hostel we had a shower and had dinner. The Brazil v Denmark match was on so we watched that and then went to bed.

Day 9 : Saturday 4th July 98
Had a fried breakfast at the Youth Hostel and then left at 8:45am. Walked back through Hardrow and then up into the clouds. Here 2 fell runners passed us these were the first of hundreds who were to pass us as they were on the Great Shunner shuffle. This is a 29 mile race over the hills (one of them being Great Shunner) which you can either walk or run. Today was baking hot and we stopped at the first opportunity (Twaite) for ice cream. We then carried on uphill to Keld where we got some water for tonight. It was now just a short walk untill we arrived at a nice place up in the hills to camp, by a river and unfortunately there were lots of thistles. We cooked breakfast on a bridge, washed up e.t.c. and went to bed.

Day 10 : Sunday 5th July 98
Got up at 7am after a very windy night did the usual stuff of getting ready and left at 8:30am. Walked across some heather up to the top of some very windy hills. Here we found a sheltered space and had lunch at 12:45pm. After lunch we walked downhill to a nature reserve by a reservoir, we met 2 other people walking the whole way but were again using B+B's or Youth Hostels. We are so far the only people we have come across that are camping and walking the whole lot. Our next stop after this was a very large camping and caravanning site in Middleton-in-Teesdale. After putting up the tent we had a very long free shower. All the shops were shut because it was a Sunday so we will get food tomorrow before we set off.

Day 11 : Monday 6th July 98
We woke up at 7am to a campsite full of midges. Had breakfast and packed up quickly so that we weren't eaten alive by the midges. We walked to the co-op to buy food. After this we followed the River Tees up towards Low Force, again there were loads of midges. Stopped to take photos and carried on up to High force, the biggest (volume) waterfall in Britain (pictured). Again we took photos and then walked up into upper Teesdale. Here we walked through a very unsafe area because 1) there were open mine shafts 2) on our left was a MOD firing range 3) on our right was a blasting quarry. After encountering this danger area we walked along a difficult footpath as it was covered in large boulders. This bought us out at Cauldron Snout, which then meant a near vertical climb to get to the top of this outstanding waterfall. After passing the reservoir that feeds Cauldron Snout we came to High Cup Nick. Here we got talking to a local bloke who was telling us about a mountain rescue hut on Cross Fell which we could sleep in. We then pitched our tent in front of a cliff face overlooking High Cup Nick (pictured).

Day 12 : Tuesday 7th July 98
Got up to a very cold morning at 7am. After doing the usual stuff in the morning we headed down to Dufton along a very steep hill. At Dufton we posted more maps back home and also made some phone calls. We then left Dufton and climbed up again, when at the top we sat down and had lunch with this other bloke and his dog (Derek and Jake) he was also walking the whole length of the P.W. After lunch we headed upwards onto Cross Fell (the highest point on the P.W.) Once on cross fell we started looking for the mountain rescue hut we had been told about, we located this on the map and walked to it ( it turned out to be just off the top of Cross Fell). Funnily enough this hut was called Greg's hut, we were going to sleep in this but after further investigation our tents looked more comfortable and warmer. We pitched our tent just outside the mountain rescue hut and stayed there for the night.

Day 13 : Wednesday 8th July 98
Today was somewhat an easier day we had a lay in (well 30 mins) not getting up untill 7:31. We then did the short walk down the road to Garrigill where we again sent a map home. At Garrigill we saw a signpost saying Alston 3 3/4 miles, as this was our next scheduled camp we were very pleased. We then set off hoping to arrive in Alston by lunch - which we did. When we arrived in Alston we met up with Derek and Jake and also Peter and Andrew at the vintage railway station. After talking about previous days walking we went round to our campsite and pitched our tent. We then got all our dirty clothes and took them round to Alston Youth Hostel where we washed them and hung them up in the drying room. We had booked to stay in Alston Y.H. for Thursday night. We had a very early night as we went to bed at about 8:35pm as we could find nothing better to do.

Day 14 : Thursday 9th July 98 - REST DAY
This was the most boring day in the whole of the P.W. as we had nothing to do. We got up at 8:30am cooked breakfast and then packed our bags so we could take them to the Youth Hostel before it shut at 10:00am. We didn't do any walking this day we just lazed around and did nothing until 4pm when we went to the co-op in Alston and bought all our supplies. At 5pm when the hostel reopened we went there and had a very long nice shower. We then had dinner and started packing our bags for the next day by this time it was 7:30pm. Again we had quite an early night.

Day 15 : Friday 10th July 98
Got up and had Youth hostel breakfast which was served at 8am. We then had to do our own washing up so didn't leave hostel until 9am. We then followed a disused railway line which was nice and it was also flat, which made a change. When we got to a very big old viaduct (Pictured) we climbed up to the top and had lunch, this was 12:45pm. After lunch we carried on following the P.W. until we got to our planned campsite it was only 2pm so we carried on walking a bit further to Greenhead. Here we went to the Youth Hostel where we got water. We then walked up into the hills to find somewhere to camp. At this point we were quite pleased as we were ahead of ourselves and we had pitched our tent and it was only 6:30pm.

Day 16 : Saturday 11th July 98
After breakfast we walked around the corner and rejoined the P.W. which was going along Hadrian's Wall. The P.W. follows Hadrian's Wall for ages and this turned out to be a bit boring in the end. We were relieved when we left Hadrian's Wall and started walking up towards a forest. Once in the forest we looked for a good place to camp and pitched our tent, there were quite a few midges around. After cooking dinner we walked down to Stonehaught, a little village(2km away) . At Stonehaught we washed our dishes, got some water and phoned home. We then walked back to camp and went to bed.

Day 17 : Sunday 12th July 98
We woke to a very wet and windy morning. So when we got out the tent we were being attacked by the weather and the midges. As we started walking the rain got worse. By the time it was lunch, the rain still hadn't stopped, so luckily we were able to go into Bellingham Youth Hostels drying room to eat our lunch. At 2pm the rain stopped but unfortunately 10mins later it started again, it was lighter rain though. Further on as we were walking down the track towards Kielder Forest we came to a farmhouse just before our planned campsite. Here we stopped for water, they invited us in but at first we declined the offer as we were soaked from the previous downpour. They soon convinced us that they could easily wash the floor so we went in and had chicken soup. They also offered to let us watch the world cup but as this was 2hours away we couldn't stay as we didn't have time. After leaving these very friendly people we headed off towards Kielder Forest. We managed to find a nice place to camp in the middle of Kielder Forest.

Day 18 : Monday 13th July 98
Again we woke up to loads of midges. After cooking breakfast we walked on to Byrness where we washed up in the public toilets. At Byrness we phoned Kirk Yetholm Youth Hostel to book us a bed for when we arrived. As we walked out of Byrness up onto the hills through the forest it became very windy. We soon reached windy Gayle which lived up to its name as there was very strong winds. As the weather was so bad we decided to do the extra distance and make it to the mountain rescue hut. When we left the summit of Windy Gayle it started to rain and then the rain turned to hail, this hurt as there was also strong wind. We eventually made it to the mountain rescue hut, this had nice benches in it which we slept on.. we are now quite ahead of ourselves and only 7miles to go until Kirk Yetholm.

Day 19 : Tuesday 14th July 98
Woke up at 8:30am after a long lie in. We then signed the log book in the hut, packed our stuff and set off on the final leg of the P.W. From the hut it was short uphill section the The Schill and then finally downhill all the way to Kirk Yetholm. Finally Kirk Yetholm was in sight and it was long until we arrived in the Border Hotel (the official finish) for our free complimentary 1/2 pint (for walking the whole length of the P.W.). We were only walking for 2hours today. Bob Penman arrived at 7pm after long the journey up from Essex. We also met up with Derek + Jake and also Peter and Andrew and went for a well deserved drink in the Border Hotel.

Day 20 : Wednesday 15th July 98
In the morning all the P.W, walkers got up at 6:50am and went down to cook breakfast. Once this was done Bob (our lift home ) kindly gave some people a lift to Kelso where they could get trains e.t.c. home. We now had a very long, boring journey ahead of us, home.

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