The Pennine Way – 2011

While Amanda travelled Siberia, Toms spent three weeks walking the Pennine Way – a dream for those who love solitary hiking, enjoy bleak hills and wide moorlands, and don’t mind the English weather. The Pennine Way starts in a small village called Edale in Derbyshire County and ends 429 km later in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders region.


You might be surprised to learn that England is a great place for hiking. Thanks to the public rights of way legislation, a wide network of short and long distance trails exists (for details see Ordnance Survey maps). Hikers’ interests are well taken care of by various associations, it is no major problem to find youth hostels, B&Bs, or hotels along the way, and the landscape is rewarding.

The Trailblazer’s Pennine Way guide in combination with a GPS or compass is really all you need for planning and hiking this trail.

It makes sense to book accommodation beforehand – at least for weekends and bottlenecks, such as Keld where the Pennine Way crosses the popular Coast to Coast Walk or the tourist hot-spot of Malham. An up-to-date accommodation directory can be found on the National Trails’ website.

Of the 18 accommodations I had during my walk, there are a few places I want to draw special attention to:

  • With its picturesque location, cosy rooms, and cows grazing outside your window in the morning, Ollerbrook Barn was the perfect place to start the Pennine Way.
  • The East House offered a very warm welcome; it is located in Gayle (Hawes) in a beautiful old house with its private graveyard.
  • The Byrness overwhelmed me with the history of the place, which is ever-present in the building and the beautiful antiques.
  • There are not many options if you want to break the Pennine Way’s final stage (42 km) in two. However, if you decide to make the 3-4 km detour from Windy Gyle, you will be richly rewarded by Ian’s and Eunice’s tea house and B&B in Barrowburn. Because of a planning mistake I stayed there for an extra day, which allowed me to finish my walk on a high note.

Finally, a tip for speakers of American English: in these parts of the world use “lovely” instead of “awesome”.