Snapshots from the Pennine Way

My sister is nearing the end of her fortnight walking the Pennine Way (see earlier posts here and here) and I have been thinking so much of her as she strides out each day, whilst I sit in the night time of the Southern Hemisphere feeding Alice. The updates from my Dad have been greatly anticipated each day. Both him and my Mum have been supporting Claire enroute, joining her for parts of the walk.


10 July:
Claire & I at top of Great Shunner Fell this morning. Damp but happy.

Dined tonight at the Tan Hill Inn – highest pub in England (1,732 ft). Photo of Tan Hill Inn with emergency arctic tractor used in winter. Had a great night and a lovely meal. Met a most eclectic bunch of people including those doing both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast.

We left Claire in the bunk house while we went down hill to village of Muker to a really nice B&B! – Muker is very close to Keld which is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast so lots of walkers in the cafes, pubs and camp sites.

By the time we arrived after 9am she was off on her way to Middleton in Teesdale (16 miles).

Tan Hill Inn

She’s walking further than the distance between Wellington and Taupo, with an overall ascent bigger than climbing Everest (but obviously without the altitude challenges!). Though New Zealand is magnificently beautiful and has some amazing ‘Great Walks’ they are just that, designated walks within the bounds of National Parks. The one aspect of walking I miss out here is the absence of Public Right’s of Way, which in England stem from the historic right to walk across the land and have remained in place through all the changes to the landscape. Therefore it is possible to walk large distances across the British landscape far away from the main highways. The other aspect of walking in Britain is the history and the public houses (pubs) dotted across the land.

11 July:
Claire and Mum crossing the river Tees at the end of the day. It was a bit damp in the morning but nice by the end of the day. Mum encouraged Claire to do a few extra miles up the river at the end of the day so that the next big day would be easier.


Stopped overnight at YHA Langdon Beck near Forest-in-Teesdale. The upper end of the Tees valley is a wild but wonderful place. Spotted a merlin 5 fence posts away in addition to lots of other moorland birds. Local pub was within walking distance and served great food. Also had 21 cyclists at the YHA. A good night was had by all but we have been eating early and getting to sleep by 10 completely exhausted.

12 July:
Claire walked across the Pennines today from Teesdale in County Durham to Dufton near Appleby-in-Westmoorland (now in Cumbria). This is a fantastic 20 miles which include High Force (highest waterfall in England), Cauldren Snout (see pic) and High Cup Nick.

Cauldren Snout

We parked at a reservoir and met Claire at Cauldren Snout. Wind was gale force with occasional light rain but she decided to continue. Wind eased a little and rest of day was bwilliant! – see pic across village green from Dufton YHA.

Village Green from Dufton YHA

13 July:
19 miles today from Dufton to Alston. First pic from cafe at 1900 ft as mum and I drove across – higher than highest pub!


I walked back to meet Claire at Gregs Hut – a refuge just below the peak of Cross Fell – second pic.
Mum and I also walked back to meet Claire as she arrived in Alston so done 15 miles myself today plus a lot of height. Had really good meal in local pub near YHA and now crashing out just after 10 again.

Gregs Hut, ust below the peak of Cross Fell

14 July:
7 miles up to Greenhead on Hadrian’s Wall. Journey was mainly along a wide valley with lots of fields, stiles, vegetation and frustrating navigation. Claire was rewarded with a fabulous Indian meal in the old market town of Hexham.

15 July:
It was a very misty and damp start – “dreek” as your Mum would say. Claire stepped out from Greenhead while we drove to Housesteads to meet her. All finished by lunchtime so in the afternoon we visited a large active archealogical dig – Vindolanda – which was fantastic.

Vindolanda dig

Went to Hexham in the afternoon for some retail therapy plus a very necessary new pair of boots for me. My old ones gave up the ghost with a large split after walking about 15 miles on Monday.

16 July:
Today we left Hadrian’s Wall and headed north across Northumbria’s moorlands towards the Cheviot hills which separate England from Scotland. Weather was a mix of sunny spells and very heavy showers. Claire got soaked twice while I got caught once while walking to meet her. We had to reach Bellingham (13 miles) but she managed to do 18 which leaves us in a really good position for the last 2 days – 38 miles.


Spent night in lovely B&B in countryside. Awakened at 5.00 am by strong winds. This was view from window. Just hope rain stays away and wind eases.