In September 1938, Alfred Wainwright set out on a solitary walk of 211 miles through the Pennines. The following year he wrote an account of his journey and this was finally published in 1986 as A Pennine Journey: The Story of a Long Walk in 1938. In 1998 David and Heather Pitt completed their own version of AW’s Pennine Journey and this led to the publication of A Pennine Journey guidebook in 2010. The guidebook has recreated AW’s 1938 walk using public rights of way and trails with a Wainwright connection, not the roads that AW himself used – we like to think that this modernised version of A Pennine Journey might have been chosen by AW himself if he was creating the route in modern times.
The guidebook divides the walk into 18 daily stages of varying length and offers a choice of possibilities. It can be undertaken as one continuous walk, split at Housesteads on Hadrian’s Wall into two stages of roughly 120 miles or divided into three stages – eastern, northern and western – of around 80 miles.
Starting in the market town of Settle in North Yorkshire the route heads up the eastern side of the Pennines through the delightful Yorkshire Dales. It takes in stretches of County Durham before arriving at Hadrian’s Wall. The Wall is followed for 21 miles before heading down the western side of the Pennines. Travelling down the Eden Valley and then skirting the Howgill Fells it arrives back in Settle.
Perhaps not surprisingly over half the Pennine Journey is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This was established in 1988 and it is the second largest of 40 AONBs within England and Wales.
The varied geology of the area, much in evidence on the walk, has been recognised by it becoming Britain’s first European Geopark and it was a founding member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network.
This website is maintained by volunteer members of the Pennine Journey Supporters Club and is intended to further promote the Pennine Journey walk and, hopefully, will offer all of the information you will need to plan your Pennine Journey adventure!