Report by: Liz Pounds
Walk Date: 27th May 2018 to 8th June 2019
‘ this (is) a walk that should be done in comfort and for pleasure or not at all’
It was certainly a great pleasure doing this wonderful walk between May 2018 and June 2019. I had picked up a Pennine Journey leaflet and noticed that the route almost circumnavigated where I live at Allenheads in the North Pennines of Northumberland and so I planned to have a go. Due to family commitments, most of the walk took place on separate days, taking me 26 days rather than walking it as a single walk (approx. 18 days) or divided into two or three stages. Not all the walk took place in consecutive order. I walked eleven days on my own and sixteen with different companions.
As I might be the only person who has done this, I am writing a short report to show how it was done. Every-day was a superb walk. I certainly did the walk in comfort, being fresh and well rested with dry equipment and boots. I was able to enjoy each day of this remarkable and outstanding route to the full.
A Splendid Start! (Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale)
From my home, it is a forty- minute drive to Langwathby station on the Settle – Carlisle Line. On 27th May 2018, my partner Ken and I left the car at Langwathby station and took the scenic railway journey to Settle. We walked in brilliant sunshine through the emerald landscape set with limestone outcrops, just as Wainwright described.
Refreshments were found at the Craven Heifer at Stainforth before a paddle at the delightful stepping- stones. We reached Horton with time to visit the church sketched by Wainwright and catch the evening train to Langwathby followed by a drive home over Hartside with views of sunset over the Lakeland Fells.
Challenging Transport! (Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Buckden)
On May 29th keen for more, I set out on my own with an early start. I parked once more at Langwathby and caught the 6.18 am train to Horton-in Ribblesdale. Surrounded by low cloud and light rain, I followed grassy tracks upwards and carefully navigated around gaping Hull Pot. No other soul was visible as I crossed misty Foxup Moor with the scenery opening up as I dropped down to Littondale.
The long climb up to Horse Head Pass at 1900 ft was steeped in cloud. A fast descent just like Wainwright, brought me to Langstrothdale and a pause to enjoy the quiet beauty of Hubberholme Church. A pot of tea was welcome outside the Buck Inn, Buckden. Thankfully, the small village bus turned up and took me to Grassington. I caught the connecting bus to Skipton station just in time to catch the evening train to Langwathby and home over Hartside Pass.
From ‘B’ to ‘A’. (Buckden to Askrigg)
On September 2nd, I set off on my own and drove south over the hills to Weardale, Teesdale and Barnard castle. I continued over the Stang to Swaledale and the narrow road over to Askrigg in Wenslydale. I parked here and took a friendly pre-arranged taxi (Kettlewell Taxis) back to Buckden. I took my time enjoying the delightful sunny walk as I knew my car was in Askrigg so there was no pressure to catch a bus today.
Striding out, I was soon passing Cray and heading up Stake Moss. I picnicked by a stream and descended to Stallingbusk and the smell of homemade jam! I had a lovely view across Semerwater from the ruined chapel window. My solitude ended here as I joined other visitors for a refreshing paddle in the lake. A final walk down to Bainbridge with the Roman fort ahead. On to Askrigg and the drive home stopping in Reeth to enjoy a delicious ice cream on the village green.
Late Autumn in Askrigg. (Askrigg to Keld)
I set out on my own on a cold clear day. It was November 1st 2018 and I drove to Keld via Middleton in Teesdale and Brough and parked in the farm at the bottom of the village. A Garsdale Taxi met me at the top of Keld village and drove me to Askrigg. I followed the route up and over to Swaledale and along to Gunnerside. The riverside path took me to Ivelet Bridge. A slight detour was taken into Muker for tea and scone by the fire in the small café. Wrapping up well I continued along the valley to Keld and drove home.
A Stunning New Year’s Day
Here, I am leaping forward and doing the more local sections over winter. (Hanging Shaw, Teesdale to Westgate.) Such a beautiful day so I persuaded Ken to give me a lift out to Hanging Shaw. We had parked my car in Westgate.
Enjoying the winter solitude, I walked over the least well-trod part of the Pennine Journey route. I found the lonely standing chimney of the shooting cabin on Black Law and crossed the heathery moor to Swinhopehead and the ski tows silhouetted against the red early evening sky. A long cruise downhill on the road racing the gathering darkness and finally the welcome lights of Westgate and the car drive home.
Up and Down Dale (Westgate to Blanchland)
On January 24th 2019, my friend Jenny joined me so we now had two cars. One was parked in Blanchland and the other in Westgate where we started our walk. Skirting the quarry, we followed the old railway track and lunched beside the isolated house named High Bishop Seat.
Passing through Rookhope we began the pull up Bolt’s Law Incline. A quick detour to Bolt’s Law summit and we were on our way to the lone pine tree and Ramshaw chimney. We arrived in Blanchland as the sun was setting but just in time for well- earned tea and cake at the White Monk tearoom. After collecting the car from Westgate we each made our way home.
Two Abbeys! (Blanchland to Hexham)
Together with Jenny today (January 26th), we left a car in Hexham and drove to the start of the walk close to the ruins of Blanchland Abbey. Walking in wintry sunshine and frost, we passed Pennypie house and crossed the moor to Slaley Forest. It was a magical wood with snowy trees sparkling in the sun.
Following Devil’s Water we had a lunch rest and explored the lead mine ruins at Dukesfield. Through the pastures and delightful valleys of Hexham Shire , we spied Hexham Abbey at last in the Tyne Valley below. We drove back to Blanchland to collect the second car and drove home.
The Wall at Last! (Hexham to Carrawburgh)
Jenny and I were keen to carry on as we were really enjoying the walk. Today, January 28th, we left a car at Carrawburgh and started out from Hexham. Crossing the Tyne, we headed upward to Acomb Village and were rewarded with our first view of the Wall at Planetrees.
Turning west we crossed the North Tyne and enjoyed lunch at the riverside café. We passed the fort at Chesters and reached limestone corner and Carrawburgh Fort. Our efforts were rewarded with beautiful misty views to the Cheviots in the north. We collected the car from Hexham and drove home
Along the Wall (Carrawburgh to Cawfields)
It was January 31st and Jenny and I had parked a car at Cawfield and Carrawburgh. Today it was very atmospheric as mist flowed around us. We could imagine the Roman soldiers marching out of the mist towards us. Patches of snow etched the vallum. Following the Wall, we spotted the first snowdrops at Sewingshields. Housesteads museum supplied us with welcome hot chocolate and spurred us on to Steel Rigg and the end of the walk and our car by the small lake at Cawfields.
The end of the Wall and turning south (Cawfields to Lambley)
On February 7th, Jenny and I left a car at Lambley and drove to the start at Cawfields. Lovely early Spring weather lit up the ruins of Great Chesters as we found the strong room and altar. Up and down we went through the Nine Nicks of Thirlwall and explored the ruins at Thirlwall Castle. Disappointed at the lack of refreshments in Greenhead , we trudged across the tussocks of Blenkinsopp Common and arrived on the Lambley road just as the evening light was drawing in. We drove back to Cawfields to collect the other car and arrived home in the dark.
Along the railway track (Lambley to Alston)
On February 14th, Jenny and I left a car in Alston and drove to the start in Lambley. We spotted the amazing Lambley viaduct bridging the South Tyne Valley. Setting a spritely pace, we followed the disused track for several miles spotting a hedgehog amongst the leaves. We had time to explore Whitley Castle Roman Fort with its impressive ditches before heading through this beautiful, quiet valley to arrive in Alston and a welcome café. We collected the car from Lambley and headed home.
A Garrigill Circle (Alston to Garrigill and back)
The weather was poor today, February 21st. We wanted to press on, but we wanted to wait for good weather for Cross Fell so planned a circular walk to Garrigill and back. We set out along the riverside pastures by the South Tyne and had lunch on the village green in Garrigill. The pub was closed but we visited an artist’s gallery before circling back to Alston on the opposite side of the river, passing through Leadgate where AW had decided to abandon the route over Cross Fell due to terrible weather.
Superb Summit! (Garrigill to Kirkland)
February 25th was perfect weather, so we left one car at each end. We set off from Garrigill in freezing snow, passing shake holes and mine workings to arrive at the shelter of Gregg’s Hut. Up to the summit at 3000 feet with superb views in all directions in the winter sun and snow. Ice formations covered the cairns. A long swift decent to Kirkland with views across the Vale of Eden, highlighting the Lakeland summits in evening sunlight. After collecting the car from Garrigill we drove home.
Filling in the Gaps (Bowes to Blackton Reservoir)
On March 3rd, Ken and I using two cars, parked one at the reservoir and one at Bowes. We spotted Dotherboys Hall. The walk took us over rough remote moor with unexploded ordnance signs! After crossing Deepdale Beck, we picnicked beside Goldborough Hill. Many birds were seen in this area. We stopped to watch a murmur of starlings swooping through the sky, silhouetted in the sunset. We reached the car at East Friar House, collected the other car and drove home.
Reservoirs! (Blackton Reservoir to Middleton in Teesdale)
On March 15th I was dropped off at Blackton Reservoir having left my car in Middleton. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed watching the birds near the reservoirs and visiting the meadow at Hannah’s Place. The grassy hillside paths with lambs playing were a delight. I saw the strange circular tree covered burial ground of Kirkcarrion before descending into Middleton and tea at the Teespot café.
Along the Eden Plain (Kirkland to Appleby)
It was March 21st and Jenny and I left a car in Appleby and started from Kirkland in frosty weather. We walked through woods and meadows to Milburn with its wide green, then on through Knock and Dufton, visiting the peaceful church of St Cuthbert. More pleasant woods and becks followed before arriving at Appleby station where our car was parked. We collected the other car from Kirkland and drove over Hartside home.
Ablaze with flowers! (Middleton in Teesdale to Hanging Shaw)
I parked my car at the layby at Forest in Teesdale on April 5th. I took my bike out of the car, cycled to Middleton and padlocked it outside the Tourist Information Centre. After meeting up with two friends we set out on a truly stunning walk along the Tees with a profusion of flowers, some quite rare (globe flowers) and spotted fossils, saw wonderful waterfalls, bridges and the rare juniper forest.
We crossed the river at Saur Hill bridge and followed the road a short distance to my car. We drove to Bowlees for tea and cake then I dropped them off in Middleton and retrieved my bike before heading home.
Bogs and Bridges (Tan Hill to Bowes)
A solo walk on April 9th. I parked my car in Bowes where I had booked a taxi (Ace Taxis from Barnard Castle) and was driven to Tan Hill. I enjoyed a lovely sunny day as I crossed the boggy heather moor and onto farmland near Sleightholme Beck. I did a detour to see God’s Bridge and explored the remains of the Roman fort and Bowes Castle before driving home.
Bluebells! (Appleby to Great Musgrave)
I drove on May2nd, on my own, to Musgrove bridge. I had booked a taxi to meet me and drive me to the start of today’s walk in Appleby. The fields and woods along the River Eden were a carpet of blue and white. Bluebells and wild garlic! I passed through several delightful villages before arriving in Little Musgrove and the bridge where I left my car and drove home.
Fields and Farmland (Great Musgrove to Kirby Stephen)
Today, May 5th, I drove on my own to Kirby Stephen. I took my bike out of the car and cycled to Musgrove Bridge where I padlocked it to railings. The route took me passed St, Theobald’s church to Church Brough and Winton and I passed many gypsy caravans as I walked back into Kirby Stephen. I drove to retrieve my bike from Musgrove Bridge and visited Brough castle on the way home.
A Couple of Castles (Kirby Stephen to the Moorcock Inn)
On May 21st I drove on my own to Kirby Stephen station. Leaving my car there, I walked back to see part of the poetry path and then through meadows to the ruined Lammeside Castle. The meadows surrounding the ancient walls of Pendragon Castle were ablaze with colourful flowers. The route crossed the River Eden and climbed to Howe Top along the High Way.
As I lay in the grass cooling my feet in Gill Back, a surprised hare brushed against me. I walked down to the isolated Moor Cock Inn, glad to find it open and offering tea. A short walk took me to Garsdale station. I caught the train for the short journey back to Kirby Stephen with views of my lovely walk. I drove home from Kirby Stephen station.
Filling in the gap – Biking at Keld. (Keld to TanHill)
On June 1st, Ken and I drove to Tan Hill with our bikes. We left the two bikes padlocked at Tan Hill and parked in Keld at the farm at the bottom of the village. We walked by East Gill Force and over Black Moor and Lad Gill in light rain. Across the open moorland was the welcome sight of Tan Hill pub. We had lunch by the pub fire then taking our bikes we had an exhilarating ride down the valley to Keld. We loaded our bikes and drove home.
Not for the faint-hearted! (Moorcock Inn to Sedbergh)
A challenging days’ walk with Jenny. We parked one car in Sedbergh and parked the second car near the Moorcock Pub.After crossing the Settle -Carlisle line we tramped across rough wet moorland over Baugh Fell and along Rawthey Gill to Uldale House. We arrived near Sally Beck for a paddle and lunch, waving to the horse drawn caravans on their way to Appleby Horse Fair. We followed the west side of the river Rawthey, seeing the spectacular Cautley Spout waterfall. Eventually we came to Sedbergh and drove back to the Moorcock for refreshments and to collect the second car before driving home.
Wild Whernside (Sedbergh to Ingleton) June 6th.
A final solo expedition to finish the Pennine Journey. I drove on my own to Langwathby and travelled on the Settle Carlisle Line to Garsdale. A taxi took me to Sedbergh where I followed the delightful walk along the River Dee and detoured to the village of Dent where AW spent his last night. I walked on to Mill Bridge and walked up onto the wild moorland with patches of mist drifting around. I passed the remote Whernside tarns at 2000ft and soon climbed to the top of Whernside. Following the path down to Ellerbeck, I sheltered from hailstones in a barn. I crossed Scales Moor with its fine limestone outcrops to Twisleton End and arrived in Ingleton.
Incredible Ingleborough (Ingleton to Austwick) June 7th.
I spent the previous night at a Bed and Breakfast in Ingleton. Leaving early, I set off on a well- defined walled track passing limestone scars and numerous shake holes and pot- holes. I climbed the final rocky outcrop to the summit. My descent was over Little Ingleborough to see the massive pot of Gaping Gill. I followed the path by Clapham Beck stopping for refreshment at Ingleborough Cave. A walled track took me to Thwaite lane and into Austwick. By now the light rain had become torrential so I found my comfortable accommodation for the night.
Wainwright Weather!!! The final push! (Austwick to Settle)
I spent the night at Austwick and was joined by Ken who had travelled out by train and taxi from Settle. June 8th 2019 Ken was to accompany me on the final section as he had been with me on the first section. However, torrential rain all day was a complete contrast to the sunshine a year ago. We crossed the flooding Flascoe Bridge to Feizor and on into Settle. Shelter was found in a café before catching the train back to Langwathby and the final drive home. I had finished the Pennine Journey in typical Wainwright Pennine Journey weather!!
Trip report by Liz Pounds
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