Report by: Richard and Julie Siddons
Walk Date: 12th to 29th June 2023
This was the third long distance path for us in the North of England, having completed the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast. We were keen to explore the area further and though this was an ideal opportunity. We had not done the Bowes loop previously and visiting the Tees and Hadrian’s Wall again was a treat.
We really enjoyed the route and would certainly recommend it to others. No favourites each part is different. The weather was hot for the first half with only one wet morning. Unfortunately, rain arrived towards the end and the Howgills remained hidden in the mist and drizzle with horizontal rain on Whernside the following day. But the sun returned for the walk over Ingleborough for the final day.
We walked for 18 days consecutively, following the itinerary set out in the Pennine Journey Guidebook. The stage lengths were all ok with non being too strenuous. There is a nice mix of longer and shorter days, which appealed to us.
We mainly navigated using the GPS tracks downloaded from the website and the OS Explorer 1:25000 maps. The guidebook was mainly for reading that night to highlight any points of interest or issues. As is normal with guidebooks things change and it was feeling its age. Banks close, gates change materials, move, or disappear and trees die or are felled. It seemed time for a refresh. We didn’t like the guidebook maps that much as they don’t show the route in the wider context of the landscape. So, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the direction or distances. After saying all that I’d still strongly recommend you get one and read it before setting out on the journey. There’s still a lot of useful information. Way markers were also very variable, from none to adequate. So don’t count on them. Some of the stages are very little walked so even the path is not clear. On reflection I do think that the section from Scar End to Swinhope Head needs revisiting or waymarking. I had good weather, but it was still very difficult with no paths (whatever the guidebook says.) The shooting cabin is now flat other than a couple of metres of chimney. And there is a line of new grouse butts over the path! Really do need a GPS and be competent with a compass.
Good luck everyone.
Richard and Julie Siddons
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