Wainwright's Pennine Journey

In September 1938 just a year before the outbreak of World War II, Alfred Wainwright made a solitary walk through the Pennines. Always the author, he wrote a book about his experience which he titled 'A Pennine Journey'. The book was not published until 1986 long after his reputation as a guidebook writer of extraordinary talent was established through his pictorial guides to the Lake District. A lot has changed since 1938 and we are fortunate that a team of volunteers from the Wainwright Society led by David Pitt, have laboured long to devise a modern route which as near as possible follows Wainwright's original Pennine journey, so now you can also follow this excellent route.

Prices are per person based on twin share and include all accommodation in twin share rooms on bed & breakfast basis, luggage transfer, information pack including map & guidebook and our emergency contact.

Single rooms are available. We only apply a supplement for single accommodation when there is a direct cost to us and we cap this in line with our ‘Fair pricing’ policy. Solo walkers pay a supplement of £10 per walking day, plus any single room supplement which may be required.

Entire Route

This is our suggested itinerary for comfortably completing the Pennine Journey, splitting the route into 18 stages with a daily mileage mostly between 12 - 17 miles and three days of around 7 - 8 miles. We are always happy to chat about the route and can quote for longer or shorter periods.

Arrive Settle and check in.
Day 1 Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale 7½ miles
Day 2 Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Buckden 12½ miles
Day 3 Buckden to Gunnerside 17½ miles
Day 4 Gunnerside to Bowes 17½ miles
Day 5 Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale 12½ miles
Day 6 Middleton-in-Teesdale to Westgate 15½ miles
Day 7 Westgate to Blanchland 11 miles
Day 8 Blanchland to Hexham 11½ miles
Day 9 Hexham to Once Brewed 18 miles
Day 10 Once Brewed to Greenhead* 7½ miles
Day 11 Greenhead to Alston 17 miles
Day 12 Alston to Milburn 17 miles
Day 13 Milburn to Appleby 8 miles
Day 14 Appleby to Kirkby Stephen 16 miles
Day 15 Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head 12½ miles
Day 16 Garsdale Head to Sedbergh 13½ miles
Day 17 Sedbergh to Ingleton 17½ miles
Day 18 Ingleton to Settle 14½ miles
Depart Settle
* The short Day 10 allows time to explore nearby Vindolanda in the morning.

Pennine Journey in Two Sections

For those that do not have the time to follow Wainwright's first Pennine Journey in one continuous holiday, we offer the route in two halves. The Eastern half takes you through the Yorkshire Dales via Horton and Swaledale. You will pass England's highest pub before crossing the Tees Valley at High Force and then North Pennines to reach Hexham and beyond to Hadrian's Wall.

Arrive Settle and check in.
Day 1 Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale 7½ miles
Day 2 Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Buckden 12½ miles
Day 3 Buckden to Gunnerside 17½ miles
Day 4 Gunnerside to Bowes 17½ miles
Day 5 Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale 12½ miles
Day 6 Middleton-in-Teesdale to Westgate 15½ miles
Day 7 Westgate to Blanchland 11 miles
Day 8 Blanchland to Hexham 11½ miles
Day 9 Hexham to Once Brewed 18 miles
Depart Once Brewed

The Western half of the Pennine Journey is tougher than the Eastern section due to the accumulated ascent and descent you will gather while taking in the highest point on Hadrian's wall, the highest summit in the Pennines and two of the Yorkshire 'Three Peaks'. This section begins with a walk along Hadrian's Wall before following the South Tyne valley through Alston to Garrigill. A traverse of Cross Fell brings you to Appleby, from where the River Eden leads through Kirkby Stephen to the remarkable limestone scenery of the Mallerstang. Finally, you will climb over Whernside and Ingleborough to end your Pennine Journey in Settle.

Arrive Once Brewed and check in.
Day 1 Once Brewed to Greenhead 7½ miles
Day 2 Greenhead to Alston 17 miles
Day 3 Alston to Milburn 17 miles
Day 4 Milburn to Appleby 8 miles
Day 5 Appleby to Kirkby Stephen 16 miles
Day 6 Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head 12½ miles
Day 7 Garsdale Head to Sedbergh 13½ miles
Day 8 Sedbergh to Ingleton 17½ miles
Day 9 Ingleton to Settle 14½ miles
Depart Settle

Pennine Journey in Three Sections

For those that do not have the time to follow Wainwright's first Pennine Journey in one continuous holiday or even in two halves, we offer the route in three sections of 5 to 7 stages. The first (southeast) section is from Settle to Westgate via Horton, Swaledale, Tan Hill, and Teesdale.

Arrive at Settle and check in.
Day 1 Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale 7½ miles
Day 2 Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Buckden 12½ miles
Day 3 Buckden to Gunnerside 17½ miles
Day 4 Gunnerside to Bowes 17½ miles
Day 5 Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale 12½ miles
Day 6 Middleton-in-Teesdale to Westgate 15½ miles

Depart Westgate

This 7 day northern section begins in Weardale with some delightful riverside walking to the attractive village of Blanchland. Crossing the Tyne at Hexham you will pass several forts and castles associated with Hadrian's Wall before heading south again and tackling Cross Fell to reach the charming market town of Appleby.

Arrive at Westgate and check in.
Day 1 Westgate to Blanchland 11 miles
Day 2 Blanchland to Hexham 11½ miles
Day 3 Hexham to Once Brewed 18 miles
Day 4 Once Brewed to Greenhead* 7½ miles
Day 5 Greenhead to Alston 17 miles
Day 6 Alston to Milburn 17 miles
Day 7 Milburn to Appleby 8 miles
Depart Appleby

On this 5 day section, after passing through the Howgills you enter limestone country where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery and generally dry underfoot conditions associated with this geology. This section of Wainwright's Pennine Journey includes ascents of Whernside and Ingleborough as well as beautiful Dentdale and visits to the towns of Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh and Ingleton.

Arrive at Appleby and check in.
Day 1 Appleby to Kirkby Stephen 16 miles
Day 2 Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head 12½ miles
Day 3 Garsdale Head to Sedbergh 13½ miles
Day 4 Sedbergh to Ingleton 17½ miles
Day 5 Ingleton to Settle 14½ miles
Depart Settle

The price includes:

  • All accommodation in twin/double rooms (with private bathroom where available) in guest houses, inns or hotels
  • All breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • A Wandering Aengus information pack containing all necessary maps, a current guide book, laminated locator maps for each night's accommodation, and our own weather-proof 'info cards' with local information - including locations and opening times of restaurants, cafes, ATMs, supermarkets etc.
  • Our emergency contact number

Not included:

  • Lunches and evening meals (we provide full details of your options)
  • Extra costs incurred through using escape routes or abandonment of the itinerary
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses such as drinks etc.

Our Accommodation:

As keen walkers ourselves we appreciate the importance of the place you put your feet up and rest your head in at the end of each day. We very carefully select our accommodations whether they be a cosy pub, family run guest house, or established town centre hotel. We choose places directly on the route or within easy walking distance of it and if we ever have to transfer you because of limited availability, we will always contact you to discuss this and never just leave you to find out later. We provide comfortable, clean and warm twin or double rooms, with private bathroom wherever available. Single occupancy of rooms is also available for a supplementary cost.

Meals:

Breakfast at your accommodation is included in the holiday price. In most cases your accommodation will serve dinner and will be able to prepare a packed lunch for you. Sometimes this will have to be arranged in advance and we will let you know if this is the case. Alternatively you can use our detailed notes to make your own dining and lunch arrangements using local restaurants, cafes and supermarkets.

SETTLE: Settle is easy to access and is connected to the main rail network via Skipton and Leeds with frequent trains. It is also a terminus on the scenic line running from Carlisle.

WESTGATE: There are frequent buses to/from Westgate via Stanhope from/to Bishop Aukland or Durham.

APPLEBY: Appleby is a stop on the scenic Settle to Carlisle line. There are trains from/to London Euston via Carlisle or from/to London Kings Cross and Manchester via Settle and Leeds. The journey time from London is approximately 5½ hours and from Manchester is 3 hours.

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Pennine Journey map

The 247 mile 'Pennine Journey' traces a circuit from Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, first tracking north over the hills and dales of the eastern side of the Pennines. It then heads west, following Hadrian's Wall over the many undulations of the Great Whin Sill, before heading south again down the western side of England's spine, including in this section, ascents of Cross fell, Whernside and Ingleborough. Only slightly shorter than the Pennine Way and probably tougher, the Pennine Journey is a superb route that deserves to be recognised.