Friday, 17 January 2014

A little bit more about... the Pennine Way (Footpath No. 7) - Part I

As promised here is Part I – The Scottish Border, Northumberland National Park and the North Pennines.

From the village of Kirk Yetholm (and the end of his time on St Cuthberts Way) Big Dave's route sharply ascends Green Humbleton then White Law - two pretty big hills. This first stage of the Pennine Way, across the Cheviot Hills from Kirk Yetholm to Byrness, is 27 miles (43 km) long, with no habitation en route. It is usually tackled in one long day, although there are two refuge huts (or bothies) if he gets stuck in some atrocious weather. 
The path switches between England and Scotland, along a fence which marks the border itself. Notable peaks to be traversed (as in hobbled up and stumbled down) are The Schil, Cairn Hill and Windy Gyle - some serious hills.
From Byrness the route follows the River Rede downstream until it reaches Redesdale at Blakehopeburnhaugh and Cottonshopeburnfoot, two neighbouring hamlets which compete for the longest name in England. 
Then it’s Redesdale Forest, Shitlington Crags and Wark Forest until he reaches Hadrian’s Wall which the route clings to for nearly 11 miles to the village of Greenhead, passing Thirlwall Castle as it does so.
From Greenhead Big Dave will follow the way as it crosses moorland and runs along the South Tyne Valley towards the town of Alston. The trail keeps close to the river before it takes a long ascent to Cross Fell, the Pennine Way’s highest point at 893 m (2,930 ft), and also the highest point that Big Dave will climb during his entire journey
It’s then just a hop, skip and a jump across three other summits, Little Dun Fell, Great Dun Fell and Knock Fell before descending to the village of Dufton for a quick cuppa and a Kit Kat Chunky.  

Then it’s back up High Cup Nick, one of the most photographed places along the whole route (where I'll be whipping out a few charity t-shirts for a few photos... come rain or shine), then a gentle descent along the side valley of the Maize Beck

The path passes three waterfalls, Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force (Middle Earth sounding or what?!) and then descends along the bank of the River Tees to Middleton. After Middleton Big Dave will come to cross the God Bridge, cross more moorland towards the isolated settlement of Sleightholme, and finally to Tan Hill at the northernmost boundary to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Coming soon... The Pennine Way - Part II: The Yorkshire Dales National Park and on and ever on to Hebden Bridge.

Can you spare a few quid in support of the MS Society, Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes?

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