Britain’s first National Trail, the Pennine Way stretches from Edale, in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm, just north of the Scottish border, some 268 miles (431 km) later. Following the Pennines, this hilly trail passes through the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park. Classed as a difficult walk; the total elevation gain on the trail is over 32 000 ft and the first couple of days on the trail are challenging; immediately from leaving Edale there is Jacob’s Ladder, a series of stone steps leading up to Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District. Over the whole route you will climb over 249 stiles, cross 204 bridges and open and close 287 gates, but with 458 signs on the trail you shouldn’t find it hard to find the way.
The Pennine Way takes you through a quiet and remote part of the country and it can feel isolated at times, despite the fact that some 15,000 long distance walkers and 250,000 day walkers use the trail every year. The terrain on the trail is diverse; in some places, like Malham Cove, the path is flat and firm, in others it is narrow and uneven. In many places expect the trail to be wet and boggy underfoot. You will get wet feet at times, even if the weather is fair!
The summer is the best time, weather wise, to walk the trail; it is the warmest and driest season and the days are long. This part of the UK is not known for its good weather however and some areas of the trail receive 2.5 metres of rainfall a year, so expect wet weather and cold winds, even in the summer, and pack accordingly. The winter is the coldest time and there is frequently snow on the peaks.
Most walkers do a thru hike in around 16 to 19 days and there is accommodation along the whole trail, hotels, B&Bs, hostels and campsites. Wild camping, while technically not allowed in England, is fairly easy on this trail; there are huge sections on high ground where there are many inconspicuous places to pitch a small tent for a night. Resupplying along the trail is possible although may be a little sporadic at times, so always carry some extra food and water in case of emergencies. Dogs are allowed on the trail although must be kept on a lead.