This eight-day itinerary explores the striking limestone landscapes of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales before climbing up onto the lonely massif of Cross Fell, where the Lakeland Fells are clearly visible across the Eden Valley. The spectacular finale follows the headwaters of the River Tees to the head of the breath-taking High Cup Nick before descending along the lip of this steep-sided glacial canyon and finishing in the historic market town of Appleby.
Completing the entire 435km/268 mile length of the Pennine Way is a major challenge. For committed and adventurous hikers, it’s an iconic journey that will require a minimum of 16 hard days on the trail. So we’ve put together a condensed itinerary which takes in many of the highlights in a 120 km/74-mile route that can be comfortably managed in a week.
Make no mistake, this is still a demanding expedition that requires fitness and determination to complete, but the rewards are some of the most spectacular views and stunning landscapes the Great North of England has to offer.
Starting in the lively market town of Skipton, our ‘highlights’ itinerary threads its way through the Yorkshire Dales and visits the limestone landscapes of Malham Cove, summits one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks and stops over for an unforgettable night at Britain’s highest pub. The route continues over the lonely moorlands on Yorkshire’s wild border with County Durham, before descending into the Tees Valley, where it follows the river past a series of thundering waterfalls, before climbing to a stunning finale on the edge of a breath-taking canyon high above the Eden Valley.
Geology / History
High Hills and Moorland
This itinerary is offered by Yorkshire-based Large Outdoors, which specialises in organising Outdoor Adventure weekend tours and holidays with a focus on accessible, social walking. Large Outdoors can book every aspect of this itinerary for guests or just simply supply information packs and navigational information. All trips include maps and their own route guide along with a support telephone number. Large Outdoors can also take care of: luggage transfer, restaurant reservations, transfers, and travel.
This itinerary breaks down the 8-day journey into daily sections of between 7 and 27km/4.5 and 17 miles. The shorter days allow for transfers in and out on the first and last days.
Owing to the nature of the terrain and limited accommodation en route, only minimal options for flexing the itinerary exist – although back-packers will benefit from a little more flexibility.
Accommodation on this section of the Pennine Way can vary from welcoming village inns like the Lister Arms at Malham to remote yet lively upland pubs such as the iconic Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain (1732ft/528m above sea level). If the snow starts to fall, your stay may be longer than anticipated…!
While there is a good choice of accommodation at each end of this itinerary in Skipton and Appleby, accommodation en route is limited and it’s wise to book ahead well in advance. The limestone sections are usually well-drained, but the sections further north could be water-logged in winter and early spring, so walking boots and a full set of waterproof clothing is recommended. The route remains open all year, but snow and ice can make some sections quite challenging during the winter months (November – March) – particularly the Malham, Pen-y-ghent, and High Cup Nick sections. The longest days (15 mi and 16mi) may present a challenge to complete in daylight during these months
They take beer very seriously in these parts and walkers will find a bewildering range of local beers to slake their thirst, ranging from light refreshing pale or golden ales like Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery’s Pennine Ambler – official beer of the Pennine Way – to dark and complex brews like Wensleydale Brewery’s Black Dub that are often strong in alcohol.
The best food options can be found in the pubs and inns, where hearty pies, warming stews, and local lamb feature heavily on the menu.
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
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