The Pennine Way holds a special place in the hearts of every walker in Britain. It's not the longest or the prettiest or the toughest or the most spectacular trail, but amongst those in the know, it is the trail whose completion yields the most pride and inspires the most respect.
At 267 miles, it IS a long walk and much of that distance is over remote, high ground where the weather can be both glorious and awesome within the space of an hour.
Long days of stunning views and blissfully isolated walking over heather, peat hags, limestone pavement or open moorland are broken by frequent descents into some of Britain's prettiest valleys and villages, where real ales and great pub food relieve aching limbs. The Pennine Way has all these features, but what truly sets it apart is the way it combines them all in one long, sinuous snake of a journey up the entire backbone of England.
Opened in 1965 and inspired by Tom Stephenson's experiences on the Appalachian Trail in the U.S., the Pennine Way was the first National Trail in the U.K. It begins at the village of Edale and travels, initially, through the bizarre black peat hags and gritstone outcrops of the Dark Peak, before expertly threading its way through the most picturesque of the historic mill towns strung between Manchester and Leeds. Once clear of urban development a long section of easy and pleasing agricultural land leads to the rugged and spectacular limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales with Malham and Pen-y-Ghent being the highlights of this section.