Initial Planning

Pennine Way fingerpost

Pennine Way fingerpost

Until just a few days ago I had no idea where I was going to walk next year – normally by this time of the year I know what I’m going to be doing and I’ve even started planning it and booking it. This year I’ve been busy doing other things in what would normally be a quiet part of the year for me walking wise – the weather is normally pretty dreadful and I tend to do less walking in the autumn – not quite proper winter walking and not pleasant summer walking any more. I’ve been writing a guide book for one thing, which has held my concentration and I’ve focussed on little else for the past seven or eight weeks.

However, last week, the people at Trailblazer Guides asked me to review a couple of their new titles. One of these was the new edition of the Pennine Way and after browsing it for a while and picturing some of the scenery in my head from day walks I’ve done along it, I decided! Next year it’s the Pennine Way for me.

I’ve looked at how much holiday it will take and if I put aside my remaining days for this year, I can probably manage 13 or 14 days leave in one lump, which should give me enough for 17 days walking and 2 days recovery before going back to work.

I’ve decided to walk in May again, but I’ve pushed the date back a week from my usual “last couple of days in April” start date and I aim to begin on the 5th or 6th of May – or thereabouts. That is usually a good time of the year to walk – it’s not too busy – no school holidays or anything – weather is generally quite good – not too warm, not too cold and it gives me something to aim for at the beginning of the walking year; a target to get fit for, which generally sets me up for a fine summer of walking with fit legs beneath me.

I’ll be walking solo again – I did the C2C with Tex Gore this year and although walking as a pair has some great advantages and I really enjoy the crack – I did miss some of the “solitude” time I get when I walk alone. I just hope that I can steel myself to some of the rigours that Pennine walking can throw at you when I’m doing it alone.

I’ll be doing a 17 day schedule, probably including the Bowes alternative as this allows me to take an extra day and have three short days in the middle of the walk, rather than 2 much longer days. I will also be attempting the final 27 mile stage in one go – which will be the longest single day walk I’ve done to date (unless I somehow manage to finish the Lyke Wake between now and then).

There and Back Again

The logistics of getting to the start of a long linear walk and getting home again from the end are often the most complex of all the planning tasks that one must complete for a walk such as this.

Timetables and schedules, bus routes and train stations, possibly a taxi from a lonely depot in the middle of nowehere to a B&B – all make for a fraught and time consuming exercise. Well it would if it wasn’t for a great wife and a good friend!

We live in Cheshire and Edale is about an hours drive away – depending on day of week and traffic etc. The day I start walking also happens to be the only regular day off my wife gets – a Wednesday. She’s kindly agreed to forgo her lie in on that day to drop me at Edale early enough to start walking. That means an 06:00 alarm call and a departure around 07:00 for arrival in Edale between 08:00 and 08:30.

The other end was looking much more difficult – it’s tough to call on a friend and ask for a 400 mile round trip pick up on a Saturday morning. So I asked Tex. He agreed. Job done!

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