It seems like almost no time at all since I was reviewing the 2nd Edition of this guide book – but looking back at my posting, it was over 18 months ago. I liked that edition of the guide book so much I walked the route; something I had been interested in for several years, but the book spurred me on to actually do it.
I walked the Pennine Way in May 2010 and the guide book was superb – it will be hard to improve on that with this edition of the book. You can find it on the Trailblazer site here: Pennine Way 4th Ed
There doesn’t seem to be a working link on Amazon yet, but that could be because it’s not due for release until 26th May. Which seems a little late to catch the bulk of 2011 Pennine walkers; but should be just in time for the late summer walkers.
The book looks almost identical to the previous edition and is the same weight at 330g and has the same number of pages (270) and the same number of hand-drawn maps (135), it’s even the same list price (£11.99). It does have a new author though. The very first edition of the book was written by Edward De La Billiere and Keith Carter – the second edition was heavily re-written and completely re-walked by Chris Scott (who also did the Coast to Coast re-write) and this latest incarnation has had the same treatment from Jim Manthorpe.
I can see lots of minor updates, some tweaks of previous information boxes and a little more depth in one or two areas, but as the book is the same size it’s not been heavily added to since the previous edition. One example of the update is the pub in Garrigill – the George and Dragon has had something of a rollercoaster history in the past couple of years and in the second edition it was listed as open and serving – in this third edition it is not mentioned at all – as it was closed for much of last year. Unfortunately – for the printed guide – the pub is open again and doing food and drink. This is where the website updates will be invaluable.
The accommodation options for the final day (Byrness to Kirk Yetholm) have been updated, now that Uswayford is not an option, but new services are available and these are detailed as you would expect. So there is still no imperative to walk the monster final day – although I must admit to having a great time doing it – knowing how hard it was going to be and feeling like I’d really beaten everything the Pennine Way could throw at me.
GPS waypoints are included again of course and downloadable from the Trailblazer website – these have been updated from the last edition, but are probably my only source of complaint in this review. There are 255 waypoints in total and when you load them into a mapping application like Memory Map you can see some huge inconsistencies in their coverage. Some sections have 10 waypoints per mile and others have none for several miles – and the terrain being covered doesn’t account for this discrepancy. There are only 7 waypoints for the first day – one of the most tricky days for navigation, especially if misty. Yet there are 20 between Dufton and Great Dunn Fell, which is probably about right.
Still on the waypoints – many of them are very inaccurate, at least when plotted on my maps using Memory Map – many are over 100 yards from the path. I would recommend anyone planning on using a GPS with these waypoints checks them carefully before using them.
That said, this edition of the guide has not changed my original opinion – this is still the best guide book for the walk and the only one you need. If you have the second edition, I’m not sure there’s much reason to buy this third edition, even if you’re planning to walk it again so soon, but if you’re thinking of walking the path this year – wait a couple of weeks and get the new edition when it comes out.