It is 80 years this year since Alfred Wainwright set out on his 211 miles long distance circular walk from Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. The route took him north to Hadrian’s Wall before returning southwards over the Pennines and back into Settle. This journey, in 1938, was Wainwright’s means of escape, at least for a short while, from the fear and oppression gripping the nation on the eve of World War II.
However, ‘A Pennine Journey – The Story of a Long Walk in 1938’ was not published until 1986.
By this time, the quiet country lanes that Wainwright walked were no longer the idyllic quiet places of old and it was not possible to follow his route on foot, but the book gave an insight into the places that Wainwright visited during this long distance walk.
In late 1991, David and Heather Pitt were contemplating what was to be their next long distance footpath. David had become an enthusiast of long distance footpath walking. As David had recently read, and been fascinated by A Pennine Journey, this seemed to be the logical basis for their first ‘marathon’.
With support from friends and other like-minded people a new route was devised to link up the villages and places mentioned in Wainwright’s original book and by 2010 the route was 247 miles in length.
The new guide was now simply called “A Pennine Journey.” The book divides the walk into 18 daily stages of varying length and offers a choice of possibilities. It can be undertaken as one continuous walk or split at Housesteads on Hadrian’s Wall into two stages of roughly 120 miles
The Pennine Journey Supporters’ Club is recognised by the relevant highway authorities as being the ‘Responsible Organisation’ for ‘A Pennine Journey’ long-distance footpath. One of the requirements before agreeing to the route being waymarked was to establish some kind of monitoring/reporting arrangement and, as a result, an annual monitoring of the route takes place in early Spring.
In celebration of 80th anniversary of ‘A Pennine Journey,’ walkers are being encouraged to take part in a marathon ‘PJ in a day’ on 29th September. The whole route will be walked in one day, with it being divided into various sections.
Andy and I will be walking part of the stage from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head. This section will take in the Water Cut – one of the Eden Benchmarks, a series of ten contemporary stone sculptures located at intervals along the length of the river Eden created to celebrate the Millenium.