Pennine Way 2013

My Golden Jubilee Walk - The Prologue

“Expertise comes from doing something for a long time.”

I heard Helena Kennedy say that on Radio 4 just after I’d finished the Pennine Way.
Well, I’ve been hiking for a long time.

I started young. Dad took me out at weekends on entertaining ambles.

Hiking as a young Scout, I had to push myself to keep up, but soon I was outstripping my peers and challenging my elders. I grew stronger and more ambitious.

My experience of the Pennine Way began in 1963. Access to the Way wasn’t fully authorised at the time, but people had been walking the route for years. A Ramblers’ Association leaflet costing 6d (2.5p) gave instructions for pencilling its line onto Ordnance Survey maps. With immense optimism and unwarranted self-belief, Neil and John and I set out from Edale on 25th August, arriving after 13 days in Kirk Yetholm.

In April 2013 I did it again. For sixteen days I walked across wild and windy uplands, staying in small towns and villages with neither a Tesco nor a fast-food wrapper in sight. I chatted with all sorts of people in B&Bs, pubs, cafes and hostels and listened to the birds calling across vast wet moors where there’s no sign of another human for miles and miles. I’m still counting my blessings.

My Trip Report starts on the next page. After that there’s an Appendix with a few facts and figures, and finally there’s a section headed “Reflection” for thoughts that didn’t readily fit elsewhere.

A neighbour saw an early draft of the Trip Report. He was glad he’d read it: it helped him realise he didn’t want to do the walk. His camp will always be more populated than mine.

The Pennine Way has been my choice, and I’ve loved walking it. I don’t suppose I’ll do it again, but it’s nice to think that right now, if I wanted to, I could. 

Friends gave me a T-shirt (above) that sums it up but doesn’t say it all. For my recollections and reflections, read on.

Pete Stott
Cutthorpe, July 2013

Next Page >>