Monday, 15 August 2011

Pennine Way - dilemma...what to do for the last leg. One day or two?

If you are considering walking the Pennine Way, one of the decisions that you'll have to make is whether or not to walk the final leg in one day or two. When I worked out my schedule, it took me from Bellingham to Byrness and I had accommodation booked at Forest View walkers accommodation.

Due to the lack of accommodation between there and Kirk Yetholm, walkers are then faced with a final leg of around 30 miles. There is of course the option of doing it in one day and lots of people do so I'm told but that was never an option for me.

The other option is to break the journey and get collected half way by either Joyce who will take you back to Forest View for an evening meal and then bring you back to where you left off the next day ready to complete your journey...or arrange to stay at the Farmhouse at Yetholm Mill in Kirk Yetholm in which case you turn left at Clennell Street after Windy Gyle and walk down to be met by Marilyn at the bottom of the track.

I chose the second option and what a fantastic choice it was. The walk down from Clennell Street was easy and took me 51 minutes. I had called Marilyn from the ridge and told her to expect me in an hour. It was actually Roy who came to collect me and it was great to see him after three weeks apart. It's just a 10 minute drive to the B&B and a lovely room complete with en suite Jacuzzi bathroom which was very welcome after 250 miles. My boots were whisked away to the boiler room to dry out and Marilyn's husband Jon said that if he had known how muddy my waterproof trousers were, he would have washed them for me. Now that is surely above and beyond the call of duty!! A hot bath and freshen up later and Jon served us a beautiful meal with wine in their lovely dining room as I told Roy all about my walk so far.

Our room for two nights - bliss

I have to admit that I was knackered but very excited to be so near to the end and I slept like a log in a really comfy king sized bed. The next morning we had a huge breakfast to set us up for the day, then picked up the packed lunches that Marilyn had made for us (which were a cut above the usual cheese or ham sandwiches) and she then drove us back to the bottom of the track at Clennell Street where she deposited us ready for the final day. I was refreshed, excited and of course I only had my day pack which meant I was very light on my feet.

The muscles were eased off on the walk back up to the ridge which took about an hour and fifteen minutes at an easy pace and then we walked the final fantastic day together.

At 10 past 5 we were ordering our pints in the Border Arms and later that evening enjoyed a really great meal there to celebrate before spending another night at the Farmhouse.
Another huge breakfast was eaten and then it was off home.

For anyone who isn't quite sure what to do about the last leg - I can heartily recommend doing it the way I did. The luxury of the Farmhouse is just what you need after all that walking and Marilyn and Jon are so welcoming and hospitable that you really feel that you are ending on a high. The guys that I walked with for a couple of days took the other option and walked down at Coquet Valley to meet Joyce and go back to Forest View but I thought that I would feel that it was a long way to walk only to end up back where you started. It's all in your head of course because either way, the walk is much the same length but I'm happy with what I did. You can find details of the Farmhouse here; Farmhouse at Yetholm Mill and if you click on the link to walking holidays you'll find details of their Pennine Way package which is reasonably priced and worth every penny.


  1. What a helpful post. I always mean to write up similar helpful posts but rarely get around to do it...

    I am a Bad Blogger. I *must* do better!

  2. Not at all Alan, we all love your have quite a fan club! I've decided to try and blog about the things that I wish I'd known before I set out on my walk to try and help those that are maybe still in the planning stages. Congratulations on the new arrival by the way. I've got some Highland Park here so I'll have a dram for you seeing as you've probably guzzled all of yours by now.

  3. "guzzled..." !!!

    Savoured... imagined.... remembered... like angels kissing your tongue...