Hiking the Pennine Way in Winter + Kit List

In summer 2021, I hiked the Pennine Way for a second time, but as soon as I finished I wanted to do it again. But how could I make it more challenging? I know, I’ll do it in winter!

This is how my head works, I finish a trail or a challenge and my head switches into what could I do next mode!

Hiking the Pennine Way in winter grew as an idea. I first asked the ‘Pennine Way Walkers’ Facebook group if anyone had hiked in winter before. I received a mix of people that thought it was too risky and other that said with the right gear/experience go for it! But the reply was that no-one had attempted a winter Pennine Way (or they had only hiked sections not the full trail).

Next I switched to my Instagram @beckythetraveller, my followers were all mostly positive replies. Although, when I posted I’d pretty much already decided I was doing it, but I do like sharing ideas to gain thoughts and give me some accountability.

And that’s how I made the decision to take on the Pennine Way during winter. 

Here I will tell you about the differences between my summer and winter hike, kit differences and considerations during the planning stages that I risk assessed.

If you’re thinking about doing the Pennine Way for the first time, I’d recommend a summer (or spring/autumn) hike for starters, unless you’re a seasoned winter long-distance hiker. Read about my summer Pennine Way hike here.

Do you fancy a challenge? Maybe the Pennine Way could be your next adventure?

Winter hiking the Pennine Way – The Plan

Snowy summit on The Cheviot at beginning of March

Here I’ll share my tips for my winter Pennine Way trip, how I split my journey up. I’ll also include where I stayed each night which includes a mix of camping and accommodation.

You can also see my full kit list, which I carried in my Osprey Ariel 65-litre backpack!

I shared my journey via Instagram @beckythetraveller so you can check those photos and daily posts from the hike.

Firstly, to mention my choice of dates and share the reason that although I finished in March, I’m calling this a winter hike.

In the UK the winter months are December, January and February. December is often a milder wetter month, but very short days and January still has limited daylight hours, which is why I opted for February moving into the first week of March. Although March is technically Spring, I had my coldest days and most snow during this part of my trip. And always, my hike, my rules hehe!

About the Pennine Way

The Pennine Way trail official start is in Edale in the Peak District and it ends in the town of Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. Beginning from one pub, The Nags Head, Edale and ending at another The Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm. At least you know you will have a food, drink, a toilet and a seat when you finish.

The Old Nags Head in Edale, a rainy start!

The total distance of the trail is 268 miles/431 km but this can vary as there are a few different options you can take at certain points on the trail. For example, the Bowes Loop or the High or Low option at the end. The Pennine Way known as the toughest national trail in the UK, this is mainly due to the distance but also the remoteness of the trail.

The Pennine Way trail takes you on a beautiful journey through the backbone of Britain. It starts off in the Peak District then before you know it you’re in the Yorkshire Dales. Next it’s on to the North Pennines and Northumberland National Park then finally a tough section through The Cheviots. With all those National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty there’s plenty of highlights to see on the walk.

A few of my favourites include views from Kinder Scout and Kinder Downfall in the Peak District, Pen y Ghent in the Yorkshire Dales, all the waterfalls in the North Pennines (Low Force, High Force and Cauldron Snout) – I love my waterfalls! Then on to Cross Fell and Gregs Hut, before a beautiful section along Hadrian’s Wall and finally The Cheviot Hills which are a wonderful way to finish to the trail.

Kinder Downfall (in reverse due to the wind)

How long does it take to hike the Pennine Way?

There is no right or wrong answer here, you choose what works for you. The fastest known time (FKT) is 2 days, 10 hours + 4 minutes (by John Kelly) and the longest that I’m aware of is around 32 years, but I’m not sure of who or when they finished!

Many people also break the walk down into sections, based on how much holiday leave they have or how much they want to walk in one go.

If you’re staying in accommodation that does limit you to certain stops where there are places to stay. However, if you’re planning to take a tent to wild camp/stay in campsites along the route this gives you more flexibility in the time you take.

Here’s the average distance you’d walk each day depending on how many days you split the walk over, this does mean you’ll have shorter/longer days. For me, I also had to factor, how long I could walk whilst carrying a big backpack. If you stay in accommodation you’ll be able to carry less kit in a day bag.

  • 20 days = 13 miles/21.5 km per day
  • 16 days = 17 miles/27 km per day
  • 13 days = 21 miles/33 km per day
  • 10 days = 27 miles/43 km per day

My first Pennine Way hike in 2019 took me 16.5 days, the half day was the final 7-mile hike into Kirk Yetholm to arrive at the pub for lunch! My summer hike in 2021 took me 12.5 days (mostly wild camping) and for this winter trip I planned a 15.5 day hike. This meant I’d be hiking between 25-30 km each day which I was happy with.

Planning my Pennine Way trip

My planning for my winter Pennine Way trip took into consideration the fact I wanted to camp, but not every night. I decided I’d mix camping with accommodation to allow things to dry properly if they got wet and not get too cold.

I also looked at how many miles/km I was comfortable hiking each day, I had less daylight hours than the summer and I decided that ideally I didn’t want to hike in the dark. Sunrise on my walk was roughly a 6.45 am and sunset was 5.30 pm (obviously the times tweaked throughout the walk).

For me 25-30 km is a distance I’m comfortable hiking with a larger pack and I felt I could fit within the timescales of the daylight hours! Based on a 7 am start time each day and approximately 5 pm finish so 10 hours hiking each day. And combined with accommodation/wild camping spots this worked for my trip.

Winter weather planning

Snowy whiteout in the Yorkshire Dales

Since I hiked this in winter there were lots of things around the weather than I had to factor into the planning so I thought I’d cover in one sub-heading!

Storms

Firstly, the big weather system that I didn’t factor in but was a massive influence on my start date was the named storms! In quick succession my Friday start date was smashed out of the way by Storm Dudley, Storm Eunice then Storm Franklin. My first 2 days both had relatively high and exposed section so I wanted/needed 2 non-storm window. This meant I pushed my start date from Friday to Tuesday (4 days later).

Cold temperatures

The obvious to plan and prepare for on a winter trip is colder temperatures, I’d done some hiking in winter and colder conditions so most of this planning came down to making sure I had the right kit. (See my kit list below).

Also for camping, I wanted to make sure I was warm at nights, which is why I opted for 4-season camping kit to ensure I slept well and wasn’t awake shivering all night.

Snow

Ooo, the exciting but also potentially high risk of snow on the hike. It was going to be a winter hike so snow was a big possibility and can be dangerous especially where deep snow drifts are concerned and losing the path as it’s a complete whiteout.

Contingency plans

On this trip, I knew that there was a chance I would need to tweak and change my plans according to the weather. 

In my initial plan, I needed to be back by a certain date. I added in an extra two contingency days for extra stops due to bad weather; however, I lost those before I started by starting four days late! I also had a weekend planned for halfway with friends in the Yorkshire Dales so I managed to gain a day back there. This was why I ended up skipping the Pinhaw Beacon to Fountains Fell section so I could finish the trail at Kirk Yetholm (providing nothing else went wrong!)

Since I’d hiked the trail before I already knew of the risky areas/sections where I might need to go with a plan B. For example, Cross Fell is the highest point on the trail it is known for its strong winds and if there was heavy snowfall that could have impacted my walk. Plan B – I’d researched and found that the Pennine Journey trail would still link up with Greg’s Hut, my plan for staying on that day, but a lower level option which in the event of strong winds, snow or both I had an alternative.

Waking up to a snow covered Greg’s Hut. Glad I wasn’t camping out this. night!

The other part of the trail which could have been challenging in heavy snow and may have called for a plan B would have been The Cheviot Hills. Again, if heavy snow fell this would have made hiking incredibly tough and increased the risk of falling in snow covered bog! Again, I alway said I wouldn’t risk hiking a section where potentially an accident would result in calling Mountain Rescue (and putting them at risk too). In this instance I’d have skipped the final section and arranged transport to Kirk Yetholm, via Chris Horton Taxis.

For a winter challenge, my kit and planning meant a lot more planning and assessing the risks throughout the hike.

My Pennine Way route stages

For my winter Pennine Way hike, I aimed to have no more than 2-3 days in my tent before I had a luxury (non-tent) accommodation stop (as you can see the most I had was 2 nights!

Here’s my Pennine Way route day by day, including where I stayed each night.

  1. Edale to Crowden (hosted stay)
  2. Crowden to Millstone Edge (wild camp)
  3. Millstone Edge to near Top Withins (wild camp)
  4. Top Withins to Pinhaw Beacon (bunkhouse with friends)
  5. Pinhaw Beacon to Fountain Fell (ended up skipping this section due to timescales)
  6. Fountains Fell (base) via Hawes to Great Shunner Fell (wild camp)
  7. Great Shunner Fell via Keld to Tan Hill (bunkhouse)
  8. Tan Hill to Middleton-in-Teesdale (campsite)
  9. Middleton-in-Teesdale to Dufton (hobbit hut)
  10. Dufton to Greg’s Hut (bothy)
  11. Greg’s Hut to Lambley (hosted stay)
  12. Slaggyford to Hadrian’s Wall (wild camp)
  13. Hadrian’s Wall to Bellingham (campsite)
  14. Bellingham to Bryness (hosted stay)
  15. Bryness to Auchope Bothy (bothy)
  16. Auchope Bothy to Krk Yetholm

NOBO route (Edale to Kirk Yetholm

SOBO route (Kirk Yetholm to Edale)

Pennine Way wild camping

A beautiful cold winter’s night on the Pennine Way

Wild camping on the Pennine Way

Firstly, winter wild camping can be tough, the temperatures are colder so It’s worth considering if you kit is up to the challenge. Please take a look at my kit list below and you can also read my tips for keeping warm whilst camping here.

If you’re new to wild camping and you can read that here but here’s the rough guidelines I use whilst wild camping on the Pennine Way.

  • Leave No Trace – Pack up, check you’ve left nothing behind and off you go! The only reason you might have known a tent was there was a non-frosty section of grass
  • Arrive after sunset – Sunset on my hike was 5.30 pm, depending on my location I’d pitch my tent as the sun was setting.
  • Leave early – Sunrise was 6.45 am. I set an 5.30 am alarm to ensure I was packed up and on the move for 7 am each time I wild camped.
  • Pitch on Access Land NOT private land – I pitched my tent on Access Land (shaded in light yellow on the OS maps) and you might need to walk further than you’d planned.
  • Pitch away from houses/civilisation – Make sure you’re in a remote area away from houses.

Toilets on the Pennine Way

Another one if you’re new to wild camping maybe worth reading my detailed guide on going to the toilet outdoors. Read here.

I carried a pee cloth and (tissues, rubbish bag, trowel) with me for any wild toilet stops.

As regards to public toilets there aren’t loads on the way but there are a few! Here are the ones I found or used! Most of these are at the towns and villages so I appreciate if you’re staying here you’d probably use your accommodation but for my wild camping trip hitting these halfway though the day they were perfect.

Public toilets – Edale (near train station) Crowden, Malham Visitor Centre, Keld (paid) Hadrian’s Wall (2 sets)

Other toilets – Pub toilets (various) and tearooms on the route, Pit stop (Horneystead Farm) (between end of Hadrian’s Wall and Bellingham)

Pennine Way Food + Water

Treating myself to pub food and a fire at Tan Hill

Food on the Pennine Way

In the summer, I planned to eat at towns and villages on route and this time it won’t be any different! I’m going to research pub/cafe opening times this time.

Here’s where I stopped for food and supplies on the route!

  • Day 1 – Crowden – Hosted stay so dinner and breakfast
  • Day 2 – No options (freeze-dried camp meal)
  • Day 3 – No resupply needed (camp meal). Option for food at May’s Shop (400 m off route) or detour via Hebden Bridge
  • Day 4 – Staying with friends in Yorkshire Dales
  • Day 5 – No resupply needed (camp meal). Pub option in Hawes
  • Day 6 – Tan Hill – Late lunch, dinner at pub (and takeaway breakfast)
  • Day 7 – Middleton-in-Teesdale – Dinner at pub and Resupply at Co-op
  • Day 8 – Dufton – Pub open but I had a (camp meal)
  • Day 9 – No options (camp meal)
  • Day 10 – Alston – Resupply at Spar and hosted stay so dinner/breakfast
  • Day 11 – Hadrian’s Wall Lunch at Greenhead Tearoom and camp meal
  • Day 13 – BellinghamResupply at Co-op + dinner in pub
  • Day 14 – Byrness – Hosted stay dinner and breakfast
  • Day 15 – No options (camp meal)
  • Day 16 – Kirk Yetholm – Pub for lunch

How easy is it to find water on the Pennine Way?

There are water sources either in the form of pubs and tearooms or fresh water from streams throughout most of the walk. I alway carry a water filter so it gives me more options to top up especially when I’m wild camping.

On my summer hike, I was sweating a lot due to the heatwave in the UK so I drank more water than this winter trip. I carried hot water in my 500 ml Sign flask and also had my 550 ml Salomon bottle. My strategy was similar to my summer trip, start the day hydrated, whether I was in accommodation or camping I’d drink plenty of water in the morning then I’d be good for the day.

The winter was slightly easier as I knew that water sources would be flowing more and wouldn’t be dried up as some were in the summer months.

Pennine Way Winter Kit List + Camping Gear

Here’s the kit I took on my winter Pennine Way adventure! I’ve included the few items I didn’t use on the trip with comments to help you decide what to take.

Please remember that your kit list will vary depending on your own priorities and also the season you’re hiking the trail. You can see my summer kit list for my trip here for comparison.

I also personally get very cold and suffer with poor circulation in my hands so there are certain items I took that may not be relevant, please use this as a guide and tweak for your own trip. For example, 4-season camping gear and extra gloves!

Backpack

I took my Osprey 65-litre backpack, I’ve used on numerous winter trips and also on my 950-mile hike across the UK in 2019. Although, I hadn’t used it for a long-distance trail in a while as in the summer I used my Osprey Kyte 36-litre. For my winter Pennine Way hike I needed heavier/bigger items so this was the best option to fit everything in.

I don’t use a bag pack cover but instead I use a large 50-70-litre pack liner then these ultralight Osprey dry sacks (in different colours) to keep my gear organised and easy to find.

On reflection, my bag that I loved was too heavy. The actual backpack weight, not the contents. Although I like the comfort and support I’m going to look at different options for future winter long-distance trips. The Osprey Ariel weight 2.2 kg ouch, yes, I know!

Camping gear

My sleeping set up in the bothy on my last night

Here’s my wild camp tent/sleeping set up for my winter Pennine Way adventure, as you can see it differs from my summer set up!

  • 4-season tent – MSR Access (1.6 kg)
  • Sleeping mat – Thermarest X-Thern – (460 g)
  • Sleeping quilt – Thermarest Parsec -18 limit – (1.09 kg)
  • Silk sleeping bag liner – Silk liner – (130 g)
  • Pillow – Thermarest Air Head – (145 g)
  • Repair kit

Total weight of tent and sleep system = 3.4 kg

Review coming soon on the MSR Access 1 – Pop me any questions in the comments

Thoughts with kit

Roughly my camping gear was 1 kg heavier than my summer set up at 2.4 kg, most of the extra weight is from the sleeping bag but warmth was important to me and I wanted to sleep well and not be shivering all night.

I left my sleeping liner (with friends in Yorkshire Dales) after the first 4 days as I was warm enough without it and I was looking at ways to ditch extra weight.

My pillow is my luxury item, I sleep so much better with it but you could always use a down jacket/fleece as a pillow.

Cooking gear

Cooking set up on my hike
  • Cooking stove, pot + stabiliser – Jetboil Stash – 233 g
  • Titanium mug – 54 g
  • Titanium Spork – 21 g
  • Medium-sized gas – 375 g
  • Swiss army knife (11 functions – scissors, knife, bottle opener, pen + more) – 30 g 
  • Lighter – 10 g
  • Dishcloth

Cooking gear weight = 723 g

Thoughts with cooking kit

I swapped my lighter (210 g) MSR Pocket Rocket set  for the Jetboil Stash as it offers slightly better stability in bad weather as the flame is slightly covered. Carrying a stove was the right decision for this trip, I was glad to have hot drinks and warm meal especially when I was camping. I also heated water to make a hot water bottle.

Gas – I packed a full gas, used for the first 4 days (used 60 g approx) then swapped back to a new full canister for the remainder of the trip, which still had gas when I finished. I might have lasted the full trip with one canister but I didn’t want to risk having none for the final section in The Cheviots.

Winter clothes + footwear

Here’s my clothing and footwear I wore/took on the hike!

For my long-distance hikes, I have one set of clothes for hiking and one set for when I get to camp (thermals, socks and a down jacket). 

  • Base layer – Icebreaker 300 Merino thermal long-sleeved (wear)
  • Thin fleece – Berghaus (wear)
  • Lightweight mid jacket – Salomon (wear)
  • Lightweight down Gillet – Salomon (warm extra layer)
  • Warm hiking trousers – Salomon (wear)
  • Sports bra (wear)
  • Warm down jacket Salomon (for camp)
  • Underwear x 4 (Decathlon running underwear + Icebreaker Merino shorts)
  • Socks x 3 – Smartwool + Bridgedale (camp socks 2 x hiking socks)
  • Buff
  • Warmer beanie (for hiking/camp)
  • Gloves x 3 – Sealskinz gloves, Montane down gloves + winter mittens
  • Base layers for sleeping/camp clothes

Thoughts on clothes

My clothes for hiking mostly stayed the same, either adding or removing one layer depending on the weather and temperature. I rarely needed to wear my Salomon mid layer and Gillet but I was glad that I had them with me on the colder days.

For sleeping I wore my base layer that I’d hiked in on most days, as mentioned I wasn’t sweating much and the merino was comfy and wicked away any moisture. It also meant I could retain my body heat by sleeping in it. The exception of when I had a bed for the night, however, I could have switched my sleeping base layer for a thinner long-sleeved top.

I had a love/hate relationship with my gaiters, yes, they protected my feet from getting muddy/wet in rain as it stopped it running inside my boots. On the snowy days it stopped snow getting in my boots and melting (ie wet feet). On some milder days my feet sweated so they were damp anyway. Some days I wore them, some days I didn’t. I don’t feel I ever got the perfect balance.

My boots let me down and leaked, which did cause numerous problems. The weren’t heavy hiking hard-wearing hiking boots as I wanted a lighter boot, however the fact that leaked backfired on me 🙁

Other hiking gear

  • Hiking poles – Leki (used)
  • Watch + cable – Suunto 9
  • 550 ml water bottle – Salomon soft flask – 75 g
  • Flask 500 ml – 293 g
  • Water filter + 1-litre – Platypus Quickdraw – 134 g
  • Toilet kit – trowel, wipes, tissues, bag for rubbish – 200 g
  • First aid kit + repair kit – 189 g
  • Head torch + cable – 97 g x 2 =194 g
  • Survial shelter (2-person) 420 g
Platypus Quickdraw filter
Platypus Quickdraw water filter

Thoughts on hiking gear

I was glad to have my flask with me, it meant I had a warm drink during my hike and also I used to boil water at night and it retainer heat overnight so quicker to boil in the morning, when I wanted to be on the move quicker

Other items

Thoughts on other items

I packed both 20000 Anker power bank and smaller one as I knew I wanted to video some of my hike which takes up more battery. If I wasn’t doing this I’d have taken one.

Food for the hike

Here’s the food I took from the start, enough for 3-4 days, with a resupply from my own kit bag when I met my friends in the Yorkshire Dales.

  • Peppermint tea bags x 4
  • Coffee sachets x 4 (Campfire coffee)
  • Freeze-dried meals x 4 (Summit to Eat, Firepot + Real Turmat)
  • Pasties x 2 and mini pork pies x 4
  • Breakfast/snack bars x 6
  • Kendal mint cake x 1 small pack
  • Voom bars x 3 packs 
  • Active Root (ginger drink)
  • Bar of dark chocolate (emergency chocolate!)

Base Camp Food are great as you can buy a range of different freeze-fried meals, instead of buying one brand you can select different options from their range of brands, including Summit to Eat, Firepot and Expedition Foods.

Kit weight

I normally weight everything in my backpack but I was lazy this time so I don’t have weight for everything, which might be why the weight was more.

My backpack (on it’s own) weighed 2.2 kg, my tent and sleeping kit was 3.4 kg and cooking set up was 0.7 kg, water was 1 kg, which leaves about 7 kg for the rest of my kit and maybe 2 kg in food, that’s a rough estimate as I didn’t weigh my food and other kit.

However, I did hop on the scales before I left

Total weight = 17 kg

What kit didn’t I use (or should have left at home)?

There were a few items of kit I didn’t use, I’ll go through each item and explain why and whether I wish I’d left it behind.

  • Microspikes – I didn’t use at all, however, in the Cheviots there were certainly some of ice on the flagstoned path, I could detour around it but if it had been any worse I’d have popped my microspikes on – Keep
  • Sleeping bag liner – I used initially but ditched after 4 days, I was warm enough in my sleeping bag and I wanted to save weight – Ditch
  • Waterproof socks – I wore these on day 2 or 3 but my feet sweated so much I decided to leave them behind. I also find they get so heavy when wet and don’t necessarily keep your feet dry – Ditch
  • Aquapac – If you saw my stories on Instagram you’ll know I didn’t use this but I should have. I nearly completely wreaked my phone and it wouldn’t charge for 4 hours – Keep (and use it if it rains!)
  • Baselayer (top) for sleeping – I ended up sleeping in my base layer that I hiked in and when I did want a clean top I could have managed with a lighter one – Ditch
  • Thin beanie – I initially packed 2 hats, with a view to having a dry one to sleep in if it got wet (this happened on my Bob Graham hike) but I wore a jacket with a better hood so my hat stayed dry and I took this out – Ditch
  • Spare torch – I’d not planned to hike at night and my main torch lasted but I would keep the torch again as a back up – Keep
  • Survival shelter – At 420 g I could have bought a lighter shelter but I was glad I took this with me, it helped me a couple of times in bad weather and would have been essential in an emergency situation.

Pennine Way – Useful Information

Transport to the start/finish of the Pennine Way

Edale – Edale train station is 1 km from the start of the trail. The train route is accessible from both Sheffield or Manchester, with trains roughly 1 per hour.

Kirk Yetholm – The nearest (mainline) train station is Berwick-upon-Tweed. From Kirk Yetholm, you need to catch two buses to the start. no. 81/81A from to Kelso (20 mins) then the no. 67 bus to Berwick-upon-Tweed (1 hour).

Trains – If you can book in advance to save money, also look to split your journey and buy separate tickets – I use Trainline However, for a winter trip, I opted not to pre-book since the weather was so changeable.

Bus timetables

The buses run limited services so there’s a large wait between the train times and bus times.

A taxi to Berwick-upon-Tweed would be £40* (cash or card option). Call Chris Horton to book 07768 070818. (I used Chris’s taxi service in the summer too and it was brilliant). He will get booked up and there aren’t many other options so get booked earlier if you can.

*Prices correct at time of writing

Pennine Way accommodation

Hobbit Hut at Dufton

Guesthouses, hostels + bunkhouses

The route has a good mix of accommodation; however, some places have less options so it’s worth booking in advance if you can. Winter is generally a quieter time which allows some flexibility if you need to change the dates, this may not be the same in the summer months (especially weekends).

I pre-booked three places to stay on the walk – The Lion Inn Bunkhouse at Horton-in-Ribblesdale (I ended up not staying here as my plans changed but they did offer to change the date. Hobbit Hut at Dufton, again Julie was fab and allowed me to be flexible with dates. The third booking was the YHA at The Sill, this was a non-refundable booking, however, I did pop them an email to see if they would help me out. The short version is they didn’t reply, then I had a rude member of staff phoning me asking where I was 🙁
Campsites + wild camping

I stayed at two campsites on my hike at Middleton-in-Teedale and Bellingham. I didn’t book either and had no problem getting a pitch. However, if I’d arrived before 1st March both would have been closed.

Where can you get food on the Pennine Way?

Resupply stops

There are a mix of small shops and supermarkets along the route, as well as a few options a short distance off the path.

General store/farm shop – Edale, Calder Valley (May’s Farm shop), Airton + Kirk Yetholm

Supermarket – Co-op/Spar – Hebden Bridge (off-route), Gargrave, Hawes, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Alston + Bellingham

Pubs, cafes, tearooms + honesty boxes

In each town and village there’s normally either a shop, pub, tearoom or a mix of everything! 

Also along the walk, you’ll come across honestly boxes, so make sure you pack some change to buy treats on the way!

What bothies + shelters are on the trail?

There are a few bothies, managed by the Mountain Bothy Association on the route, most of these are on the northern section of the route.

Bothy

  • Top Withins Bothy – SD 98104 35354
  • Greg’s Hut (near Cross Fell) – NY 69082 35419
  • Spithope Bothy (slightly off route near Bryness Hill) – NT 76674 05414
  • Mountain Refuge Hut (near Lamb Hill) – NT 80405 12879
  • Auchope Hut (near The Cheviot) – NT 87723 20164

Shelter

These are more basic wind shelters, mostly without cover on top!

  • Pen-y-Ghent summit
  • Great Shunner Fell summit
  • Little Dunn Fell* – NY 70364 33196
  • Cross Fell summit* – NY 68752 34335
  • The Cheviot (near summit)

*(A better shelter is Greg’s Hut about 2 km further on)

My Pennine Way costs

Food + drinks

Freeze-dried meals (bought before trip) = £36.90 approx

Tan Hill (lunch + dinner) = £36.50

Middleton-in-Teesdale £18.70 (pub dinner) + £21.25 (co-op resupply) = £39.95

Alston – Food resupply at Spar (inc Compeed and wine) (£30.92)

Bellingham – food from campsite shop = £5.78

Bellingham – Co-op resupply £9.00

Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm lunch = £15.50

Costa (Berwick train station) £14.49

Food costs £189.04

Accommodation

The Golden Lion Inn, bunkhouse = £15.00 (didn’t stay)

Tan Hill bunkhouse inc takeaway breakfast = £45

Hobbit hut inc breakfast pot = £25

Middleton-in-Teesdale campsite = £5.00

YHA The Sill = £21.75 (didn’t stay)

Bellingham Campsite = £6.95

Accommodation costs £118.70

Travel

Bus from Alston to hosted stay £3.20

Travel home to Edale – £12.70 (taxi) + £15.90 (train) = £28.60

Travel from Kirk Yetholm to home – £40.00 (taxi), £0 (train) + £15.60 (taxi home) = £55.60 (a family member works for Cross Country trains so I was lucky enough to get a discounted ticket £10 which they paid for – bonus)

Travel costs £87.40

Overall

A few people mentioned when I shared the costs of my summer trip that kit and equipment costs weren’t factored in. I’ve not included these again because I had most of my kit prior to the trip and the new items I bought (eg new tripod) won’t just be for this trip but subsequent ones too. I agree, if you had to buy all the camping gear and hiking kit from scratch the costs would be considerably more. And sorry, I’m not going to calculate those costs, it would be too complicated!

Total costs = £395.14

Other Pennine Way FAQ

Here I’ll include some answer to questions I was asked via Facebook and Instagram, which you might find useful for planning your trip.

Kit questions

Did you wash your clothes? – No, other than socks rinsing on my backpack when it rained

What did you backpack weigh? – My base weight was around 14 kg, with food and water it was roughly 16-17 kg

What’s your verdict on the camp slippers? – They were lifesavers, so comfy, practical, lightweight and a massive thumbs up from me.

Would you use the same tent again? – Yes, for a winter trip the MSR Access 1 was perfect, for a summer hike I’d switch to my MSR Hubba NX.

General questions

Favourite moment from the hike? – Two top moments, waking up to snow at Greg’s Hut and frosty morning on Hadrian’s Wall was epic!

How did it compare to your summer Pennine Way hike? – It was definitely tougher, big differences in the weather and temperature, less daylight hours and fewer people on the trail. More flexible with accommodation changes. Much heavier backpack which was reflective on the warmer kit I packed.

Any top tips for the trail? – It’s tough but do-able, make it your own adventure and don’t compare your trip to other people’s 🙂

Was it scary at times? – No, not scary, I was concerned on day two that the winds were so strong I wouldn’t be able to find a spot to pitch my tent but I go it sorted.

Can you get though where the trees have fallen in Northumberland? – No, there are hundreds of trees down, there’s a diversion for the worst effected area. Please get in touch to chat more.

What would you have done to protect your feet more? – This is a hard question, I wore hiking boots to keep my feet dry but I knew this would result in more blisters due to a heavier footwear. In the summer, I wear trail shoes and sacrifice dry feet but know they will dry out quickly too. The big issue with boots is that my feet sweated more resulting in damp feet anyway. Then after a week my right boot started leaking, followed by my left so the dry feet went out the window.

Would you do another winter backpacking trip? – Ooo, yes, I sure would 🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Hiking the Pennine Way in Winter + Kit List

  1. valerie says:

    hi,nice to read about your trip – I was following you along the Pennine way started 26th Feb which meant I esaped the snow but had been prepared for it. I hadn’t booked any accomodation as part of a long walk from Ramsgate in Kent but did stay in 3 times when it was very wet, including the hobbit hole. I was sad to read the YHA never adjusted your booking, so much for their original purpose.

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Ah fantastic Valerie, that’s amazing to hear, it’s funny to think of you following me 🙂 Yeah, the hobbit hole was fantastic, I really loved that 🙂 Yeah, the YHA was disappointing especially how the member of staff spoke to me then practically hung up the phone mid conversion 🙁 Hope you had a fab trip.

  2. Fred says:

    Hi Becky
    Many thanks for directing me to this guide in an earlier post; this is just what I needed as it fits in perfectly with my proposed daily mileage when I attempt the Pennine Way this June. One question concerning day 3 of your route plan: could you tell me where ‘Top Withins’ is? I can’t find that location anywhere on the map.
    All the best.

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Hi Fred, ah glad you’ve found this useful. Top Withins is marked with a star and the word RUINS next to it on the OS map, you can find it about 2 km from Walshaw Dean Reservoir. Hope that helps 🙂 Enjoy your hike

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