Paddy Dillon has been walking the Pennine Way in order to update his guidebook to the first National Trail. Here he gives us his general thoughts on his walk.
Pennine Way more popular than ever
I've never seen so many people walking the Pennine Way, and I've been walking it over the past 40-odd years. They came from all parts of Britain, many parts of Europe, and from as far overseas as the USA and Australia. Accommodation providers agreed that numbers were up, and they suggested it might be because it's been featured on TV.
The trail itself is in remarkably good shape, considering that in its early years it was trodden to death in some parts. The laying of stout flagstones across upland peat bogs has put a complete stop to that sort of damage. The provision of signposting is just about right for an upland trail... not too much... encouraging trekkers to keep an eye on their maps... but just enough so that your route choice is regularly confirmed.
The majority of trekkers I met were using the Cicerone guidebook. The new edition will be completely updated and will be accompanied by a 1:25,000 OS map booklet. There will be an accommodation list too, along with notes about all other relevant services. It will be published in March 2017, in time for those hardy folk who want to start as early as Easter.
The B&B at Cocklawfoot will be in the updated guidebook and they even offer lifts to your startpoint for the day.
I was also lucky enough to have an early proof of Andrew McCloy's book, The Pennine Way: The Path, The People, The Journey, which tells the story of how the Pennine Way came into being, along with interviews and comments from people associated with the trail throughout many decades. It's entertaining reading and is highly recommended for anyone contemplating the Pennine Way. It will be out in September 2016.