The Pennine Way should actually be called the ‘Pennine and Cheviot Way’ according to Alfred Wainwright, author of the Pennine Way Companion. The route also excludes some of the Pennines to the south.

This was a regular subject of conversation between the legend Alfred Wrainwright and his friend and accomplished long distance walker and author, Ron Scholes. Ron recalls that Wainwright believed a purely Pennine way should begin in the Derbyshire Dales, rather than at Edale. And, after a visit to The Roaches in Staffordshire in 1983 he and Ron agreed that the starting point for such a route should be Ashbourne in Derbyshire or Leek in Staffordshire.

A Pennine Odyssey

Pennine Odyssey Guidebook

Fast forward nearly 40 years and Ron has completed this labour of love – a purely Pennine way. The Pennine Odyssey guidebook was published in 2022. It details a route stretching from either Leek or Ashbourne to Housesteads on Hadrian’s Wall. The 273 mile route passes through the Peak District National Park, the moorlands of West Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines National Landscape to the southern edge of Northumberland National Park.

A Pennine Odyssey Guide Book

Far from being critical of the original Pennne Way Ron’s Pennine Odyssey guidebook fondly describes his conversations with Wainwright about all things Pennine. The first part of Ron’s guidebook is a must for Pennine enthusiasts. It documents important pieces of walking history including some of the workings behind Wainwrights Pennine Way Companion and highlights the contributions of the helpers, who provided notes about the conditions and navigational features along the route. The guidebook also includes fascinating digitisations of letters and the original maps annotated by the helpers.

Pennine Odyssey annotated map

The second part of the Pennine Odyssey guidebook provides detailed the route instructions and hand drawn maps that we have come to expect from Ron. There are two options for the starting leg to Buxton from either Leek or Ashbourne. Also both routes to Buxton can be walked as a 47.5 mile South Pennine Triangle with an additional route through Onecote, Grindon and Ilam.

2. Hollins Cross
6. High Force e1709208120547
4. Malham Cove e1709208200506

After Buxton the Pennine Odyssey route passes key Pennine landmarks including Hollins Cross, Edale, Ladybower Reservior, Janet’s Foss, Malham Cove, Tan Hill, High and Low Force waterfalls, Dufton and Vindolanda Roman Fort on the way to Hadrian’s Wall. Throughout the route Ron has provided alternative routes so that walkers can tailor their experience.

Walking Pace is proud to support Ron Scholes through communications support for both the Pennine Odyssey long distance trail and the stunning alternative Coast to Coast – The Ravenber Way.

This week we launched the Pennine Odyssey website which outlines the route sections and provides gpx files for the entire route and individual sections – though you’ll still want the guidebook for the useful snippets of advice Ron has to offer and also his explanations of the history and geography of the landscapes and towns the route will take you through.

So, what are your plans for the summer? How about trying this purely Pennine way?

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