With Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
The Pennine Way was the first long distance footpath to be established in the UK. It is also one of the longest at 256 miles.
Starting at Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District it follows the Pennines - ‘the Backbone of England’ - to Kirk Yetholm just across the border with Scotland.
For the averagely fit walker it would take a little under three weeks to walk the whole route. For readers with two hours to spare (plus journey time) here is a walk that will take you along it for a mile up to a fine viewpoint - Pinhaw Beacon
1.At the rear of the car park locate a faint path and follow this down the hill for 500 yds bearing right to the corner of a large conifer plantation. Go through the gate, keeping the wall on your right. After 250yds cross a stone stile into the plantation. Continue downhill through the trees for 200yds until you meet a forestry track. Turn right though by turning left and walking downhill for 250yds you gain a good view of the attractive Elslack Reservoir. You are now returning to the road. Follow this track for almost 1000yds (approx. 15 minutes). At a T-junction of tracks turn left and then 20yds before the next junction take a footpath on your right, forking right round a tree after a few yards. Follow the path for 200yds to a gate onto Carleton Lane. The road is not busy but seems to encourage fast driving so take care. Turn left. Keeping to the right continue on the road for 350yds, cross a cattle grid and immediately take the footpath on the right.
2.The footpath that follows a wall steeply upwards over Ransable Hill. After 700yds the path levels off and then begins its descent towards Kirk Styles Farm the nearer of two farms. Within a 100yds of the buildings the path crosses a stone stile. Turn immediately right along the wall for 30yds. At the corner of the field, turn right and cross the stile onto the Pennine Way.
3.After 50yds bear left on a paved section will a wall to your left. In a short distance the footpath leaves the wall to cross open moorland. This will take you up to the trig point. Before reaching it there is an interesting diversion. 500yds after leaving the paved path a waymarker shows a path coming in from the right. Robert Wilson’s gravestone is 120yds down this path on the right. Robert Wilson was a Beacon Guard needed to light the beacon in 1805, a time when the country was threatened with invasion from Napoleon. Severe weather had trapped the detachment and Wilson was sent off to obtain vital supplies. He was never seen alive again. Sometime later his body was discovered and buried where it was found. The inscription reads: ‘Here was found dead The body of Robert Wilson, one Of the Beacon Gards, who died Jan 29 1805 Aged 69 years’. After viewing the grave retrace your steps to the main path. The view from the trig point is outstanding which is why we have left it to the end; to the west Pendle Hill dominates the Ribble Valley while to the north the Three Peaks of Yorkshire can be easily picked out. The way back to the car is clear. Continue on the Pennine Way as it descends to Carleton Lane. When you reach a wall turn right. On reaching the lane junction turn right for the car park. Or if you prefer continue on the Pennine Way - from this point there is about 200 miles of it left.
- Note: Timber harvesting operations in the plantation close to Elslack Reservoir may necessitate route diversions.
Start/finish: Roadside car park close to junction of Clogger Lane and Carleton Lane, BB18 6LG (nearest)
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 1½-2 hours
Summary: This is not a long walk but it does involve a climb of over 650 feet. Some people might regard this as strenuous. Readers with less time to spare can walk the road section to the cattle grid - just under a mile - 25 minutes, but be aware that although there is not much traffic, what there is tends to travel fast.
Maps: OS OL 21 The South Pennines.