Day 20 – All set for the Pennine Way

Hattersley to Standedge

Actually I’m exhausted and I haven’t even started it. Today was meant to be a quick 16km. I set off at 7.30 after a dash around Tesco to stock up on teabags. I feared I might arrive before the pubs opened. Then I panicked I would arrive after lunch started and there would be no space for me. In the event, I staggered into the pub after 2pm fearing that I’d missed lunch altogether. There was just a dog and its owner lying in the corner by the fire. Today was a minimum 25km because I didn’t stop for a rest.

It’s probably 16km from Hattersley to Standedge by road but my route, which was the Tameside Trail and Oldham Way climbed every hill, explored every valley and circumnavigated every reservoir. Everything except visit a cafe.

It was a nice walk. Lees Hill, Slatepit Moor, Swineshaw Moor, Buckton Moor, the Chew Hills, Brockley Moor and, of course, the infamous Saddleworth Moor. There were more hills, stones, rocks and brows with names than I care to remember and a giant obelisk war memorial overlooking Oldham. We had to climb that hill too.

The weather forecast was glorious sunshine. Lots of people were out for the day, checking the reservoir levels and enjoying this long holiday weekend. Some were walking, starving themselves for a final blowout on Bank Holiday Monday when the Government’s half price dining out offer ends. But despite the forecast, the rain came as it always does. No one was taken by surprise.

As you are aware, when it comes to the Pennine Way, I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s the most notorious trail in Britain. Already, the rescue teams are twitching at their curtains and waiting for their radios to crackle into life and it’s not even September.

I chatted to a man on a day’s walk and asked him if he’s walked the Pennine Way. “Oh no”, he replied, “I’m doing the South West Coastal Path with my mates. We do a week every year. It’s all we can afford”.

I’ve therefore turned to a firm called Contours to organise the whole thing for me. I liked the ambiguity of the name. They’ve booked all my accommodation, baggage transfers (yes, they will carry my bag) and will ferry me to and from the Way when necessary. They even threw a guidebook in, with a waterproof case). Yesterday I received an email from them, “Your holiday starts tomorrow!”


Highland cattle
The Oldham Obelisk

Probably Shaw Rocks but might have been the Kinder Stones

Salvation not starvation at the Cross Keys Inn

8 comments on “Day 20 – All set for the Pennine Way

  1. Happy holiday in ‘The Pennine Way’. Seriously though, hope all goes well and really look forward to the daily updates from the comfort of my armchair!

  2. Hi Stuart, e by gum I don’t understand a word of that but I’ll be back down south soon enough! I really fancy walking in Scotland. There are some great trails. You’re going well. Tim

  3. Is that common up north
    Men lying on the Pub floor with their dogs
    Strange lot up moth 😂

  4. Tassie Kaz

    😄 Walking trips are never holidays… they’re generally anything but.
    Exhausting, stressful, endless problem solving & the complexities of culture & language. I at least thought the latter two wouldn’t be issues for you this journey…but obviously I was mistaken!
    👏 Applaud your decision to take logistics out of the equation. Your trepidation towards the Pennine is clear so the difficulty of the walking itself will be more than enough to deal with.
    Sempre avanti Tim.

  5. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim, Love the image of the dog and the landlord! Thanks for keeping those speckle-faced sheep(mules) in the picture. I noted that almost all the animals in this pics have their rears towards you – I presume it is because they are facing away from strong wind rather than brown-eyeing you! Clever move to simplify the logistics of the Pennines because you’ll need stamina and perseverance to conquer those undulations and still have strength to raise a half at the end of the day. Kia kaha, Vicky

  6. Absolutely beautiful scenery. The photo’s are so lovely. I bet you are glad the sun was not blazing while climbing those hills.

    • Definitely. But no weather is perfect. It will soon be quite cold here

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