When the Pennine Journey route was devised in the 1990’s, one option, as AW had walked down the Rawthey valley to Sedbergh during his 1938 walk, was to take a scenic route in this area over the Howgill Fells using routes from his ‘Walks in the Howgill Fells’ pictorial guide. This section was subsequently dropped in favour of one using the Eden valley. However, during an exploratory walk to devise a short walk to launch the Pennine Journey pictorial guide book, the conversation turned to a possible successor to the Pennine Journey. The result was the Howgills and Limestone Trail from Kirkby Stephen to Settle – both of which towns are on the Pennine Journey. At the time it was being written it was appreciated that there would be an opportunity, some time later, to use the three Pennine Journey stages amounting to 56 miles between these two towns, to create a longer circular walk of 134 miles by the simple expedient of using the maps from the Pennine Journey guide and re-writing the route description in reverse from Settle to Kirkby Stephen.
The combined route provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase this lovely part of Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and a small part of Lancashire. At the same time it will bring to the attention of walkers not familiar with the area not just the Walks on the Howgill Fells and Walks in Limestone Country guide books just mentioned but the Pennine Journey guide book itself and, as important, the original ‘A Pennine Journey’ book by Alfred Wainwright which is available.
It is hoped that in the near future a booklet, provisionally entitled ‘Settle to Kirkby Stephen along A Pennine Journey’ will be compiled incorporating route maps, illustrations and path profiles from the Pennine Journey guide book with the route description being reversed.
The proposed circular walk really needs an eye-catching name – any ideas would be much appreciated and firstname.lastname@example.org would gratefully receive them. Any improvement on 'Dales & Howgills Way'?