Walking a long-distance footpath requires planning and preparation. Dividing the route into suitable daily sections bearing in mind the walker’s fitness level is important. Then linking this with accommodation and transport facilities is also important in the early stages – see note on accommodation below. For walkers new to long-distance footpath walking it is strongly recommended that they read about the nature of the undertaking they are contemplating. Outdoor walking shops will have books on the subject but good advice can be obtained from the websites listed below:
Safe in the Hills - an excellent website developed by Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team
The Ramblers - this association offers advice on long distance walking
The Long Distance Walkers Association has a very comprehensive website and it is well worth a visit
Kirkby Stephen, the start of the Trail, has the benefit of being on the main railway line from Leeds to Carlisle which incorporates the scenic Settle to Carlisle section. As the Trail finishes at Settle station, letting the train take the strain is probably the best way of getting to the start and simplifies the return home. Train timetable information can be obtained from National Rail enquiries.
Baggage courier service
Brigantes are offering a baggage courier service for the Howgills and Limestone Trail.
Footpath Holidays offer walks along the Howgills and Limestone Trail
The route coincides with the Pennine Journey and with other long distance walks. The whole region is a popular holiday area for the general public and other walkers, so in the summer months and at weekends the demand often exceeds the supply. Accommodation providers on or close to the Trail can be found on this website.
At 76 miles the Trail is a relatively short one. However, by virtue of the fact that its route goes over two of the Three Peaks, with an option to take in the third, it is a challenging walk. A good initial level of fitness and, above all, stamina will be required to complete the Trail. It would be sensible, for inexperienced long-distance path walkers, to take the first few days more easily.
Mountains can be dangerous places particularly in bad weather. Know how to read a map and use a compass, always carry an Ordnance Survey map – preferably large scale. Never be afraid to turn back if in doubt. Always carry a whistle and torch to summon help in an emergency. The international distress signal is six (6) good blasts on a whistle or torch flashes followed by a minutes silence then repeated. Do obtain up-to-date weather forecasts - most accommodation providers will be happy to assist; and be prepared to be flexible.
Clothing and equipment to be taken on the Trail must be sufficient and of adequate quality to meet all kinds of adverse weather conditions. This is of particular importance in the hilly and remote areas to ensure that personal safety, which at all times is paramount, is not impaired.
The same consideration applies to the carrying of basic supplies of food: always take an extra small quantity of high energy food. It is also very important to ensure that adequate water is carried at all times. Do not expect to find drinking water en route.
The Country Code
Always follow the Country Code when out walking in the countryside. It is easy to do and helps ensure that everyone can enjoy the countryside.
- Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
- Guard against all risk of fire
- Fasten all gates
- Keep your dogs under close control
- Keep to public paths across farmland
- Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walls
- Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
- Take your litter home
- Help to keep all water clean
- Protect wildlife, plants and trees
- Take special care on country roads
- Make no unnecessary noise