Thirty nine years ago I set about walking the Pennine Way because, in those days, that’s how you demonstrated that you were a serious hiker. I read every book on backpacking I could find and included every suggested essential item from every book, so my rucksack weighed in at over 90lbs (42kg). Unsurprisingly, given that 1976 was one of the hottest, driest summers on record, I only got as far as Hebden Bridge before heatstroke, exhaustion and a self-inflicted lack of nicotine took their inevitable toll. I mean, as if the Pennine Way isn’t trial enough, I had to add the tribulation of giving up fags!
I tried again two years later, minus camping gear but with nicotinic support and intent on staying at youth hostels and inns for ease and comfort. This time I got beyond High Cup Nick, but was unmercifully washed off Cross Fell with everything soaked, so caught the train home dejectedly from Alston.
This time, in what turns out to be the 50th anniversary of the Way, I’m out for revenge; with the benefit of hindsight and many more years of experience, I intend to crack it once and for all. My planning and preparation will be meticulous, so read on if you think my research and experience might help in your endeavour to tackle the 268 mile beast.