Pennine 39


Click here for the Pennine 39 website

Date:  Saturday 29 June 2024

Distance:  36 miles (Short)

Ascent:  5600ft/1700m

This race was first run in 2015, and is organised by Joe Faulkner (of NAV4), who also organises the Tour de Helvellyn and Lakes Mountain 42 races.  The Pennine 39 follows the Pennine Way National Trail from the River Tees near Middleton-in-Teesdale to Alston.  This is the highest bit of the Pennine Way, taking in Cross Fell, at 893 metres, the highest mountain in England outside the Lakes.  The scenery is spectacular, provided the clag isn’t down.  First you follow the Tees upstream and onto the moors and the Cauldron Spout waterfall.  Then it’s on across the main watershed to reach the spectacular High Cup, where a deep glacial valley has been gouged out of the edge of the hills, with views across the Eden Valley to the Lakes.  Next it’s down to the village of Dufton, where Pennine Way walkers would be stopping overnight ready for the big push tomorrow.  We won’t be stopping though: instead we’ll be turning north up the mountains, over Cross Fell, then down a track to Garrigill and down the South Tyne to Alston.

This is a great day out, and has the makings of an epic if the weather’s bad.  Conditions underfoot are varied, but once you’re off Cross Fell and on the track to Garrigill, it’s fairly easy going.  You could find yourself using your compass in places, particularly across the higher hills if the cloud comes in.  Good navigation skills are essential if the weather’s at all questionable.  Book early for this one: accommodation overnight is limited.