The Pennine Way snakes 268 miles along the rugged backbone of Northern England, from Eadale in Derbyshire it transects the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, and Northumberland National Park, ending at The Border Hotel in the bucolic setting of Scottish village, Kirk Yetholm.
As Britain’s oldest national trail, many consider The Pennine Way the ultimate long-distance walking challenge. Longer trails exist but The Pennine Way seems to hold a special mystique. Maybe it’s the variety of the terrain, the tranquil villages en route or the famous names in whose footsteps walkers tread. Whatever motivates people, most ramblers choose to walk the route from South to North, perhaps as the Pennine Way Association suggests without any hint of mirth, because ‘the wind and the rain are usually at your back.’
Following conventional wisdom, in 1968 Alfred Wainwright squelched through the peat bogs, ascended The Cheviot and dropped down to Kirk Yetholm. On arriving at The Border Hotel he was so delighted to have finished what some may term, Britain’s longest walk to the pub, that he declared he would stand all those who followed him a pint. It’s been a while since the Wainwright Estate called last orders on this generous bequest, but Broughton Ales kindly maintain the tradition, ensuring a free half pint awaits all walkers, blistered and victorious.
Tucked within the shelter of The Bowmont Valley, Kirk Yetholm and its sister village, Town Yetholm make for a picturesque and peaceful end to the trail. The western edge of the Cheviot Hills is an un-spoilt area populated by curlews and ring ouzels, where harebells grow in spring and heather colours the hills. Those with a keen eye might even spot splashing otters and the occasional osprey at nearby Yetholm Nature Reserve.
For walkers who make it to The Border Hotel with mileage still in their boots, the hotel sells a series of locally produced guides describing many of the idyllic, short walks in the area. Some of which take in the hillforts and standing stones that pepper the surrounding hills.
In the more likely event that their rambling urges are sated, there are many other attractions. A Hume’s home town of Kelso is just seven miles from the Yetholms and we’re always delighted to welcome those who’ve worn out their soles on the Pennine Way. Alternatively, we can point you in the direction of our favourite Borders hangouts: a sundowner on the terraces of Ednam House Hotel, a stroll around the gardens of Floors Castle, or a spot of shopping – at A Hume, of course.