We interviewed author of The North West Way, Steve Garrill to discover more about this wonderful route and why you should give it a go!
What is the North West Way?
The North West Way is a long-distance path linking Preston and Carlisle railway stations, utilising a combination of existing paths, it was designed to include some of the most scenic and inspiring walking in the north of England.
How long does it take to complete the route?
It was written to be completed in 13 days but Brigantes offer itineraries to complete it in anything between 9 and 23 days.
How hard is it?
Designed to be doable by anyone of average fitness.
By using existing public rights of way, the route is well maintained because it is regularly checked by the author and rangers.
How easy is it to access the route on public transport?
The route both starts and finishes at mainline railway stations.
The first four days could be completed as day walks using public transport with the remainder in chunks.
Like all long distance walks it is the opinion of the author (shared by Alfred Wainwright!) that a walk is best completed in one go.
Where can I stay on the north west way?
Details of B&B, pub and farmhouse accommodation are included in the book.
All have been tested by the author (as have all tearooms and pubs en route!)
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
Brigantes have a huge amount of experience in this field and have a specific page on their website for the North West Way here.
What would people be surprised to learn about the north west way?
Possibly the sheer amount of history along the route, that along with the fact that every day offers a different type of walking.
I didn’t get into walking until I was 40 when my GP told me I would be in a wheelchair within 5 years.
Having got the bug I completed most of the long distance walks in the north of Britain but was never fully satisfied with most of the routes or, in some instances, the quality of the book accompanying the route – hence the North West Way was born.
What are your personal favourite highlights of the route?
Almost impossible to answer that one!
Hawes to Keld is beautiful, Baldersdale to Langdon Beck offers fantastic big sky walking, I love the sense of remoteness on the Langdon Beck to Dufton section along the Tees (that is the photo on the front cover of the book).
Every day is gorgeous!
As a trained history teacher, what is your favourite historical highlight?
Great little Roman museum at Ribchester, Dales Countryside museum at Hawes, lots of Roman history on the last 2 days, great churches. Again hard to choose, but I could spend hours in The Hub transport museum at Alston.
What sets this long-distance route apart from the others?
The sheer diversity of the types of walking and scenery plus the amount of history and points of interest. As a book a huge amount of work went into checking the detail and simplicity and accuracy of the instructions.
and finally, What key advice would you offer to anyone thinking of completing the North West Way?
Plan it well in advance, book your accommodation months in advance.
Make sure your boots (always Altberg from Whalley Warm and Dry for me!) are really well worn in.
Don’t carry too much and make sure your rucksack is correctly adjusted.
There is a section at the front of the book on planning and kit recommendation.
Hopefully this has answered your questions and inspired you to walk the North West Way, if so we have signed copies of The North West Way available in store.