“The Pennine Way – A Walker’s Guide” Book Review

The following review of Chris Sainty’s book was written by Dave Kearns for the Long Distance Walker’s Association magazine – thanks to the LDWA for allowing us to publish it.

Alfred Wainwright didn’t enjoy his traverse of the Pennine Way, which he completed in random stages through 1966 and 1967. “You won’t come across me anywhere along the P.W.” he wrote, “I’ve had enough of it.” Wainwright’s excursions were done in a near perpetual downpour and rotten weather tends to take the gloss off even the most attractive route, let alone an indifferent one (as participants in the Valleys 100 might well testify).

Chris Sainty takes an altogether more optimistic view. He was planning his 12th completion this summer, having already gathered enough notes and photographs to produce what really is a most excellent guide book. Starting with a History of the PW – it all began with Tom Stephenson’s article, ‘Wanted – A Long Green Trail’ in The Daily Herald in 1935 – and including a fascinating report of the committee meetings that brought the notion to reality, the book continues with a full route description, interspersed with gobbets of information and personal conversations.

The latter are thoughtfully separated into indented grey panels. There are commentaries on mobile phone signals (or the lack thereof), pubs, cafes, toilets; notes on villages passed through along the way, miniature histories, reference to nearby landmarks – never obtrusive or lecturing but always full of interest.

Most of the volume, 198pp, comprises a route description and is so comprehensive that one wonders how it could be possible to get lost. It seems a shame that this careful accuracy will deteriorate with age and wear: a grey barn disobligingly repainted green; a Youth Hostel turned into a Wetherspoons… but no doubt Chris will continue his regular pilgrimages from the south of England, to report on all the changes.

This is a book to be read and enjoyed by the Pennine Wayfarer safely back home, warm and dry, with an inexhaustible supply of coffee, to relive their epic journey step-by-step – hopefully walked in more pleasant conditions than those Mr Wainwright suffered.

Author: Chris Sainty
Publisher: JMD Media / DB Publishing
Paperback price £12.99 (post free UK only)
New release: April 2014
To purchase a copy email: chrisdjsainty@hotmail.com
Or send a cheque (payable to ‘Mr C D J Sainty’) with your address to:
Chris Sainty, 29 Springfield Park Avenue, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6EL

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