• Northern Trek - the finish line at the peak of Ben Nevis. Image provided
    Northern Trek - the finish line at the peak of Ben Nevis. Image provided

A new walking route that stretches from the Peak District to the summit of Ben Nevis has been launched with the aim of encouraging walkers to explore the spine of England and Scotland – whether it be in one 40-day burst or done in different sections over a series of months or even years.

The Northern Trek is a 900km walk that will treat those who tackle it with the most breathtaking scenery the two countries have to offer – taking them through four national parks, three UNESCO World Heritage sites and from the east coast in Northumberland to the west coast in the Scottish Highlands.

It is also the first of the UK’s big treks to take walkers right through a city centre – with Edinburgh providing a captivating contrast to the natural beauty of the more traditional elements of the route. And it is only the second official long-distance trek to cross the England Scotland border.

Former web-developer, Ken Heptonstall is the brains behind The Northern Trek – and says the idea for it was born from a desire to see both the Pennine and West Highland Ways incorporated into one enormous, challenging and rewarding trek.

“I’ve always loved long distance walks – the longer, the better,” said Ken. “Having walked both the Pennine Way and West Highland Way, I felt what was needed was a bigger, better and much, much longer route!”

“The idea of taking it across the border from England into Scotland really appealed and the way I’ve designed it, half the walk’s South of the border and half is north of it, which should please Scottish and English walkers equally.”

The Northern Trek is broken down into six sections – the Tail, the Rump, the Back, the Neck, the Head and the Crown & Glory –; a facet of the walk that Ken believes sets it aside it from other routes.

“I don’t expect many people to take on the entire Northern Trek in one go - though some will. The six sections are all manageable in the space of 5 to 7 days each, and my real hope for it is that walkers will tackle it section by section, with the aim of completing it in a timescale that suits them and their lives.”

“As a result, I’m not putting any time limit on the walk – I’ll just be happy to hear from those enjoying parts of it and will, of course, have an honours board up and running for those who finish it.”

The Northern Trek in numbers

  • 900km from start to finish,
  • 25,000 metres of ascent (including Ben Nevis)
  • Split into 6 sections
  • 35 to 40 days to complete the entire route
  • 2nd official long distance treks to cross the English Scottish border 
  • Half of the walk is in England and half in Scotland
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