Tel: 01768 864909

Mob: 07749 364248


Mountain Running Skills

Trail & Ultra Navigation

Events Safety Team

Guiding Tuition & Coaching


Tour de Helvellyn

Lakes Mountain 42

Pennine 39

‘Pennine 39’ or 24  

Saturday 8th July 2017

Now back for a third year, these two NAV4 mountain trail running adventures provide runners and strong competent walkers with amazingly varied, and hence tough routes, in a stunning iconic area. Come just for a run on Saturday, or stay a night or two.


Pennine 39 or 24?  

Ok, to be truthful, the consensus from the gps geeks is that the distance is around 37 miles, but given the high and remote fells involved we’ll stick with the Pennine 39 title.

Both routes start at Bowlees and finish at Alston.  They are linear routes with a bus ride to the start. The routes share common first and last parts with each other but are stand alone events in their own right.


The 39 or 24 mile mountain trail runs follow a classic sections of The Pennine Way, in the Cumbrian/Durham Pennines.  Both routes run from Bowlees Visitor Centre in Middleton-in-Teesdale up glorious riverside trails, past Cauldron’s Snout.  From here they split, with the full route going via High Cup Nick to Dufton, and then over Crossfell to Alston.  This is a key stage of the Pennine Way, and the highest point of England outside of the Lake District.  Another few feet and it would be a ‘Three Thousander’. .

Meanwhile …. the shorter route will leave Cauldron’s Snout and head past Cow Green Reservoir and head for the South Tyne Trail.  This route is similar to the short / bad weather route that was substituted during the extreme weather of The Spine Race in January 2015. Whilst you will miss out on High Cup Nick and Crossfell, it is still a very worthwhile route and a good day’s run or walk.  We do not intend to impose any cut-offs*, and the routes are do-able by any competent walker / runner, with an eye on finishing for last orders.

Whether you choose the full 37 mile route, or the shorter 24 mile route you will run along a classic section of The Pennine Way, from Low Force past High Force in glorious Mid-Teesdale, to the amazing geological feature that is Cauldron’s Snout and the high a remote and stark Cow Green reservoir.

* Within reason – Dufton is the only effective cut-off – our team will advise appropriately

2017 Tweaks

The routes remain the same but I’ve done a few little tweaks to last year’s accommodation and food arrangements, in order to meet a variety of needs. The start time has also changed to 9:30am.


Start Time – 9:30am at Bowlees Visitor Centre

We’ll be running the free bus from Alston YHA at 8:15am  to arrive at Bowlees for 9:00am. This is a change to previous year’s start, so we have a little more time at the start.

Maps / Navigation

Both routes are on reasonably good trail at all times.  The longer full route from Dufton and over Crossfell is high and remote and can be difficult to navigate in poor visibility.  Pennine 39 runners are recommended to carry the Harvey’s Pennine Way Central map. P39 runners are expected to stay on the main Pennine way, which is obvious on the map, if not the ground it parts!  Note there are two variations in / out of Dufton and you must visit the Checkpoint in Dufton.


Don’t fancy 39 miles – Easy P24?

The Pennine 24 route is a relatively much easier route as it does not cover the high and remote High Cup Nick or Crossfell, You may find Harvey’s map useful but your route is on the OS 1:25K North Pennines Sheet 31 map covers the Pennine 24 route.

We will also provide a carefully written route description for the P24 section from Cauldron’s Snout to Garrigill – hence the section when you are not running alongside P39ers.

Overall P24 is a great route in it;s own right and deserves to be popular,



All runners / walkers must be equipped for poor weather on remote trails in wild high terrain. The following should be your normal mountain trail running kit list:

  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Overtrousers
  • Spare warm mid-layer
  • Hat and gloves suitably for the weather forecast*
  • Survival Bag
  • Whistle and compass
  • Map / (GPS if you wish) / Navigation knowledge / Local knowledge
  • Food and drink to supplement checkpoint ‘nibbles’
  • Mug and / or Water Bottle ( you won’t get a drink at our checkpoints unless you have one)
  • Trail / mountain running shoes
  • Rucsac / Bumbag
  • Good Sense of Humour

Possible Additional Kit

  • Basic First Aid / Blister kit
  • Camera – especially for High Cup Nick
  • Mobile phone – but VERY poor phone signal in Teesdale / Tynedale
  • Cash / Beer Tokens / Taxi fare…
  • Cuddly toy
  • etc.

* Even though the weather in the past has been ‘reasonable’, at nearly 3000′ and in windy, claggy and showery weather, some people regretted not having gloves and an extra layer.

Do NOT Skimp on your gear – be prepared for high remote mountain trails.


There will be three checkpoints offering simple food on the P39 route

1) Cauldron’s Snout – cold drinks and small nibbles*

2) Dufton – Hot and cold drinks and simple CP food

3) Garrigill – Hot and cold drinks and simple CP food


The Pennine 24 route does not pass through Dufton, and goes straight from Cauldron’s Snout to Garrigill.  It has an additional CP at Cow Green reservoir car park, just a mile or so after Cauldron’s Snout, where the routes split.

The reason for this is that Cauldron’s Snout is only accessible on foot, hence the cold drinks and nibbles rather than full NAV4 CP service.


Cow Green CP is the place to bail out too, if you don’t fancy going over to Dufton via High Cup Nick….a wild and wonderful place. Pennine 39ers’ are welcome at Cow green but it will add on a couple of miles as a out and back so not really worth it even for a cup of tea!  Best to continue on the P24 route.



Race HQ / Accommodation

Race HQ and our main registration is based at Alston YHA,  All runners will be offered free transport to Bowlees for the start.  You can also register at Bowlees on Saturday morning if this is easier.


We have 30 beds available here on Friday and Saturday nights.  Alston is a great little hostel, with quality small bunk room accommodation, lounge dining room and kitchen facilities.  The hostel is right next to The Pennine Way, and on the edge of the village which offers a range of shops and pubs, and other accommodation including B&B’s, hotels, etc.

A Friday night bunk and a good simple self-service breakfast is just £26 per person per night.

A Saturday night bunk is £34 but includes an evening two course ‘Supper’, which is in addition to your post run NAV4 Soup+


Hence, it’s a great weekend package, or you can just enter the trail run, and come for the day.   There is also a campsite near by – details to follow – suitable for tents and campervans.  Further details of these in the Spring, along with parking arrangements.


Pennine 39 entry fee is £47,  Pennine 24 just £29, both inclusive of transport to the start from Alston.  Entries are open so book the date in your diary, tell your ‘gnarly’ mountain trail running mates, and come and join the fun.

Public Transport

We are very keen for people to use the train to get to us, and the nearest station is Langwathby on the Settle-Carlisle line.  The journey from Leeds, Skipton, Settle and up though the Dales is well worth taking for the scenery alone.

We will arrange collection from Langwathby or Penrith (the main West coast line) on Friday evening.  We will coordinate this nearer the event.

Beer and Good Banter

If you’ve done any of our events before, Tour de Helvellyn, or Lakes Mountain 42 events, you will know what to expect. P39 will be a tough days’ run, but in a relaxed event and very sociable for those who wish to stay over on neither Friday and or  Saturday nights.  The entry fee is £47 (or £29 for P24) which includes a bus ride to the start, from Race HQ, CP refreshments and the infamous ‘NAV4 Soup+‘, post run buffet.  ‘Non-residents’ can book a ‘Supper Ticket’ and join in the most relaxed ‘After-Party’ ever held!

Maybe we will have free ‘Pennine Challenge’ beer again from the excellent The Pennine Brewing Co.


Well, how about a lazy breakfast …and then a social run or bike ride maybe?

Booking out time is 10.00 am, and there is plenty to do locally.

We’ll also be providing a shuttle bus back to Penrith and Langwathby stations.


Enter soon: remember, event places are limited, and YHA beds finite.