Summertime Fun in the Pennines

Have you thought of trying one of these activities out?

Most folks come to the Pennines to simply gaze at the landscape which is completely understandable when you consider how beautiful it is, but I’d be remiss in not mentioning the wide array of activities that you can get up to whilst you’re here.

If you’re thinking of visiting the Pennines soon then take a look at what else you could get up to first, so that you can share an experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime:

Taking a Birdwalk

I love a good hike, but I know full well that they’re not always to everyone’s taste, especially children. Birdwalks are great work-arounds for these problem people and there are plenty of great trails to take advantage of whilst you’re in the Pennines. There are a few rules you need to follow in order to undertake a birdwalk responsibly which you can read in full here. The general gist is that you must remember to respect the environment around you, do not disturb the birds or their nests and make sure to keep dogs (and children!) on a short leash.

Visit the Killhope Museum

Don’t let the rather macabre name put you off, Killhope is an award-winning museum that lays out the history of mining in a truly fascinating way. Visitors of all ages can enjoy what’s on offer here, a practical hands-on museum that embraces the physical landscape and takes you deep into the bowels of the Pennines themselves! A working waterwheel and historical mine are just a couple of the authentic attractions that are on offer at Killhope, a surefire win for kids and history buffs alike.

Discover Eggleston Hall Gardens

Eggleston Hall Gardens is one of those rare places that has risen from obscurity thanks to a small network of devoted individuals from the local area. Literally hundreds of plants are on display here at these historic gardens which have been the home of plant life since the 16th Century. Just a quick glance at their informative ‘About‘ section on their website shows you how much the owners care about the heritage of this lovely place – definitely worth a visit for anyone with green fingers.

Get splashed at High Force

Kids and older folks alike will all be able to marvel at High Force waterfall, England’s biggest waterfall. At a staggering 70 feet high, it’s truly a sight to behold and the woodland walk that leads up to it is always a sure-fire winner for the younger ones. There’s nothing like seeing the amazement and surprise on someone’s face when they see High Force for the first time, try and keep it a secret to get the maximum impact!

Learn how to survive in the wild

Whilst camping might not be to everyone’s taste you might find that a day learning bushcraft could change all of that. There are a handful of companies and individuals who hold bushcraft workshops in and around the Pennines, although I’d say Wild North Discovery are perhaps the most flexible company to deal with. They can take you and a group through everything from basic bushcraft (shelter construction and fire building) to weaving willow baskets, or even your very own Hunger Games experience!

A Change of Pace: Country vs. City Life

My transition from temping to professional organiser…

Moving home is always an exciting prospect, but it’s made a lot more thrilling when you’re virtually transforming your lifestyle.

I’ve met many workaholics in my time, both in my work life and my post-work life – today I’m happy to say that I’m free of that particular vice, but I still play host to many of my old friends from the city who have yet to shake off the yoke of hard working oppression. I have more than enough memories of putting long days and nights into my city job and although I’d like to say that all of that hard graft was worth it, in truth I feel like I probably could have gone home earlier a bit more often and worked a few less weekends in my 30-year career.

For those three decades I was one of a very few professional organisers working in the city of London. Whenever I tell people about how I made my living they often laugh and say something along the lines of ‘I didn’t know that was a job!’ It’s true that I certainly didn’t see it as a viable profession back when I started, I just assumed that every one was as organised as I was, I certainly didn’t see my organisational skills as something that I could make money out of.

My first job came to me through a boss that I was temping for in the 80s. I’d come into the office for a few months to lend a hand with some basic admin duties and had impressed higher-ups with my skills, but the work dried up and I soon found that I was unemployed once more. Thankfully, in that short space of time I’d made quite the impact by streamlining processes and restructuring certain workflows; within a week of leaving I received a call from my old boss asking if I’d be interested working as a private consultant for him in his own home.

I’d always assumed that successful people were by their nature organised, but what turned out to be my first client certainly proved me wrong on that part! He might have presented a good image in the workplace, but it was pretty evident that zero attention went into his home. Papers were stacked on top of papers, old takeaway boxes spilled out over unwashed shirts and a layer of clutter obscured the carpet from view.

I was initially baffled by the mess and then slowly pieced together how this could have happened. For my entire time temping in this man’s office he was the first one in the office and the last one out, often spending long evenings at his computer. Clearly his time at home was limited to sleeping, changing clothes and scarfing down the occasional takeaway. The first step in organising his life was restructuring how he spent his time, introducing him to the concept of taking some off-time was a challenge but one he started indulging in doing so, he soon grew to understand the mental benefits of taking some time off…

I think he even started enjoying weekends too!

Stay for the Weekend: North Pennines

Embrace your wild-side in the North Pennines!

Whenever I’m asked to pick between either the North Pennines or Northumberland National Park I have to simply shrug – they’re both fantastic places to come and visit, and I’ve had wonderful times in both.

I suppose if I had to pick hairs and choose one I’d go for the Pennines simply on the basis that there is so much more to do and see there than in Northumberland. There you go, I’ve said it and now I fully expect to be hammered with hate mail: so have at me!

In all seriousness though, the Pennines are a truly wonderful place to visit, especially if you’ve got an eye for rare birds and wildlife. Over 2000 square kilometres of rugged landscapes offer even the most casual of hikers the chance to cover some serious ground and gain some real height whilst they’re at it too! There are peaks a-plenty here, not to mention babbling brooks, rivers, waterfalls, valleys and stunning landscapes (both natural and land-made) to keep you interested.

So – by now you’re more than likely chomping at the bit to get stuck into the Pennines and see what it’s all about, but before you run head long into a whirlwind rural adventure you’ll need to get yourself somewhere to stay:

Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Lovelady is a little pedestrian for a country house hotel, but what it lacks in immediate exterior ‘wow-factor’ it more than makes up for in interior opulence. Immaculately decorated with a designer’s eye, Lovelady is a joy to visit – perfect for relaxing in after a long day of walking through the rugged wilderness of the Pennines.

Lord Crewe Arms Hotel

Rated as one of ‘the most romantic hotels in Europe’ by the Sunday Telegraph and also winner of the Inn of the Year prize in 2018, the Lord Crewe Arms is a must-visit pub that is worth visiting for its excellent food alone.

A night’s stay in their dedicated ‘Canny Room’ will set you back just under £200 which also gives you the option of booking a table at their award winning restaurant.

Low Cornriggs Farm

If you’d rather have a more cosy, rural experience then you can stay with Janet & Harry at their 4-Star Bed and Breakfast in Killhope.

This B&B is wonderfully free of stiff-collared formality whilst being a haven for home-cooked, locally sourced food. Janet is an award-winning baker who’s been claiming prizes for over a decade, she’ll happily cook you an English Breakfast in the morning and a delectable evening meal too, should you desire it.

YHA Dufton

Cheap and cheerful youth hostels have always been a great shout for un-fussy travellers and big groups alike, the YHA run place in Dufton is no exception to this rule.

This lovely example of North Pennines architecture is full of character and is also perfectly located for would-be walkers and explorers.

Greg’s Hut

This simple stone shelter is one of many scattered all over Scotland and the North of England.

Known as ‘bothies‘, these buildings are very basic on facilities (there are no toilets or running water) but the four walls and a floor provide essential shelter for hikers caught out in a storm, they’re also perfect for adventurers who are looking to really rough it!


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