North of Alston is a lovely walk. The Alston Discovery starts with a walk up the South Tyne. It returns, after a short climb, on the flanks of Grey Nag. Here the views are very good and the solitude complete.
I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent walk from Alston by heading in to the lee of the fells via the Pennine Way and returning from Kirkhaugh along the South Tyne Trail. The walk meanders through some attractive Pennine scenery. It passes close to the remains of a Roman fort and some memorable views over the shoulder towards Alston. The walk along the South Tyne Trail is full of interest and if you get lucky (as I did) one of the narrow gauge steam trains will pass by. In good weather it is a lovely scene. The whole area really a step back in time, for anyone unsure whether they should visit Alston. I can genuinely say there is enough walking to keep you busy for many days.
Alston is a fine market town in the centre of the Pennine moors. In fact at over 1,000 feet it is claimed to be the highest market town in England. It is actually very pleasant during the summer but there is no doubt it is very bleak in winter, if you can get there at all.
The famous guide book writer Alfred Wainwright was no great fan of this section of the Pennine Way He bemoaned the messing around of the Pennine Way route around the Pennine moors. Probably he simply wanted to get moving and get on to Hadrian’s Wall!
If you want to explore further up the South Tyne valley it is worth taking the train and then returning one way back to Alston. The details are here.
On the return the route follows the Pennine Way. On any long distance trail the paths are well signposted and usually well trodden. Here the path is less so as many on the walk take the lower level, non official, option.
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