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Settle to Carlisle Way

Ribblehead ViaductThe Settle to Carlisle Way is a recently developed route that runs from station to station, mostly within sight of the famous railway. It runs for 97 miles (156km), starting from Settle and soon enjoying great views of the Three Peaks as it progresses through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, past the Ribblehead Viaduct and over Blea Moor tunnel. Entering Cumbria via lonely Mallerstang, the Way passes beneath Wild Boar Fell and descends gently through lovely valley of the River Eden. Here it passes Long Meg and her Daughters stone circle and moves on to Armathwaite, ending in the historic border city of Carlisle.

Because the Way tends to stay close to the railway you are likely to hear or see trains at many points along the route and possibly in summer you may spot the Fellsman steam engine special to add atmosphere and excitement to your walk. The route is not waymarked, so it is essential to have the guidebook to complete this long distance path. It follows public footpaths, bridleways and country roads and includes sections of the Pennine Bridleway and the Ribble Way. The proximity of the railway increases flexibility in the ways in which the route can be walked. Although you may want to walk it as a continuous journey stopping at different places each night the railway allows for the Way to be walked as a series of day walks from a central base.

The best time to walk the Settle to Carlisle Way is between March and October. In May and June there will be wildflowers filling the woods and hay meadows with vibrant colour and September and October are fairly quiet and offer autumn colours. The holiday months of July and August are ideal, but require early booking of accommodation. We would advise booking accommodation well in advance at any time of the year as it is very limited in some of the villages.

Ideally you need 8 days to complete the walk and the guidebook recommends the following itinerary and overnight stops.

Day 1 - Settle to Ribblehead 15 miles
Day 2 - Ribblehead to Garsdale 10.9 miles
Day 3 - Garsdale to Kirkby Stephen 13.2 miles
Day 4 - Kirkby Stephen to Appleby 13.4 miles
Day 5 - Appleby to Temple Sowerby 9.5 miles
Day 6 - Temple Sowerby to Langwathby 7.8 miles
Day 7 - Langwathby to Armathwaite 12.7 miles
Day 8 - Armathwaite to Carlisle 14.1 miles

By walking from Appleby to Langwathby you can save a day, but this is a 17.3 mile walk.

Image Attribution
Ribblehead Viaduct
Image by Kreuzschnabel, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


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Start: Settle

Grid Ref: SD 817634

End: Carlisle

Grid Ref: NY 403554

Distance: 156km

Walking Time: 8 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
OL2, OL19, OL31,
OL5, 315

Settle to Carlisle Way Guidebook

To purchase the guidebook from our bookshop please click on the image above