Sabrina Benoit is a Belgian hiker. She started hiking in 2015, completing the Kerry Way and Dingle Way back to back. After a divorce, Sabrina, on the advice of a best friend, set out to clear her head and to travel (Sabrina maintains that she is a traveller, not a tourist).

To say that she took to hiking would be a major under exaggeration! She has since completed over 3500km of trails! She was planning to hike the Wales Coast Path start point in the north as far as Pwllheli and then do the Beara Way and the Burren Way in Ireland. We are catching up with her to ask about her experience on the Pennine Way.

Find a more details map of the Pennine Way here by clicking on the map
Trail distance’s from Sabrinas hike.

1. When did you hike the Pennine Way?

I started on the 29th of July 2019 and completed it in 24 days. I completed it at a casual pace, I like to stop and take it all in. I like to stop and pause sometimes to take in my surroundings. I still manage about 4-5 kph (2.5-3 mph).

Not far from the start point

2. Where did you start?

I started in Edale, hiking from South to North,. I only seen about 5 people going North to South, there was a lot more people going North.

3. Did you find the Pennine Way difficult?

The first three days were really hard. Many people said to me, if you get through the first three days, you’ll complete the trail.

4. Where did you stay along the trail?

I did about 4 nights in B&Bs, the rest camping and hostels. I wanted to camp a lot more, but it’s not always permitted or possible. Wild camping isn’t legal in England, but some still do it. I wasn’t going to one to test the law! Also, the ground isn’t great for it, it’s like a sponge!

5. What’s your favourite memory from the trail?

Finishing with two lovely men I met on the trail. I reached the last stage, people normally split it in two as it’s almost 40km. I found a B&B who arranged a pickup for me around the 20km mark. They dropped us back in the morning, but the storm set in! Thankfully I made it to a refuge for a bit of cover, that’s where I met Neil (from the US), and Paul from England. We bandied together and made it to the finish line, in what was perfect sunshine at the end. It was a big challenge, and the storm was more than a little frightening, but it was a great feeling to make it to the finish line at the Border Hotel.

Storm rolling in….

6. Was there many women on the trail?

There was very few women on the trail. At one campsite I met two women who were about 4 or 5 days in. They were in tears, just finding the trail too difficult. They finished there, I think it was around Cowling. I did meet another lady, Michelle Hawkins (a teacher from Canada), who was doing the LEJOG (lands end to John o’groats), from North to South. She was a really strong hiker, and a lovely person!

7. Would you hike the trail again?

Nope, Once is enough.

8. Did you enjoy your time on the trail?

Yes, and no. Yes because of the landscape, the trail, the scenery and the people all beautiful and unforgettable. No because I found it really tough and a bit depressing in some parts. {Why depressing?} Depressing because the weather was very bad, a lot of rain and grey skies and the moors can be very psychologically dragging on you.

9. What is one thing you wish you knew before you hikes the trail?

I would have taken more time at Hawes Youth Hostel for their great breakfast, I rushed out the door because of the long day I had ahead. And If I can have one more, I would have taken more time to always tighten my boots properly (can help prevent a lot of blisters!!).

Ouch! A bad blister

10. Best day on the trail?

Hadrian’s Wall

11. Best campsite

Is definitely Squirrel Wood Campsite and Lodges. I stayed there for two nights even though I only arranged one. The weather was so bad, I decided I would stay a second. The owner helped me get back and too the trail. A really great experience.

12. Best Cafe

The Tees’pot on the Pennine Way

13. Trails Sabrina has completed: