All Pennine Way walkers, and indeed virtually all those who have walked on Cross Fell, will know Gregs Hut on the Pennine Way on what is a lengthy stage from Dufton to Garrigill where sadly there is limited accommodation following the closure of the pub. Be warned and book up your accommodation early or you will end up walking an additional four or so miles to Alston on top of the sixteen to Garrigill! Both places give welcome rest to walkers in benign surroundings. Greg’s Hut is situated at a strategic place on the Pennine Way just to the north of the summit of Cross Fell which is the highest point in the Pennine Chain. In my early Wainwright Guide book on the Pennine Way it is shown on his map as a ruined cottage. In fact the hut had served as a ‘shop’ where miners stayed during the week whilst working as going back to Garrigill was a twelve mile round journey with similar distances to the Eden Valley. Similar places can be found in the North Pennines with one restored at the Killhope Lead Mine Museum in Upper Weardale and managed by Durham County Council. The ruin later served as possible shelter for shepherds should the weather catch people out.
The hut was subsequently restored by the Mountain Bothies Association to give two rooms one of which has a stove and a sleeping platform. The hut is named after John Gregory who was born in 1928 and who was sadly killed in a climbing accident in the Alps in 1968. His parents funded much of the restoration in memory of their son. The hut is maintained by the Greg’s Hut Association who have recently replaced the two windows made by John Mitchell, which are a better fit than the ones they replaced, and also allow more light into the hut as the other windows were opaque. They also intend to point the outside walls of the porch before the onset of winter to prevent snow being blown in. Over the years there must have been hundreds of walkers who have benefited from their work and the work of the Mountain Bothies Association and hopefully appreciated what the volunteers have done for them in providing either temporary shelter or a place to sleep for the night. Greg’s Hut is the only bothie on the Pennine Way although there are the two shelters on the Cheviots at Lamb Hill and north of Auchope Cairn managed by Northumberland County Council and cleaned and maintained by their Voluntary Rangers which serve a similar purpose.
Gregs Hut is part of the Northern England and Borders branch of the Mountain Bothies Association whose Area Organiser is David Moorat whose email address is firstname.lastname@example.org whilst the current Chairman of Greg’s Hut Association is Mike Graham who can be contacted by email at email@example.com. The Mountain Bothies Association have a good website for those who want further information on this excellent organisation who maintain many bothies in remote parts of Scotland.