THE LYKE WAKE WALK is a complete crossing of the North Yorkshire moors along their main east-west watershed between the Stone at grid reference 470994 and the Trig point at 971012, a distance of approximately 40 miles. Every person who completes a crossing of the Lyke Wake Walk on foot within a period of 24 hours, and who reports it to the Club, is eligible for membership. There is no membership fee. Female members are titled Witch and males are titled Dirger.
The New Lyke Wake Club was deeply shocked and saddened by the recent unexpected passing of its Club Chairman Brain Smailes. Brian was recovering in hospital from a serious stroke when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Our sympathies are extended to Michelle, Pam, Edwin and Jonathan at this difficult time. The New Lyke Wake Club will be forever in his debt. We have added this obituary to the website..
Covid-19: If you are planning to attempt a Crossing please adhere to the latest Government guidelines, particularly as regards social distancing. Bear in mind that the Lion Inn will be closed and public transport and taxis may be more limited than usual. Please follow the latest guidance from the National Park website.
If hoping to cross later this year, please follow ongoing events through:
- Current Government website
- New Lyke Wake Club website
- North York Moors National Park Authority
before going ahead.
The 2020 Wake was held on Saturday 14th March, again at Swan House Bed & Breakfast, Trenholme Bar, Northallerton, just ahead of the restrictions on social gatherings. A report will follow in due course.
All other news items are on the News page.
As usual, please respect the moors (Countryside Code) taking particular care during periods of adverse weather. During hot weather there can be a severe fire risk and the route may be closed at short notice – more about this on the Preparations page. Winter can be equally challenging: the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge was cut off for eight days in December 2010.
Please avoid any disturbance to people who live on or near the route. Please refrain from bringing vehicles into Osmotherley and Ravenscar during ‘antisocial’ hours and likewise avoid making noise near residential areas such as Scugdale. And please ensure that all gates are closed after your party has gone through to prevent livestock escaping.
Equally, please take care not to disturb wildlife on this fragile environment that is home to a number of rare and important species. This is particularly true on Fylingdales Moor, which is now managed for conservation by the Hawk and Owl Trust.
Here you will find all the information you need to:
- tell you about the Walk;
- organise and achieve your crossing successfuly and safely;
- report your crossing to the Club;
- buy badges, clothing etc to celebrate your crossing, and
- come to Wakes to socialise with others who have made the crossing.
The New Lyke Wake Club does itself not organise crossings of the Lyke Wake Walk. On occasions we become aware of forthcoming crossings: this page has details of these. Naturally, since the New Lyke Wake Club does not organise these crossings it can be in no way held responsible or accountable for any aspect of them.
In addition you can:
- Read about Bill Cowley who, with others, made the first crossing and founded the original Club;
- Discover the history of the Lyke Wake Walk;
- learn more about the Lyke Wake Dirge;
- Read about the Club’s exhibition at the Ryedale Folk Museum.
- Read the Club's Objectives and Rules
The new club, a members' club, is a non-profit-making body whose stated objects are: -
- promoting interest in the North Yorkshire Moors, their history and folklore.
- assisting in safeguarding the moorland environment.
- encouraging the sports of long-distance walking and running.
- providing advice and fellowship for those taking part.
With the new Club on a sound financial footing, we intend to use the Club’s income from merchandise sales etc to the advantage of the community. So far the Club has helped with the upkeep of part of the route, made a substantial donation to Search and Rescue and sponsored a children’s essay competition in conjunction with the National Park. We also offer modest grants to young Dirgers and Witches who are unemployed or in full time education, in order to help them participate in an adventurous activity, project or training. More information is on our grants page.
THE NEW LYKE WAKE CLUB is dedicated to the memory of the late BILL COWLEY, who, with others, made the first crossing of the LYKE WAKE WALK on 1st—2nd October 1955.
Bill died on 14th August 1994. The ‘Old’ Lyke Wake Club closed down on its 50th anniversary on 1st October 2005. We regret the closure of the ‘Old’ club, but look forward to the future. We believe the ‘New’ Lyke Wake Club has a valuable function in recording crossings, arranging meetings in the form of Wakes for like-minded individuals and in campaigning for responsible access to the Cleveland moors under the CROW Act 2000.
THE COUNCIL OF ELDERS
The club is managed by a Council, which consists of the elected officers plus every Past Master and Past Mistress. The council of Elders meets formally at least once a year, but discusses issues informally on an ongoing basis.
The club supports
- reducing moorland erosion.
- defining the Lyke Wake Walk as a right-of-way.
- marking the Lyke Wake Walk on Ordnance Survey maps.
- discouraging excessively large groups on the Lyke Wake Walk.
- creating and implementing a programme for path repair and waymarking.
ALL EXISTING DIRGERS AND WITCHES are entitled to membership of the new club. Please fill out this contact slip and send it or email it to the hon. secretary.
You might also be able to help us to find other dirgers. Bill Cowley's filing system consisted of a tea-chest into which he threw letters after he had replied to them. When the tea-chest was full Bill made a bonfire of the contents and started again. Not much has changed since. Consequently our mailing list started out somewhat scanty. We shall be most grateful for any names and addresses you can let us have.
If you have a website please link to us! This will also help lost dirgers and witches to find us. The address to link to is http://www.lykewake.org
To be kept informed of Club events, please either:
- send a small pile of SAEs to our contact address:
Gerry Orchard, General Secretary NLWC,
Angram Grange, Cold Kirby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire YO7 2HL
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS
The club maintains this website www.lykewake.org which is regularly updated. The secretary, Gerry Orchard, is happy to reply to E-mails sent to We know that not all members have an E-mail address. For members with a postal address the club prints off the website information as a Newsletter and this is always available. Please write to Gerry Orchard, enclosing an A5 stamped, self-addressed envelope. We are sorry but because of the high cost of postage, it is impractical to send out a postal Newsletter to everyone each time we update the website