Archive for the ‘Crossing report’ Category

Crossing Report, Saturday 3rd June 2017

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Crossing Report

It’s 1.30am, Saturday 3rd June. A sleek black car wheels noiselessly into Sheepwash car park and out step four large men, all in the prime of life. A small, red empty car is the only other thing there. Chatting quietly, the men grab teas and coffees from flasks and sort their equipment for the day ahead. They seek out various locations in the car park to relieve themselves before setting off. Some stand quite close to the red car. Mysteriously, laughter is suddenly heard. Oh dear, it seems the car wasn’t empty after all; when we arrived the two occupants must have been in a prone position for some reason. What on earth had they been doing at that time of the night? And what were they laughing at now????

Anyway, leaving that aside, we set off on the journey. Three were returning for their 2nd crossing – Chris Wood (2013), John Bamford (80s sometime), and Nick Coombes (2013). Joining them for his first attempt was Derek Lunn, who’d come down from Hawick in Scotland, with a previous best ever effort of 20 miles, completed over his local Scottish hills, by way of preparation.

The walk through the woods by headtorch was atmospheric to say the least. Before long day broke cool and cloudy – ideal walking weather, in fact. The pace was steady, the rucksacks were full and, as we discovered afterwards, we were all thinking “Not gonna make this!” but no-one actually said so. By the time we hit Urra Moor and began the long plod towards Bloworth and on to the Lion at Blakey, the sun was well and truly in control, the clouds were receding and the suncream was going round like a pass-the-parcel present.

The moors were glorious; a riot of birdlife. Curlews, grouse, quail, lapwings, skylarks and many others beyond our capacity to identify, were in abundance. Truly delightful.

Checkpoint 3 to 4 passed without incident – everyone kept dry feet, thanks to the recent dry weather. The “Startled Me Clean Out Of Me Boots!” award went to Chris, who on several occasions found a grouse shooting out from almost under his feet, where they had hidden until the very last moment before fleeing with a loud squawk and a flurry of wings.

4 to 5 seemed to take forever, perhaps because it did. 5 to 6 was a killer too – it never seemed to end. By this time our pace had slackened somewhat and we had all turned a brighter shade of pink. Derek and John had for some hours been assisted in their progress by powerful painkilling remedies for painful hips and knees. The prescription medication had had a profoundly beneficial effect on John in particular, who floated effortlessly some 2 feet above the heather for the last 27 miles of the trip, singing songs by the Bee Gees, Status Quo, Level 42, Roy Wood and anyone else for that matter.

At long, long last, however, the beacon was reached, the stone was patted, photos were taken, and the Ravenscar hotel bar was treated to an olfactory assault to the dismay of the well-dressed diners, and we quaffed a few watching the sun bring down the curtain on a fabulous day. Skilful navigation from John and Chris had kept us on course throughout. Special thanks must go to Nicola Coombes in particular and to Julie Wood for tireless support at checkpoints 3 and 5, and for the lifts home at the end of an 18 hour epic. The last word, however, goes to Derek Lunn, who had attempted the walk knowing it was far beyond anything he had previously undertaken, and who refused to yield to the heat, the pain, the tired legs, the frankly ridiculous quantities of English flatulence, and the appalling jokes of the assembled company, and never once complained! What a great effort, and what a grand day.

Crossing, 1st October 2018

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Crossing Report No 3

Well, it had to happen, didn’t it? We’d done it twice before from Osmotherley, and the allure of the potential title “Master Of Misery” was impossible to resist. So we agreed to make an attempt on a third – and unsupported –  East to West crossing. Parking the car on a small spot of hard standing just a few yards from the Ravenscar beacon, we set out from the stone shortly after 7.00 a.m. on Monday 1st October – the 63rd anniversary of the very first crossing back in the mists of time….

Luckily for us the mists of time were nowhere to be seen as we began on a clear and cool morning with a slight headwind for company. Above us the clouds looked vaguely threatening but were sliding past, and gradually cleared towards the southeast without bothering us. We were travelling light, alternately jogging and walking, with our eyes on a 12 hour crossing.

It was strange crossing Jugger Howe Beck with fresh legs! Navigating was pretty straightforward as we made a beeline for Lilla Cross, then veered away from Fylingdales to drop down to Eller Beck Bridge. By this time the sun was out, the clouds were gone, visibility was extremely good and a freshening breeze from the northwest kept us cool. We followed our noses past that to arrive at Simon Howe and onward to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck, and on up to the road. We were beset by a tad of indecision as to the best line from here, resulting in a spot of heatherwork to find and join the best path we could alongside the Wheeldale Plantation. We arrived at the Blue Man-i-th-moss and pressed on, with thoughts of a lunch stop at the Lion already uppermost in our minds. The path across the peat proved pretty benign thanks to the baking summer, and we came through unscathed save for one or two brief muddy squelches – just enough to soak the trainers but no worse. On reaching the roads at Rosedale Head we jogged round to the pub where the nutritional repast of choice for elite athletes like ourselves – a huge plate of chips and a pint of coca-cola – went down a treat. Six hours gone and on schedule.

Leaving the comfort of the seats in the pub was psychologically damaging, and we emerged to join “the long and winding road,” as someone once said, that leads not to your door in this case, but to Bloworth Crossing. This proved to be extremely tedious and tiring in equal measure, in the face of a fresh headwind. Our efforts at running decreased and the time spent plodding went up accordingly. But all bad things come to an end, and the section across Urra Moor and down to the road crossing at the foot of Hasty Bank saw us making better progress. We manfully skirted round the Wainstones, choosing instead to trot through the woods of the Broughton Plantation, and continued on to pass the Lord Stones Café somewhere around 5pm. Fortified by ham and egg sandwiches that had earlier been acquired at the lunch stop, we felt that victory was within our grasp. By this time it had started to rain gently, so it was time to don the raincoats and raise the hoods. Up we gasped onto Carlton Bank, and then enjoyed the gentle descent across and down to Live Moor Plantation and Huthwaite green, to which we were briefly chased by an all too friendly large greyhound that seemed, perhaps understandably, to have mistaken our lower legs for a couple of pairs of  chicken bones.

Passing through Clain Wood our spirits were considerably lifted by glances at the watch, which revealed that our time was good. Emerging at the cattle grid, we made our way cheerfully to the finishing stone, even managing to take in the last few hundred metres at a shambling shuffle, if not a true run. Nevertheless we stopped the clock in 11 hrs 33 minutes. Job done! Time to go home and rejoice in the misery of it all….

 

Nick Coombes

John Bamford

Crossing date: 1st October 2018

Saturday 27th July 2013, Chris Wood and Nick Coombes

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

What follows is the Lyke Wake Report of Chris Wood and Nick Coombes, of West Ayton and East Ayton respectively, following their maiden crossing of Saturday 27th July 2013…

Now here’s a tale I’d like to tell,
Like many heard before
It tells of how two youngsters
Set off to conquer the moor.

Two pals they were from Ayton village
One’s East, and one’s from West,
They came not to set records,
But to put themselves to the test.

Handsome and bold, fearless and brave
These young men were – ‘tis true,
And the years they held between ‘em
Only totalled a hundred and two.

They drove off from their village
In the middle of a moonlit night
The stars shone brightly to guide their way
It was a magnificent sight.

They parked by Cod Beck reservoir
And filled up on sarnies and tea
They planned to start at 4 o’clock sharp
But first they both needed a pee.

That done, they started up the slope,
as Brian’s book says you should.
The skies were clear and dawn was breaking
As they journeyed along Scarth Wood.

They passed on through and climbed the steps
With nary a thought of stopping
And as the sun rose on Drake Howe Hill
They spotted Roseberry Topping.

At checkpoint 2 they stopped to put on
Suncream and drink water.
Then undeterred and without a word
They went on like lambs to the slaughter.

They lengthened their stride cross Urra Moor
The pace got slightly faster.
Bloworth Crossing came and went,
Thoughts turned to beer and pasta.

At the Lion Inn they met their team
Just seven hours had passed.
The supporters gave out sandwiches
Which they gobbled down real fast.

Refreshed, they stood and thanked their team,
Clean socks on their smelly feet.
Then on they pressed to the old Ralph Cross –
Ahead lay the path of peat.

The summer heat had helped them;
T’was mostly dry and spongey.
But here and there still lurked some spots
Of bog, which were quite gungey.

And so of course it came to pass,
As the Gods of the moors may please,
That Chris fell into a deepish hole
And sank right up to his knees.

His partner Nick ran to lend a hand
But Chris climbed out unaided.
He seemed to have gained a pair of socks –
Dark brown and fairly jaded.

As they continued across the peat
They suffered the briefest of showers,
But little did they know what lay in store
In the following couple of hours.

Onward now the heroes pressed
Past checkpoint 4 they strode
Their target was now Eller Beck
But their pace had slightly slowed.

And as they passed the Man i’ th’ Moss
Their cheerfulness was banished
As, despite the line of dots on the map,
The path had completely vanished!

From north to south across the moor
By heather they were confronted
Some of it old, some of it tall,
And some of it quite stunted.

No trace of a passage could they espy –
The heather had covered it all.

No choice remained but to stagger on through
Trip, stumble, slip and fall.

They gained a lot of knowledge there
About Yorkshire’s moorland heather:
That it scratches your legs to hell and back
And seems to go on forever.

But with never-ending fortitude
They finally prevailed,
Their courage never faltered;
Their spirit never failed.

And as they neared checkpoint 5
Where more sustenance awaited,
A beautiful adder crossed their path
Which left them both elated.

Now at this point it’s fair to say,
The two were feeling shattered.
A cup of tea and a slice of cake
Were all that really mattered.

And there she was, the maiden fair,
Standing by the beck
Across the moor came Nick and Chris
And they were neck and neck.

Nick’s wife and son were there again
Five hours since the pub.
They fed the walkers and saw them off
Refreshed by tea and grub.

The day of toiling in the sun
Had left our heroes dirty,
The homeward push was on them now,
The clock stood at 5.30.

They trudged on up to Lilla Cross
In view of the “big cheese grater.”
They knew that they would finish now
The question was “sooner – or later?”

They wondered how other travellers
Could do it in rain or snow.
Because, despite the good weather,
The legs were beginning to go.

But finally, despite the pain
The Beacon hove into view,
They crawled along those final miles
And reached it at 8.32.

Still not content with the victory
They pressed on to the Raven Hall bar.
It took thirty minutes for that last mile –
The hardest one by far!

Exhausted, grimy, weary and worn,
They sat and supped their beer,
And said to each other, with a strange sort of grin
“Shall we do it again – next year?”

Crossing 28th July 1982……………………

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

I am writing this letter as an addition to my son’s report. As a witch who made my one and only crossing at the age of 18 on 28th July 1982 (copy Condolence Card attached) I would like to apply for membership of the New Lyke Wake Club in my married name of Catherine Thorn.

However I think you may be interested in the circumstances of my crossing, as therein lies a possibly forgotten piece of Lyke Wake history.

A proud son of Yorkshire, Brian Robinson by name, had moved to Norfolk to work as a school teacher at Earlham High School in Norwich. For a time from the late 1970s to the early 1980s he would lead a party of sixth formers (with a few of his fellow teachers) on an annual trip to attempt the Lyke Wake Walk. My late father Jim Hooley was a colleague of his; being a fellow northerner (albeit from the other side of the Pennines) he shared Brian’s enthusiasm for this madcap project, and having completed his own crossing with one of the first of Brian’s parties (in the days when you still had to walk down into Ravenscar to sign your name in the book at the hotel) he would go on subsequent trips to help with the support. It was through this that I came to join the 1982 trip. I enclose copies of photographs from my Dad’s album. The top two are of some of us in mid attempt; I am the one with the blonde hair and yellow cagoule. The bottom two are of us revisiting the end point on the following day; in the left hand one, three of us who reached the finish together (I am the one on the left) are reconstructing our triumphant final lunge for the transmitter (which you could touch in those days); on the right is a larger team photo taken next to the transmitter. I am delighted to report that all but one person in the party making the attempt managed the crossing, which is a testament to the hardiness of Norfolk people.

(Totally unconnected circumstances led to me and my husband setting up home in Helmsley in 1996 and bringing up our family here, by the way.)

I am sure that my Dad would be delighted that doing the crossing and then supporting the next generation to do so is now becoming a family tradition. Indeed my husband is hoping to make another attempt next year, possibly in the company of our older son Alex; I will certainly be in support, possibly with Tom – although he may be making a second crossing in the hope of beating my time!

With kind regards,

Catherine Thorn

     

    

Crossing Report: Monday 27th August 2018

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Having lived in Helmsley for the entirety of my childhood, and also having a ‘witch’ for a mother, the Lyke Wake Walk had always been something on the agenda of things to do which I knew, in reality, would probably never get done. However, with four close family deaths within the space of nine months, including two grandparents, I believed that there was no better time than now to complete the Dirge in their memory.

I had once made an attempt as a spry 15 year old, only to resurrect a knee injury at the half way mark. Now as an infirm 20 year old, it was finally time to put aside all doubt that I could endure such physical and mental hardship. Moreover, in the time since my naïve teenage attempt, I had become a student in London, and was now on the committee for the Barts and the London Alpine Club; specializing mainly in country pub jaunts over any kind of physical endurance (it is a student organization after all!).

Joining me for the challenge was my father. He had just recovered from flu the week before and, in his still delusional state, had proposed the crossing. (A decision he would later come to regret.) Mum took on the role of support, a witch who could impart her wisdom, and Tunnock’s wafers, whenever required.

The decision as a student to get out of bed at 5am is never one which is taken lightly, nor without sincere conviction. The start time from the stone at Osmotherly was 06:15, much later than we would have liked as it would mean finishing in the dark (if we got that far!). The mantra was just to think about getting to the Lion Inn, as this is where we would have our first support from Mum, and also because even if we had to bow out there, it would still have been a lovely day out.

The up and down along the early sections of the Cleveland Way were no obstacle for my mountaineering background; unfortunately no Eagle Owl was spotted at the Wain Stones (the bank holiday is probably his day off). We actually found the flat monotony of the old train line from Bloworth Crossing to be more agonizing on the legs. We made good time to the Lion, only stopping once for the little boys’ room at the Lordstones country park. We had our first rendezvous with Mum at the Lion, topping up our water and wolfing down the cheese and pickle sandwiches provided.

However, it was at this point that Dad started to regret his decision to undertake the walk so soon after having had the flu. His pace was slowing from the Lion, and he was forever checking his pulse, worried he might have overdone it for a 56 year old.

Mum had always said that from Shunner Howe, you can see RAF Fylingdales far off in the distance, however it is imperative that you must never gaze upon it, for as a watched pot never boils, a watched RAF Fylingdales never gets any nearer; this advice is quite true. With quite a lot of encouragement to Dad, we finally made it to Eller Beck. It was here that Dad realized that if he carried on, we wouldn’t be finished until late into the night. It was here that he reluctantly (and in my opinion very wisely) pulled out of the Dirge. It was now up to me to complete the final 8 miles, solo, while Dad and Mum went for hot chocolates at the Raven Hall Hotel.

The light was waning as I looked out from Lilla Cross toward the finish, just being able to make out the mast that marked the finish in the fading light. It was also at this point that I noticed that my headtorch wasn’t working, and also that the lid on the Ribena in my rucksack had decided to unscrew itself; all remaining food and clothing was now soaked and sticky. Naturally navigation became an issue on the descent from Lilla Cross to Juggers Beck. (The one section of the walk – and probably the whole North York Moors – which I had never walked before.) I could easily take a bearing on my compass but it was not being able to see the map and compass itself which was the issue. With some luck, I made it down into Jugger Beck. According to Mum, this is the point which most people find the most difficult, as it really is like a ravine, (not that I could see that it was). I must say I quite enjoyed using some different muscle groups to the previous 20 miles.

Making it to A171, I knew that there was only one last effort over the moor to go. Mum called me from near the finish, and asked if I could see her headtorch in the distance. I could! And it only looked to be a few hundred metres away! But, just like Fylingdales, and just like so many other things on this walk, it never seems to get any nearer. It was a long 2 miles. But that headtorch eventually transformed into Mum, and the Dirge was over. The total time was 16 hours and 15 minutes.

I think I should like to do the Dirge again, maybe even a winter crossing is in the offing, but for now, I’ll let my feet rest a while longer.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Thorn

THE LYKE WAKE WALK – CROSSING 27TH/28TH AUGUST 2018

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

START TIME 19:30, 27/08/2018
FINISH 13:40 28/8/2018

PARTICIPANTS:

Stevie Clark
Stu Franklin
Sam Franklin (age 17)
Nikki Pattison (f)

It was with much trepidation that I agreed a further attempt at this challenge walk as a few years ago the Gods were against us and we had a torrid time, finally admitting defeat just past Flyingdales.

With daylight hours being less at this time of year it was decided to make a start just before dusk as the first part of the walk is easier to navigate and we might get a second wind when the sun comes up. As with most challenge walks you can prepare physically, carry the things you will need whilst keeping weight low, and have adequate food and drink. What you can’t legislate for is the weather conditions on the day.
Fortunately on this occasion we were blessed with dry conditions, some cloud covering and almost a full moon which lent some illumination during the hours of darkness. Other than a few cars at Osmotherley car park and one or two returning day hikers we saw no-one once we began the crossing until we topped up our water supplies at a farm in the morning.

It was almost torch time within minutes although the moonshine helped when reflecting off the stones of the Cleveland Way. The consensus was that walking during the night seemed to help pass the time as concentration levels had to be higher and you couldn’t see the climbs ahead! It was a beautiful sight in its own right looking out over the lights of Teesside and the ascent of the moon. Despite the tough climbs in the earlier part of the crossing we were making good progress. My Garmin registered 10.9 miles by midnight and a whopping 202 floors climbed 184 descended (a floor equates to approx. 3m – only a few floors will have been prior to the start).

Of course starting in the evening meant no opportunity to call into a café or pub so our first stop of note was on the road just before the boggy section. All four of us literally lay prostate on the road to stretch out our backs, get some food down and personally I let the air at my feet. The next section over the boggy ground was horrific a few years ago but on this occasion in the main it was ok. The posts which had fallen are still not back in place and it could still be very easy to stray off track. Signage from this point on is very poor and map reading skills I would suggest are essential. It was heartening to see the first glimpses of daylight as we arrived at Hamer.

The effects of such a trek were now starting to take their toll along with general tiredness from being awake all night (and previous day). My wife Gwen and Stu’s wife Helen who had been our emergency extraction team will have had a full nights rest and now be making their way to Osmotherley to collect one parked car and then proceed to Ravenscar. Their early morning text just said – ‘so far so good, eta at finish 12:30’. This time seemed reasonable given our position and progress to this point, however understandably we slowed and kept putting the eta back.

Conversation had all but dried up and it was just a case of one foot in front of the other. It was wonderful to see Lilla Cross and our destination but it appeared to keep getting further away! Jugger Howe ravine was a killer – the descents were tougher on our tender feet than the ascents. Arriving at the finish stone was certainly more relief than jubilation. It is only on reflection when with a beer in hand, sitting in the garden at The Ravenscar Hotel overlooking those fantastic views that a sense of achievement comes.

We will all relay tales of the crossing for years to come.

Yours, with respect

S.Clark

Left to right: Stevie, Sam, Stu, Nikki.

And not forgetting Gwen and Helen!

Crossing – 19-20 August 2018

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Dear Gerry,

It is with a heavy heart that I find myself writing you a letter of this grave nature. I represent Wyke 6th Form College in Hull and more specifically the Purple Arrows, Wyke College’s Staff Adventure Group.

The Purple Arrows were formed in 2015 by Andrew Dunne and Christopher G Herring, the focus of the ‘Arrows’ is to challenge staff physically though world renowned outdoor challenges. The group is made up of seasoned veterans Andrew Dunne, Christopher G Herring, Andrea Mason, Samantha Young ( 4 tours) + Kate Clark, Mark Rothery, David Pickering (3 tours) + Toni Knight, Mel Matthews, Amy Rothery, Sarah Thackeray (2 tours) and new recruits Hollie Blakeston and Andrew Bentley. I’m sure you will agree that the ‘Arrows’ are an experienced, no nonsense bunch of rag tag thrill seekers.

For reference- Tours of Duty

2015 – Yorkshire Three Peaks = Completed
2016 – National Three Peaks = Completed
2017 – Crib Goch/Snowdon Horseshoe = Completed
2018 – Lyke Wake Walk (19&20th August) = Completed
(This walk was completed by all of the people named above, in 22 hours)

All persons named above set out on the Lyke Wake Walk at 3:50pm on 19th August 2018. Nobody had any idea what would be waiting for them over the next 22 Hours. The trek began with the group in high spirits, the sun shining and the birds singing. Nothing could go wrong, surely. Quickly the rain came down, the mist closed in and the darkness descended. Our spirits died that night as the blisters spread and the road never shortened. We nearly lost Mason in the Peat Bog as she sunk to her knees. Pickering nearly died three times as a result of physical exertion. Young turned from a polite young lady to a swearing docker’s wife and the new recruits vowed never to fly again with the Purple Arrows. This pain and punishment was relentless, crushing dreams and bodies for the next ten hours.

So to my complaint. Whoever is responsible for this challenge should be held to account for the creation of this act of lunacy. 13 good people still lay broken at the end of the trail. This challenge is no laughing matter, it is recklessly and negligently prompted to unsuspecting victims such as ourselves. I demand answers, I demand retribution, I demand compensation (in the form of a certificate each and any other paraphernalia you may possess). This is not a challenge to be taken lightly and it has cost us our souls and our dignity. The only thing that stopped us falling into the abyss was the unconditional care and attention provided by our support Team, Jim Darmody and Larysa Diak (3 tours each). This challenge is impossible without a dedicated support team willing to work through the night for the sake of their friends.

We completed this challenge In 22 hours as shadows of our former selves.

I hope you act upon the concerns I have raised and feel suitably chastised.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher G Herring
Co Founder of the Purple Arrows Wyke Staff Adventure Group,
Wyke 6th Form College

Crossing 02nd July 2018

Friday, August 17th, 2018

40 plus years since I first wanted to do the crossing and almost a year since a gruelling failed attempt, Georgia my daughter and I set off from Osmotherley at dawn on the 2nd July. Georgia had flown in from Dubai and we had driven up from Hertfordshire.

We enjoyed the climbs of the first 10 miles, so much so that I was distracted by the warning sign about the territorial Eurasian Eagle Owl and went off the path. We ended up scrambling round the Wainstones into the very lair of the beast which seemed preferable to me than casting around with a terrifying drop behind us (gentle slope my daughter said). But we avoided the bird and came across the main path and wondered how we could have got off what looked like a motorway.

Our first stop, at Clay Bank Road, found us sitting on picnic chairs at a table where a camping stove was brewing tea and cooking bacon thanks to Malcolm and Colin of Weathergoatwalks. The walkers arriving on their minibuses for the next stretch of Cleveland Way or Coast to Coast must have wondered who these lightweights were. Last year we had tried the walk unsupported and it had been hard. I asked Malcolm if we were cheating but he, always able to say the encouraging thing, said we were doing it properly. It didn’t take long to dispel our doubts!

The railway section was hot, very dusty and boring and the Lion Inn was an oasis. The stretch on the road to the bog felt long as we hurried to our nemesis. In 2017 the section from the Lion Inn to the Wheeldale Road had taken us 5 hours as we wallowed and splashed and walked every way but in a straight line. This time we bounced across in 3 hours, not even a wet boot sole. The Wheeldale Road marked the point in 2017 when as darkness fell we decided not to continue over unknown ravines and moors with headtorches. This time we were in good time and a cup of tea and some fruit cake gave us rocket fuel.

At this point Georgia seemed to be upping the pace and when asked why said that her feet (in new boots) were hurting and she wanted to get to the end. This gradual increase in pace continued till the last 2 miles of the whole walk were almost done at a run! The sections to Eller Beck and Jugger Howe were just enjoyable walking – much more enjoyable than 2 weeks previously when Georgia’s brother Toby had helped me try the final sections of the walk and we had been subjected to an unbelievable tropical deluge where every piece of waterproof equipment failed and dry paths turned into torrents.

The only clouds of the day had rolled in from the sea over the first set of hills, so we never saw the Beacon, just took it on faith that it was there and ploughed on, me in Georgia’s wake. Malcolm and Colin were there at the end to cheer us on, take the photos and drive us in style to the Falcon Inn, where we were just in time for a pint and a glass of red wine.
After – a year of obsessive preparation; a whole new suite of waterproof kit ( unused); about 20 litres of water and 4 cups of fresh brewed tea; and just over 15 hours of walking we were left with a buzz which 6 weeks on is still there and a little voice which is telling me to do it again!
John & Georgia, Hertfordshire

Crossing Friday 3 August 2018

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

The idea of the crossing had been in the air for months and months with a date tentatively voiced for `early August`. As August rolled near many kept asking `so when are you actually doing it?` It was time for definitive action! So at 4.10 am on Friday 3 August we set off from Durham to Osmotherley with the words still echoing round the car `have you done much training for this?….me neither!` By the time we parked up and found the starting point BoroBoy and Geordie set off at 5.24am with the sun rising and a gentle wind on our backs.

Good progress was made over the first 18 miles, breakfast was a combination of raisin bakes and jelly babies washed down by water…lots of water! The views were wonderful and the company great as we discussed the merits of our respective football teams, the structure of the American baseball leagues and the workings of the Tour de France. But hang on what was this? Dark clouds emerged from nowhere laden with rain and to throw an extra little spice to the occasion a few lightning forks and many rumbles of thunder. Those 2 miles to the half way point seemed immeasurably longer than 2 miles!!! The moors all of a sudden seemed inhospitable, impassable, almost begrudging our presence there.

The sight of our support vehicle was wonderful. Julie and Ellen appeared like saviours to the drowned rats. Mugs of hot tea and food that didn’t border on a dangerous sugar overdose consumed with both relish and glee. Much better….

So we set off for the next 20 miles with renewed determination with clouds still menacing overhead. The infamous boggy section lay ahead and thoughts of losing the path, sinking to our waist in goopy peat were upper most in the mind especially as visibility wasn’t great. But as if the ghosts of yesterday were helping us along, the path was surprisingly clear, the bog wasn`t so boggy and the clouds lifted and the sun eventually emerged once again.      

The final push was tough. Feet were beginning to ache and blisters starting to kick in on both feet. The light was fading but we could see our goal. The mast at Ravenscar loomed ahead and stayed there for about an hour not getting any closer so it seemed. The track was difficult to walk on with small uneven rocks underfoot making every misplaced stride feel painful and at best uncomfortable. Finally the sun disappeared and head torches were on for the last uphill climb to the finishing line. The welcoming sight of torch lights beckoning us in was simply wonderful. `Here they are!` we heard through the dark as once again Julie and Ellen provided the salvation our feet desperately craved for. We had done it…the LWW conquered at 10.20pm!!!

The box has finally been ticked after so many years of waiting to do so.

Paul Angel (BoroBoy)
Paul Donaghy (Geordie)

Support team
Julie and Ellen Angel

Crossing report – 16th June – slaying the dragon!

Monday, August 13th, 2018

The start

We departed at 7:15am on Saturday the 16th of June 2018, in a team of two brothers from Bishop Auckland, Chris (33) and Daniel (36).

With Chris leading on navigation, we sailed through the first 10 miles having walked this section before on a practice walk many years earlier. This was somewhat of a dragon-slaying mission, you see.

We’d had two attempts at the walk before, and both times we didn’t even make it to the start – the fuel crisis of 2000 and the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 stopped us in our tracks, before life left the walk behind.

Fast forward 17 years, and having achieved our first goal of getting to the start, we met our parents and their picnic chairs at our 10-mile checkpoint, and then thundered through to our girlfriends at our 20-mile checkpoint.

The heavens opened nearing our 30-mile checkpoint, and, alas, our girlfriends were nowhere to be seen due to a timing mix-up. We continued on, sliding down the valley side in a raincoat-penetrating storm.

With 33 miles on the clock, we still pretty much felt like we’d just got out of bed. That feeling would crumble fast though, the hidden ‘valley of doom’ sapping the last of our strength as we stumbled and dragged ourselves to the tower on the horizon, arriving at the hallowed stone 13.5 hours and 41 miles since departure.

A great walk – and a slayed dragon!
Daniel

                               

Still smiling at the finish……………………….