Archive for September, 2015

Tom’s Crossing Report, Date: 6th September

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Time started: 05:30
Time finished: 19:01
Weather: sunny, 19oC
Conditions underfoot: soggy in places
Route undertaken: Classic Route
Support: Dad

Having supported my Dad doing the walk several times over the past year, and after attending the Mini Wake & Dirge that accompanied the Ramblings series for the BBC being recorded earlier this year, I finally decided to give the walk a shot whilst I was still off from college. So negotiations with Mum started, and she soon agreed to let me do the walk so long as Dad was acting as my support throughout the walk. We booked a hotel in Thornaby-on-Tees so that we could get up later to get to the start rather than driving 3 ½ hours driving from home and having an even earlier getup. So with the room booked we set about getting all the stuff needed for the walk, including some walking poles for me to use, lots of bottles of Lucozade and water and several cans of Pepsi max in the days before the undertaking of the walk. I was determined to make it, Dad had some doubts about me being able to cross successfully and he’d taken the mickey out of me in his Crossing Report from last September.

On the day of the walk we arose at 04:00 and proceeded to McDonalds where we were too early to get a meal off of the breakfast menu, so I proceeded to have chicken nuggets and chips to start the day’s intake of calories, carbohydrates and protein whilst dad made do with coffee and drove to the start of the walk. Before undertaking the walk, Dad proceeded to take my photo with the Olympic Torch (check out: ) which would be travelling across with me for the 40 miles. I started the walk at 5:30 when the sun was just starting to shine some light over the horizon. After starting early in the morning I made decent progress to the surprise of Dad by making it to Clay Bank in under 3 hours (according to Dad, this is good compared to what Brian Smailes says which is around 3 and a half hours).

I continued trekking along the fast miles of the firebreak & railway and made it to Old Margery before 11 am, well ahead of the time Dad said that he reckoned I’d be there by (12pm), where I had a quick lunch and set off waking again. I made it through the boggy section and got to the random millstone near Shunner Howe at 13:10, where I then got greeted by Dad with an ice cream and had a quick refill of Lucozade’s. After the stop I made it to Blue Man in t’ Moss by 14:00 (more photos). Whilst Dad was walking back to the car at Hamer, Gerry and Julie had seen our car whilst passing and the Gerry went to see if he could find me, however he went searching the wrong way thinking that I had not made it to Hamer yet but they eventually met up with Dad. I met Dad again near Fen Bogs where he had got more ice cream. After eating several ice creams and drinking 4 cups worth of hot chocolate Dad proceeded to get me around the worst part of RAF Fylingdales and I was at Lilla Howe at 17:51.

After getting lost a bit on the moor around Lilla Howe (trying to avoid the boggy areas) I eventually made it to Jugger Howe ravine (where I caught up with a guy called Amos who started 10 minutes or so ahead of me). I was met there by Dad who walked with me and Amos up to the main road before the final trek up to Beacon Howes began. I finished the walk by touching the LWW stone at 20:04 just as it was edging into twilight. More Olympic Torch photos – a new version of Candle Leet for this Walk!! So Dad was proved wrong, I did it. A good day for the Club – 2 new Dirgers, me & Amos (also Dad can now get his Supporters Badge).

Thomas Evans

Bromley Volunteer Police (Met) Cadets. 6th August 2015.

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

At 3.30 am, on Thursday 6th August a group of Bromley Volunteer Police (Met) Cadets and their leaders, huddled round a small granite stone trying to make out the words ‘Lyke Wake Walk’ on it in the gloomy darkness. Mutterings of “What the hell are we doing this for?” and “It’s too early” could be heard from the group, which wasn’t surprising as the majority of them were teenagers.

The stone was of course in Osmotherley and this was the start of the 42 mile trek across the North Yorkshire Moors.

Cadets Chris, Alice, Poppy, Joe, James, Katy and Daisy had all volunteered to attempt the crazy challenge offered to them by their equally crazy adult leaders Neill, Beverley, Gareth, Dean and Alex. All of them determined to cross the finish line in Ravenscar in less than the required 24 hours. For one adult leader, Gareth, completing this monstrous task alone wasn’t enough. Being an ex army wanted to do it carrying a full military pack!

We set off a good pace, but it was less than 2 hours in when we noticed our first problem. Daisy, one of our cadets, was lagging behind and struggling. A short investigation discovered the reason why fairly quickly. She was carrying about 8 litres of water in her pack!!! Having relieved her of some of the burden, she transformed from slowest to fastest in the group in the blink of an eye.

The next few hours went well. Teenagers being what they are, and not being able to leave the comfort of their phones behind, brought music with them. Cadet Joe, and James, kept the groups spirits up with singalongs and ‘Hot Fuzz’ impressions.

All was going well until we reached checkpoint two. Here we were to meet our support team of which there was no sign. As it turned out, they were still back at the hostel tucking into a hearty breakfast. They tried to blame the traffic for setting us behind by 45 mins, but we all know the truth! That said, there were no more hiccups and we met them at every checkpoint on time thereafter.

The way forward was good and we made good progress, if not a little tedious along the disused railway track which seemed to stretch on forever across Farndale Moor. But eventually a physically, as well as mentally, tired group stopped for lunch in the car park of the Lion at Blakey Ridge.

We were feeling good and pleased with our progress so far. There had been no injuries or blisters and the creaking of the leaders knees were drowned out by the youngster’s music.

But then came the BOG! We were fortunate that it had been fairly dry in the preceding weeks and so it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been. But walking in squelchy mud on very tired limbs is always hard, especially as it went on for over 8 miles. Katy, who carried a pre-hike injury, refused to accept help and was determined not to quit, trudged on regardless.

It was great to see the Fylingdale RAF radar in the distance, even if it never did seem to get any closer as we trudged across Wheeldale moor and on to High Moor. Glimpses of the radio mast, our final destination, lifted spirits. Nobody dared to mention that we still had many miles still to go to reach it.
As we dropped down into Jugger Howe Beck, it seemed like a good idea at the time to kick of the boots and soak the toes in the stream. It was blissfully good for a while, until we realised that the sun was setting and it was prime time for the midge community to come out for dinner. Boots were hurriedly put on and the next hour was spent frantically waving hands about in front of faces to swipe the little blighters away.

By now we were taking on casualties. Joe, James, and Chris were walking like extras in the Michael Jackson Thriller video. Beverley and Poppy were jogging backwards and forwards looking after them all, Gareth was stumbling forwards mumbling incoherently about the lights flashing in front of his eyes (Poppy was trying to light the path in front of him with a torch so he didn’t trip), Dean was walking at a snails pace with his head down, Alex’s knees had been bad from the off and he took up the role of ‘Increasingly Tail End Charlie’. Whilst Andy, Alice and Daisy (the water carrier) now took the lead and plodded onwards.

At the final checkpoint, it was suggested by the support crew that ‘because we only had 2 km left, we had done enough to say we’d completed it’. This was unanimously refused, even though the group were dead on their feet. We pushed on towards where the radio mast was, although it was now dark and it wasn’t lit. The final 2000 mts was paced out in 100 mt intervals and counted down. So that we reached the tower in a final time of 19 and a half hours.

Totally exhausted, we fell into the minibus in silence. It was dark and we couldn’t see the finishing stone and was told by Andy that, according to the map, it was another 200mts further on. It was only the following morning when we returned for a group photo that we discovered the real reason why we couldn’t find it. The previous evening the minibus had parked in front of it!!!

Crossing Report 21st/22nd May 2015 — Dirger Evans

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Rambling On…………..

Last year in September, I made an unplanned return to dirging & did the Lyke Wake Walk for the first time since the 1970s/80s. In March this year my mobile rang, ‘Hello Ian. My name is Karen …’ said a voice, ‘….I’m a Producer from BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings programme.’ The call was a result of one of my children posting a copy of my Lyke Wake Walk Crossing report of September 2014 on the internet. The upshot was this query from the ‘Beeb’ who had put together my Crossing report with the information that 2015 is the 60th Anniversary of the Walk resulting in this request for help to organise the recording of an episode of the programme ‘Ramblings’. The voice explained the deal – a group walks & talks with presenter Clare Balding (OBE – no less!) and the conversations are recorded and edited to make a half hour Radio4 programme. To anyone listening carefully, Dirger Evans could be heard muttering something under his breath about rambling & dirging not really being the same thing. But the thought occurred, surely making one or more BBC personnel suffer the whole 40 miles has got to be worth a year’s licence fee, at least!!! So, for good measure & to convey the appropriate sense of solemnity & menace, I quoted the first two verses of the Dirge (the Beeb voice sounded impressed!, despite the Barnsley accent). I then agreed to help out.

So the deal was struck & a date confirmed (22nd May) – all I had to do now was get a suitably impressive assembly of the Lyke Wake community; a coterie of Past Masters (plus supporting members of the lower orders) was required to relate the relevant doom laden tales as suitable warnings to the foolhardy who might be seduced by notions of doing our Walk.

It soon became apparent that the BBC had no intention of doing a complete Crossing and diplomatic negotiations resulted in the Beeb’s final offer – they would walk, talk & record from Lords Stones Café to Clay Bank. In a sudden rush of enthusiasm (and in the absence of A.N.Other volunteer victim) I agreed with the Beeb that I would do a whole crossing – it didn’t seem to be much of an ask to plan to get from the Trig Point and start at a time so as to arrive at the Café to rendezvous with the BBC to continue to Clay Bank with the assembled throng. However, it did seems a bit more of an ‘ask’ to then continue alone for the final 30 miles to the sea.

The New Club graciously and generously offered to pay for refreshments at Lords Stones as an enticement. Invites were sent out for the proposed Mini wake and subsequent Mini Dirge:

 

NEW LYKE WAKE CLUB

 Friday 22nd May 2015 – 2pm

TEA & CAKE WAKE

Lords’ Stones Café

 Please come along and meet up with other Witches & Dirgers

 Following refreshments, BBC presenter Clare Balding will walk to Clay Bank with those wishing to accompany her. A recording of conversations during the walk will be made for the Radio 4 programme ‘Ramblings’

as a celebration of the 60th Anniversary Year of the Lyke Wake Walk.

Dress Code: Come as you are or Lyke Wake dress (mourning, witches, ghouls, etc.) or Dirging/Walking gear.

For further details contact:

Gerald Orchard – gerry@tiredlegs.freeserve.co.uk

 

Everything seemed to be organised and in order for both the Ramblings recording and my proposed complete Crossing. However, two weeks before the off I had to call the BBC and let them know that it looked like I wouldn’t be doing a complete Crossing and nor would anyone else – to say the Beeb sounded disappointed is an understatement. My son who was to be my driver & would pick me up at Ravenscar now had a hot date on Saturday so I’d have to leave Yorkshire after the Ramblings recording on the Friday. So to satisfy the Beeb’s desire to have at least one victim doing the entire 40 miles, the only solution seemed to be for me to do a significant part of the Crossing the day before the Ramblings event and then finish the Crossing on the Friday. And that’s what I did. Dirger Evans left Clay Bank at 17:30 on Thursday and proceeded eastwards in an uneventful manner except for getting buzzed by an Army Apache helicopter whilst on the railway (twice), waking up a dog in Wheeldale and then being carefully observed by the occupants of an Army Landrover that drove past me, very slowly, at 1am near the Early Warning Station. It was bitterly cold in the wind whilst I waited at Beacon Howes for my lift and I don’t really remember the transit back to Ossie except being woken from my slumber whilst the car negotiated the bends at Sutton Bank. Took my time to stroll from the Trig Point to Carlton Bank and arrived at Lords Stones to find a most anguished and miserable assemblage of Dirgers and Witches. The throng included one misguided Foundation Member (Bill Dell), one Dirger who had travelled across the Atlantic(!!) for the occasion, at least 5 Past Masters including 2 Senile Centenarians (Gerry Orchard & Louis Kulscar) and Arthur Puckrin (OBE – no less!) plus a motley collection of the Lyke Wake lower orders: Dirgers & Witches; Drs of Dolefulness; Masters & Mistresses of Misery; and the like. The level of mournful anguish in evidence at this Mini Wake could easily have been mistaken for the joyful celebration of friendships being renewed (some after 50 years) and new ones being made as several generations of the Lyke Wakers congregated. An Olympic Torch appeared to general interest & bemusement.

The BBC arrived and stood bemused as they were promptly ignored by everyone such was the inconsolable revelry in full sway at Lords Stones. However, the experience & seniority of the Past Masters showed through and a degree of funereal solemnity and pious dignity was restored as the cortege (now full of tea & cake) departed in funereal single file for our first objective, Cringle Moor. Reaching the summit the Witches & Dirgers assembled as a choir and a very windy rendition of the Dirge was delivered. Much blethering and associated discussions ensued and I’m sure the BBC tape recorded was in danger of over-heating as it recorded the delivered wisdom of our motley assembly. No one seemed interested in Cold Moor which was ignored in favour of the Miners track. However, Colin Walker (Past Master), noticing Clare Balding eyeing up the low level route around Hasty Bank, took the initiative and struck up hill for the Wainstones and the rest of the procession followed with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Nothing untoward occurred over the Summit and Dirger Evans & the rest of the party duly arrived at Hagg Gate/Clay Bank at 17:15 exactly. Thanks go to Clare Balding & Karen Gregor of the BBC, for the excuse to do another Crossing and, more importantly, for providing the occasion for us all to get together in the 60th Anniversary year.

So, 23 hours 45 minutes for a Crossing, including the indulgence of two kips in the middle, one behind a drystone wall at Beacon Howes, the other in the car, followed by a leisurely stroll from the trig point to Carlton Bank plus a very enjoyable Mini Wake at Lords Stones (I’ll probably receive a censure from the Club for that last adjective!!). Seemed quite a most miserably civilised way to do things, can’t wait to get to the relevant qualifying age when I will get the extra twelve hours to increase the length of time over which a LWW ordeal can be endured!!

The BIG QUESTION remains! Does this count as a legitimate Crossing? I started & finished at Clay Bank Top (aka Hagg Gate) not the LW Stones/Trig point/Raven Hall Hotel. A humble submission has been made to the Most Esteemed Council of Elders & the Inconsolable Conclave of Past Masters to determine if the described dirging activity constitutes a legitimate Crossing (see Appendix below). The fruits of their combined deliberations & wisdom is much anticipated.

 

Appendix

The following is submitted in humble anticipation of the considered judgement of The Most Erudite & Esteemed Council of Elders and Inconsolable Conclave of Past Masters of the Lyke Wake Club.

In the case of:

Regina (aka Lady of the Manor of Goathland) (the ‘Respondent’)

vs

Dirger Evans (the ‘Appellant’)

On the dates in question, being the 21st and 22nd May in the year of our Lord 2015, the said Dirger Evans did proceed and attempt to make a humble Crossing of the most infamous & distinguished Lyke Wake Walk within the North Riding of the County of York. The said putative Crossing commenced at half past five (BST) on the first date indicated and was completed at quarter past five on the second date, being in total duration twenty three hours and forty five minutes; these temporal facts are fully witnessed & attested in this case and are not in dispute. The described dirging activity took place proximal with & partially in conjunction with the now infamous gathering of Dirgers & Witches to celebrate a Tea & Cake Mini Wake at Lords Stone Café on the second of the two dates which was immediately followed by a Mini Dirge by several Past Masters plus assorted members of the lower orders of the Lyke Wake fraternity to Hagg Gate. The Mini Dirge was undertaken in the company of the most gracious Clare Balding OBE & her esteemed colleague Karen Gregor, both of the BBC. The issue for adjudication, as a matter of Lyke Wake law, is as to the legitimacy of the starting & completion point for the aforesaid putative Crossing being possibly the first ever, and so far only, Lyke Wake Walk Crossing to start & finish at the same point, in this instance, namely Hagg Gate (more commonly referred to as Clay Bank Top). For the avoidance of doubt, dirging commenced at Hagg Gate proceeded eastwards via the Classic Route to Ravenscar followed by vehicular transit to Osmotherley to gain access to the most famous Trig Point in England followed by perambulation to Lords’ Stone Café to join the Mini Dirge to Hagg Gate (all via the Classic Route with the exception of use of the Miners’ Track to avoid a traverse of the summit of Cold Moor).

A precedent for considering the legitimacy of a Crossing which does not start at one & finish at the other of the fully recognised, demarcated and solemnised departure/finishing locations of the Lyke Wake Walk, in the vicinity of Osmotherley & Ravenscar, is recorded in that revered tome, ‘Lyke Wake Walk: Forty Miles Across the North Yorkshire Moors’ by the Chief Dirger, Bill Cowley (3rd Edition, 1967, page 64). In the case in question the Chief Dirger admitted as acceptable a Double Crossing whereby the Dirger in question (H Webb in 1962) completed this Double Crossing by doing each section both ways in turn before moving his car to the next section.

The above submission is made for your careful and thorough evaluation & formal adjudication as to the appropriateness of the described dirging activity being considered and recorded as a legitimate bona fide & complete Crossing of the aforementioned Lyke Wake Walk within the rules first promulgated, instituted and codifed by the Chief Dirger.

Your considered decision is eagerly awaited.

Your humble servant

Dirger Evans