Archive for September, 2016

My crossing, 30-31 August 2016.

Monday, September 26th, 2016

…………….. joined by my son Charles between the Lion Inn and the finish at Ravenscar.

A delayed train from London left me at the LWW stone later than planned but here I was, about to walk 40 miles across the North York Moors. A time-stamped photo for posterity (and Instagram) and off up the grassy slope to Scarth Wood Moor, bathed in sunshine. Mid 20s. Unusual for these parts, I’m told. It was 15.10.

LWW stones and way signs kept me on track along deserted wooded paths. Where was everybody? I’d expected it to be busier during a bank holiday week. The Guidebook warned of steep steps but I climbed them without incident and emerged onto the moor and Carlton Bank, with stunning views past Roseberry Topping to the sea, more than 20 miles away. I reached Checkpoint 1 at 17.40.

Choosing the Plantation route at Great Broughton, I passed my first coffin stone. By now it was clear my late start meant I wouldn’t reach the Lion Inn at Blakey before last orders. I called ahead and asked my son to bring food. Proper food. My pockets brimmed with energy bars but as a dinner, they just don’t hack it. Reached Checkpoint 2 at 19.10.

A sheep posed artistically for a photo by the sign-post to Carr Ridge. It was the last living creature I would see for the next two hours. On Urra Moor, it was getting cold. Taking heed of the Guidebook’s hypothermia table showing the descent from shivering through to death, I pulled on my jacket. And as I reached Bloworth Crossing and the railroad, it was also getting dark. Actually, it was very dark, and I didn’t have a torch. I know – there’s travelling light and there’s just plain stupid! I was beginning to imagine the next day’s headlines, “London man missing on North York Moors”, when I saw a light in the distance, moving in my direction. My son, who’d had the forethought to pack a head torch had come to my rescue. An hour later, at 22.15, we arrived at the Lion Inn and after a celebratory LWW-half-way-point pint, grabbed a few hours’ sleep.

The Landlord kindly left breakfast out for us and after leaving quietly through the Fire Exit (we had paid!) were up the road at Checkpoint 3, in thick fog, at 06.15. Past Fat Betty and left at the marker stone, we turned into the boggy section, with some unease, given its reputation. We needn’t have worried. With little rain for the last few weeks, it was mostly dry apart from the one place where I misjudged it with a reckless jump into thick black sludge. By now the sun had burnt off the fog and a second glorious day beckoned. We reached Checkpoint 4 at 08.15.

We followed others’ tracks through the heather to Blue Man I’ the Moss and on to Wheeldale Moor. After a short pitstop by the road, we headed down the ravine to the stepping stones with the sun sparkling on Wheeldale Beck. Cue more photos. Up the slope to Simon Howe and our only routing error. I should have read the update on the website, “…a neatly mowed path. Very tempting, but DON’T TAKE IT ! keep ahead…” Picking our way back through the heather, we made it down to the railway line and Checkpoint 5 at 11.40, just in time to see the NY Moors train on its way to Whitby.

On past penned sheep, the alternative route took us around Fylingdales and up to Lilla Cross for our first sight of the radio mast at the finish. Seeing it definitely gives you a boost but doesn’t quite offset the fatigue. Even so, despite fatigue, the view from the ravine at Jugger Howe was one of the highlights of the walk. We reached Checkpoint 6 at 14.15.

The end was in sight but oddly, I didn’t really want it to end. Why would you? A carefree walk on a sunny day (albeit, a long one) through stunning countryside. We made it to the mast 30 mins later, at 14.45. 16 hours 5 mins of walking including stops but more importantly, 23 hours 35 mins elapsed time. Made it with 25 minutes to spare!

It took nearly two hours by road to get back to Northallerton and highlighted to me just how far we’d walked. On the train journey back to London, I reflected on the trip with more than a sense of satisfaction. I’d do it again tomorrow – though next time I’d take a torch.

Martin Ingell

Lyke Wake Walk crossing 09.09.16

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Arrived at the car park outside Osmotherley just before midnight, via the back of a motor bike a rare experience for me.
There was a transit van parked with its occupants seen in the distance head torches flashing. I was a little annoyed as I wanted to do the walk alone and have that feeling of isolation.
Set off and to my surprise passed the group of walkers within a mile and a half, i think to their surprise also.
One hour in the rain finally arrived, the thick drizzle type which only allowed vision of two feet ahead of me. I stumbled at the top of Carlton bank and put a hole in the right knee of my Gore-tex trousers, that’s torn it, I thought.
After an hour the rain stopped and I started to get my head around the task in hand, I could still see head torches in the distance behind me and the feeling of being hunted was with me. This forced me on at a greater speed, the only problem was that I was drinking my water quicker.
Rosedale and the lion inn were reached after seven hours and i thought my goal of fifteen hour total was easy in reach.
I saw the transit van waiting at the car park for the group of walkers behind me, but no sign of them.
Rosedale moor seems to get worse, bogs galore. Crossing the moors seemed to take forever and the sun was warming things up rapidly my water supply getting less.
I slipped going down to the stepping stones, my left knee suffered but fortunately didn’t lock like it had last time.
Water now gone all I could think about was the bottle of water ahead at my car, continuing on I reached the Ravenscar after sixteen hours, one hour more than I had hoped.
Felt tired my body knowing it had done some work but also pleased with that feeling of achievement.
Will I do it a third time ?
We’ll see.

Mike O’Connor……….

Date of passing: Saturday 13th August 2016 Beth Wilmot & Matt Naylor ~ Lincolnshire

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

After much poring over of maps, multiple readings of the excellent guidebook, the seeking of tips from a previous crosser and downloading the route to my ‘Outdoors’ iPhone app, Friday 12th August 2016 saw a remarkably traffic free drive up from Lincolnshire followed by a sound night’s sleep at Cote Ghyll campsite.

We set off from the campsite at 06:00 on Saturday 13th August and elected to utilise a run/walk strategy, if it was flat or downhill we would run, and if it was uphill we would walk. This was to be an unsupported crossing so our kit consisted of each carrying a running rucksack holding supplies and extra clothing, along with OS maps & the guidebook.
Clothing consisted of Running top, shorts, compression socks and trail shoes with a change of top and socks for the halfway point.

We were greeted by a stunning sunrise as we made good progress along Scarth Wood Moor and then following the Cleveland Way which I (Matt) was familiar with having completed it in 2014.

The woods adjacent to the Wainstones provided the first real challenge as the trail proved to be very muddy in places necessitating some jumping and grasping of trees/bushes to gain passage. However this soon passed and after some strenuous climbing we were up onto Urra Moor and along to Bloworth Crossing, where we said goodbye to the Way and followed the disused railway track to the Lion Inn at Blakey. This section seemed to take forever but a look at the stats from my Garmin showed that this was the fastest section run wise.

We arrived at The Lion Inn shortly after 10:00 where water supplies were replenished and a ritual offering of cheese sandwiches were sacrificed in the hope of appeasing the Gods of the Bogs.

Suitably refreshed and a change of clothing later we set off on the second leg. A slightly hairy section of travelling along the road was quickly completed before a right turn toward Rosedale. We very nearly missed the turning to the left heading toward the bogs but a very handy ‘LWW’ and arrow painted on the road showed the way.

We’d heard so much about the bogs that we were both a little apprehensive, but the sacrificial cheese sandwiches seem to have done the trick as the going was largely springy but dry with only the odd wet patch to negotiate. The gods of the bogs still smiled at the occasional squelch and the resulting submerged foot, but we emerged largely unscathed. The trickiest part of the crossing was still to come for as we approached the Blue Man i th’ Moss standing stone the bogs gave way to a rock strewn path which resembled a lunar landscape. This section was mentally as well as physically challenging as we had to concentrate on where to place our feet whilst running.

Wheeldale Plantation came and went followed by the descent to Wheeldale Beck, fighting through a million flies and then the climb to Simon Howe. We managed to lose our way slightly down the descent to Eller Beck Bridge, but the puffs of steam from a locomotive on the North Yorkshire Moors railway pointed us back on course.

As we crossed the A169 there was the tantalising promise of an ice cream van a quarter of a mile up the road, but tired feet dictated that we had to push on. We passed through the boggy land adjacent to RAF Fylingdales and by the time we reached Lilla Cross tired feet had been joined by tired minds. We’d both tripped a number of times so elected to walk the remaining distance. The mast at Beacon Howes seemed to taunt us by never getting any closer, but eventually we reached it and shortly afterwards the Lyke Wake Walk finish stone.

We staggered another mile or so down to the Raven Hall Hotel where we stumbled into the bar and sank a well deserved pint. 10 hours after setting out (and according to my Garmin) 4676 calories later we’d done it. And apologies to the wedding party at the hotel whose noses collectively wrinkled as we passed them by on our way to the bar!

LWW Crossing Report – Crazy Dude and his 2 Rottweilers

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

I would like to report my third crossing of the Lyke Wake Walk, from Cod Beck to Ravenscar on 16th & 17th September 2016. My first crossing (W to E) was in December 2015 and my second (E to W) was in May of this year.
I’d like to say that I had planned the third walk well in advance, but in fact it was a fairly last minute thing. I’d had a week away in Switzerland doing some walking the week before (in the Grindelwald area near to the Eiger – it comes well recommended!), and on the back of that I thought I’d have another go at the LWW. The weather had been good, so I hoped that the boggy section might be dry-ish.
My wife Sue dropped me and our two Rottweilers – Cesar & Jasmine – at Cod Beck just after 10pm on Friday 16th. The weather was good, but although it was meant to be a full moon, the cloud cover kept it obscured for most of the night.
The first stage was uneventful – the dogs had a good drink at the stream near to Huthwaite and then we continued up the steps and along to Trig Point. After this and on the way down to Lordstones, we could hear the ‘happy campers’ who had congregated at Carlton bank for a Mountain Bike race weekend. Rotties being Rotties, they became really focused on where these noises were coming from. We stopped briefly for a bite to eat and a quick drink, but fortunately we didn’t actually encounter any of the campers – just as well really as I’m sure the dogs would have started barking and woken up the entire site!
When walking with the dogs and in the dark, I always take the low path near to Broughton Plantation. The younger of the dogs – Jasmine – must believe she is a mountain goat, as she explores every nook and cranny. The high path would very likely end up with a painful injury and a severe wallet extraction at the vets, so the low path it is for me. There are still a couple of fallen trees partially blocking the path which isn’t great, but we arrived at “Robbie’s Bench” near Clay Bank for our now obligatory 5-minute break there. I walk this part of the LWW regularly with the dogs and they now associate the bench with stopping for treats!
Onwards to Urra Moor and it started to ‘blow a hooley’ – out came the windproof jacket and onwards we went. The satisfaction of knowing when we were at the high point of the walk was short-lived when I remembered that I still had the Wheeldale and Jugger climbs to do!
The moon made a brief appearance and the clearing sky coincided with the passing overhead of the International Space Station at 0421.
The Lion Inn was all quiet as I walked past around 5am. Thankfully this meant that it was too early for the tempting smell of bacon butties to distract me. I managed to get a phone signal and sent a message to my wife who then set of for Rosedale Road car park with an ETA of 0630. This meant that I could have a relatively calm stroll – despite this part of the journey being the easiest to traverse, I can’t help but feel that I’d rather be walking on the moors rather than a road. I had considered taking the path off the Bloworth to Blakey line to Ralph’s Cross, but the thought of cutting off the Lion Inn part of the walk made me feel that I’ be cheating myself and reducing the mileage count.
Wifey arrived on cue and I had half an hour in the car drinking the best coffee I had ever tasted! From this point the dogs went home (two stiles to cross with two Rotties ain’t much fun!).
The boggy section was the best I have seen it. It still lived up to its name, but was nowhere near as bad as on my first two crossings.
The stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck were easily traversed – back in December the water was going over the top of the stones but this time it was fine. Up from the beck was where muscle fatigue started to take hold so I took it relatively easy for half an hour or so until I arrived at Simon Howe. Then the focus was on the ‘Cheese Grater’ (Fylingdales). At Ellerbeck I took 10 mins out to refuel as I was feeling really tired at this point.
The Steam Train went past around 1145 which is always good to see but then it was onwards to Lilla Cross and Jugger Howe. By this point the muscles were protesting so I had frequent mini breaks punctuated by voices through my headphones of “Pausing Workout” and “Resuming Workout” – I have a Nike tracking device and had set the app on my phone to ‘auto pause’, so every time I stop, it stops and I get this message. At least it gave me someone to hurl my abuse at!
My wife was waiting for me at the Ravenscar stone – she worries when I do the walk, but having read the numerous crossing reports, she gets it why many people do this more than once. Still, she was happy to see me and relieved that the life insurance policy can go back into safe keeping.
So, the Ravenscar stone was reached at 1519 hours on Saturday 17th September 2016 – 17 hours and 10 minutes after I had left Cod Beck. According to my Nike App, it was 40.23 miles and my active walking time was 15.5 hours which I am happy with. I may have been exhausted, but I was also happy that I hadn’t cut across the Lion Inn corner as I know the mileage would have been under 40 miles and that would have left me wanting to go back out next weekend to put things right……..

Paul Walsh
(plus Cesar & Jasmine for half of the way!)