Archive for July, 2018

Crayke Challenge 7th – 8th July 2018

Thursday, July 19th, 2018
‘Crayke Challenge 2018’ to do the Lyke Wake Walk and raise some money for a charity (I had a back injury and until April 2017 I had been on crutches for nearly 3 years – The challenge being to get fit enough to do the walk) So with the help of friends doing lots of training walks with me we got there!
Our group consisted of:
Iain Pocklington
Dean Fielding
Rick Havely
Pete Walsh
Dianne Wright
Joe Wright
Ellie Powlton
Yasmin Powlton
Alex Lynas
Walkers who joined for a section were Vicky Barker and Eloise Pocklington
We had a back up crew of Carol Powlton, Ian Wilson and Phil Lynas.
We set out at 7pm on Saturday 7th July on a beautiful summers evening. Over Lordstones the sun began to set and it was a beautiful sunset.
We made our first check point at 10.40 at Chop Gate.  Leaving there after 11.30 we had a very easy crossing to Blakey – head torches were needed as it was dark but we all wore Hi Viz vests too which helped.  We arrived at Blakey pub at 3am (Unfortunately it was shut!) so we made our way to our next checkpoint round the top of Rosedale Head before the boggy section (which was actually really dry) He we had some support walkers join us to rally morale!  We had a short stop after the bogs – planned incase we needed to change boots if wet! Our next section to Eller Beck was when it was really starting to get hot in the sun we arrived here about 10.30 and left after a serious hydration stop about 11ish. By 12.15 in the very hot conditions we could see the pylon from Lilla Howe .  Because it was so hot we put in an additional check point on the Whitby Scarborough road we made it to the end at 3.20pm on Sunday 8th July.  We have raise over £1000 and still getting money in for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.


Crossing 14th July 2018

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Greetings from Swanwick in Derbyshire!

I watched a serial on TV back in 2016 (I think) called “The Living and the Dead”. What struck me more than anything was the eerie and haunting theme tune. Investigation revealed this song to be the Lyke Wake Dirge.

Intrigued by the song and its history I soon discovered the Lyke Wake Walk. (Yes, I’d never heard of it before.)

A friend and I are members of a walking group in Derby. I suggested that it may be an interesting and exciting walk to do and it all started from there. The leader of our group, Richard Birkin, told us that he’d completed the walk some years ago (He had a tie somewhere to prove it) and volunteered his services as support. Another good friend, Mark Spencer (Why walk when I’ve got a car ?), offered his help too. We were up-and-walking.

Eventually, six of our group signed up:

Les Herbert
Geoff Johnston
Louise Disney-Smith
Lorraine Meakin
Roy Slack
Peter Allen

We were joined by:

Max Herbert
Rob Johnston
Rob “Cheese” Steel
Jordan Stapleton
Daniel Webb
Richard Green

We set-off as one group from Osmotherley at about 2.30 a.m. Saturday 14th July and finished in two groups (Our age range being about 18 to 67 is probably why that happened) at the stone in Ravenscar at just gone 7 p.m. and about 8.30 p.m.

I think it’s safe to say that we all found the walk absolutely brutal, especially given the extremely hot conditions. The dry-boggy section, desert-like moorland and ravines were particularly strength-sapping and psychologically difficult. A lot of this walk is mind-over-matter, isn’t it? Those runners passing us all seemed so cheerful, too.

However, we were all massively proud to have completed it and become members of what has to be one of the most prestigious clubs in the world!

What glorious, loud jubilation
Is subject of feverish talk ?
A birth ? Or a King’s coronation ?
No, the end of the Lyke Wake Walk !

Thanks for being custodians of this great tradition.

Best regards,

Les Herbert

My first ultra – laying a demon to rest by Chris Roberts

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Being quite old my relationship to the Great Outdoors goes back a long way. In October 1983, having stumbled across reference to the Lyke Wake Walk and having read Bill Cowley’s book on the subject, I made an unsuccessful unsupported solo attempt on the challenge walk. I then tended to keep to the nearer to home areas of Lakes, Dales and Pennines until this year when I completed the route as a competitor in the Lyke Wake Challenge, an annual race organised by the Quakers’ Running Club.

The LWW began as a challenge walk in 1955 with the aforementioned Bill Cowley being the principle instigator. The classic route starts near Osmotherley and finishes 40 miles later on the East coast at Ravenscar, having traversed the North York Moors. Start and finish points have been adjusted over the years and parts of the route have changed but it remains a similar challenge to cross the moors and bogs in less than 24 hours. Crossings can be completed in either direction and records also exist for double and triple (and more!) crossings. Joss Naylor took the record to 4.53 in 1979 and Mark Rigby’s 1984 time of 4.41 is the current record.
A few months ago I was casting around looking for a race around 40 miles to test the effects of the training I had been doing and The Lyke Wake Challenge seemed the obvious one to go for. Never having raced further than marathon distance it is a fair step up and at the same time would allow me to redress the balance by actually finishing the challenge!
I left entering until almost the closing day but then fell and injured my knee the next day. This set back my training and meant I arrived at the start line at 5.50 on 14th July less well prepared than I had hoped. Incidentally start times are handicapped based on previous performance or your own estimate of expected lapsed time. I suggested nine and a half hours based on nothing more than my roughly six hours on the Ingleborough marathon.

With me on the start line were four other runners. Three local lads who stuck together throughout and another chap who turned out to be a veteran of many crossings. The first part of the route takes you along the road from Cod Beck Reservoir but soon joins the Cleveland Way route through some woods and then onto the first decent climb. Conditions were already warm with little breeze but the views from the escarpment were good as early mists evaporated. I was feeling good and the knee was behaving so I more or less kept pace with the others who had started with me. I was a bit slow on the steep descent of Carlton Bank into the first checkpoint but spent little time there and pressed on for Clay Bank. This section is mainly good paths and tracks and we were making good time. I noticed at 6.4km (one tenth of the way) I had taken 48 minutes. If I could keep this up that would be an 8 hour crossing! As I was approaching checkpoint 2 I was delighted to see that Sophie had come up the hill to meet me and chase me in. At the checkpoint Sarah was also waiting for me with everything I might need. I am so grateful for my support team who had a long day and some interesting roads to drive along to keep me fully supplied. To be fair the checkpoints were all well stocked with food and drink and very cheery marshals as well.
Leaving Clay Bank there is another climb as we headed towards the highest point on the course. I had covered about 15km with another 14 to the next checkpoint. The path was still good as it shares the route with the Cleveland Way until Bloworth Crossing, where the Way turns north and the Lyke Wake makes use of an old railway line. Along this section I began to slow down although it is fairly flat and smooth. I was beginning to have aching quads which is unusual for me so early in a run, but was a result I think of straining them in a DIY related incident earlier that week. The view down into Farndale was some compensation but the heat was beginning to become oppressive. This was the section that did for me back in 1983 so I was glad to keep moving and arrive at the Lion Inn where Sarah and Sophie were once again in support. What a treat to get rice pudding and tinned peaches from the checkpoint team! I had a bit longer here while I stocked up on food and rubbed some Ibuprofen gel into my legs. I took a couple of paracetamol for good measure too.
Leaving the Lion Inn there is a couple of miles of road before striking off into the wilderness which is the infamous bog section. Normally you can expect to sink into deep bogs along here but with the extremely dry conditions following weeks of drought it was mainly dry all the way. Indeed some parts were as hard as concrete, with other bits nice springy peat. I had left the three lads back on the railway line but they passed me along here and stayed ahead all the way. Still, I racked up the first 32 km in around 4.38 so felt on schedule. The reality was that I was slowing down and later splits confirmed this.

Running down into Hamer checkpoint I had covered 38.5 km in 5.37. It felt like late afternoon but was not yet even midday! I had another longish stop here to check my feet. This involved re-applying tape where I would expect a chance of blisters, but none were apparent yet. I had agreed that Sarah and Sophie would skip the next checkpoint as the road distances make it difficult to get there and to the next ahead of the runners. This wasn’t so bad as the legs are only 6 & 5 km. However I was now slowing even more, as the path became very rocky after Blue Man i’ th’ Moss (a standing stone). I wasted no time at checkpoint 5 but pressed on, down to Wheeldale Beck and back up and over Simon Howe to the NYMR railway line and so to Eller Beck, cp6. With the next and last checkpoint close to the finish this was to be my last prolonged pit stop so I refuelled and set off again at an even slower pace!

The next bit I found it harder to follow the path but I got back on it and took my phone out for the first time for a selfie at the cross on Lilla Howe. I was now crossing Fylingdales Moor and was out of the “bog” section, but was finding the stony track hard going. My right foot was sore if I hit any rocks so I walked much of this part. There was a drop down into the valley of Jugger Howe Beck then a climb out to the final checkpoint. Pausing only to guzzle a goodly quantity of electrolyte I pushed on, keen to beat 11 hours. It was already 4 o’clock but the last leg is only 3 miles. A nice grassy path leads up to the radio mast which I had first spotted long ago. Once there I opted to take the road route for the last mile or so to the finish at the Raven Hall Hotel. I was able to run all this part and even managed a sprint across the line, where I collected my most hard earned t-shirt ever! Total time 10.52, distance 65.26 km, height gain only 1215 m. (Footnote. Wake is the watching over a corpse and Lyke is the corpse itself).

Lyke Wake Crossing – Sunday 24 June 2018

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Potential witches – Wendy Wadsworth and Michelle Dorgan
Driver/Cook/England football score updater – Lisa Carter
Statistics: 17 hours total time
15 hours walking time (as per Strava)
18 pee stops
Weather – sunny, dry with no wind (except as a result of eating too many flapjacks)

The alarm woke us from our pitiful sleep at 3am on Sunday morning, we packed our bags and had a quick breakfast and we left our ‘driver’ asleep in bed and headed off into the early morning light with a beautiful dawn chorus ringing in our ears.

We left our YHA at 4am and had a 2 mile walk to the start of the Lyke Wake Walk so we reached the stone marking the start of the walk at Scarth Wood Moor at 4.30am

The Explorer maps combined with the fact that I had read the Lyke Wake Walk Guide by Brian Smailes and gone over the route many times over the last few months made the journey more straight forward with only a few wrong turns.

The route to the first check point at Carlton Bank was very pleasant with a lovely walk through Clain Wood (remember the path off to the left beside the two seats or you will continue into the wood) and along the road at Hollin Hill to the long climb up through the wood to Round Hill, Gold Hill and along Carlton Moor. (The telephone box at Huthwaite Green had disappeared but there is a little post box) The dawn mist lifted and the view from Carlton Moor was magnificent. It was starting to warm up so our layers started to come off one by one.

The route to check point 2 displayed more views of Middlesborough and Guisborough and far across to Roseberry Topping in the distance. It was a hard slog up to Kirby Bank but an enjoyable walk on the path alongside Broughton Plantation. A lot of trees had been logged and the stone steps beside the wall were very difficult to see and we missed them so we went along the wide track to the road and saw check point 2.

The route to check point 3 (and our only official stop on the walk at the Lion Inn) was quite arduous. There were a few people on this route to talk to – walkers, mountain bikers and some lads on motorbikes racing past sending up a dust storm so strong we had to cover our mouths and nose to stop us coughing– and it was a lovely walk to Round Hill. The area around Blosworth Crossing was stunning.

The long disused railway track seemed to go on forever however and we were desperate to see the red roof of the pub. We did see large patches of beautiful cotton grass which were pleasing to the eyes and so soft to touch.

We eventually saw the pub and took the little path to the left hand side of the pub and met our awaiting support team (Lisa). A toilet stop and a coke for me and a cider and cheesy chips for Michelle! I only allowed half an hour to refuel and stock up on water and snacks, enjoy a respite from the burning sun and replace blister plasters and socks!
After saying goodbye to Lisa we continued along the really busy road up to Rosedale Head and stopped to take photos with ‘Fat Betty’. Other people had left fruit and snacks on ‘Betty’.

We continued along the road to the small car park in a little layby and took the path on the left to cross the ‘boggy’ section of the walk. As it had been so dry over the past few months, this area was quite dry and only a small number of bogs which could easily be crossed by either jumping across stumps of grass or just walking across. We crossed straight over the road to Hamer Bridge (checkpoint 4)

The track continued to Blue Man I ‘th’ Moss and we took the path straight on keeping the Wheeldale Plantation on our left. This path was very difficult as it was narrow and very rocky underfoot which slowed us down a great deal and sapped our energy.
We eventually crossed a small road and over a stile which reminded us to be wary of snakes and headed down the steep ravine to Wheeldale Beck which we crossed using the stepping stones and ascended up the other side, following a track to Simon Howe’s circle of stones.

We could see Lilla Howe in the distance and the military area of Fylingdales but were they getting any closer? Our tired legs carried us onwards.

We eventually came to the railway line where we crossed the little bridge which brought us out into a field of butterflies. There was a budding butterfly enthusiast who proceeded in showing Michelle the uncommon blue butterfly species.
We crossed the very busy A169 and reached Ella Beck Bridge. Continuing over the boggy area of Lilla Rigg we reached Lilla Howe. It took every ounce of our mental determination to keep walking. Our conversation was limited and so too was our water supply. Our feet were aching from the hard ground and the sun had almost completely sapped our energy but despite this we kept going.

Continuing over High Moor we reached the infamous Jugger Howe ravine which I had read so much about. It was much worse than it looked on the map and I had to drag my body down the ravine to Jugger Howe Beck to cross the little bridge and ascending the path opposite. From here you could see the cars on the main A171, Stony Marl Moor and the beacon signalling the end of the walk.
After crossing the main road and up the embankment the other side, we proceeded to walk along the track one foot in front of each other with our sights set on the beacon in the distance. Half an hour the book said, 30 minutes the book said! But it seemed a lot longer than that. We eventually reached the Lyke Wake Stone and finished the walk at 9.30pm with dusk gradually descending upon us. ‘Never again’ Michelle said. ‘Not for a while’ I said with a smile.

Report of crossings of Lyke Wake Walk

Friday, July 13th, 2018

Gene Robinson 30th crossing.
Martin Robinson 2nd crossing.

Depart Ravenscar 8.11 pm Friday 6th July 2018.
Arrive Scarth Wood Moor 7.20pm Saturday 7th July 2018.
Total time 23 hours 9 minutes.
Total walking time 15 hours 13 minutes.

Three support stops.
Ellerbeck Bridge about 5 hours including 3-4 hours sleep.
Ralph Cross and Clay Bank Top between 1 and 1½ hours each.
Shorter rests along the way.

Weather and conditions excellent.

From August 1963 I (GR) walked Lyke Wake Walk regularly and by September 1980 had crossed 27 times. Thereafter (for various reasons.) crossings 28 and 29 didn’t come until 1990 and 1999 respectively and until this year I had not dirged in the 21st century/3rd millennium.
Lyke Wake lure lurked on though and when I recently decided to give it another (final?) go I thought I’d wait until reaching 75 years of youth, (which I did 11-2-18)
Son Martin had crossed with me in 1999. He’d come with me again.
Weather was perfect, hot after half way and there wasn’t a bog in sight. My driest crossing without doubt, (or should that be drought?)
There are seven OS triangulation pillars on or near the route. Martin and I visited them all. The one on Botton Head is easily included, although many bypass, Simon Howe requires a short but deliberate detour as does Loose Howe. This one is in a sorry state and is not only leaning, but sinking. We all know the feeling, but the flush bracket here is only just accessible.
The tester though is Louven Howe, which needs not just a detour but the determination not to allow Lilla Howe to be neglected in its stead. Lilla is a Lyke Wake highlight. Lilla must not be missed.
Would it be daft to suggest that the Lyke Wake Club take these (magnificent) seven under its wing? “Do” them up a bit, give ‘em a lick of paint. Don’t know what OS might say but modern technology has consigned these stones to history, there to join an illustrious band stretching from one end of the walk to the other.

Lyke Wake Triangulation Pillar Numbers

Scarth Wood Moor S4413
Carlton Bank S4421
Botton Head (Round Hill) 2988
Loose Howe 2955
Simon Howe S4370
Louven Howe S4392
Beacon Howes S1521

Gene Robinson 30 crossings (17 west-east)
Martin Robinson 2 crossings (1 west-east)

Crossing Report: Saturday 16th June 2018

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

After parking my car in the Sheepwash car park at the head of Cod Beck Reservoir, the first problem that faced me in this attempt at completing the Lyke Wake Walk was deciding on and locating the starting point. The route description provided at refers to a Stone at grid reference 470994. I could find no stone of any significance at that point, so resolved on starting from the stone inscribed “LYKE WAKE WALK” at grid reference SE467992 and also taking in what some consider the official start of the walk: the Ordnance Survey trig point at SE459997.

I started off at about 5:45 in fine weather thinking that I would have plenty of time to complete the walk in daylight. Here comes my first lesson learnt: just because I’ve previously completed a 40 mile challenge walk in southern England on well made up paths in 12 hours doesn’t mean the same can be achieved over the North York Moors, so don’t dawdle, keep moving!

The weather remained fine until I reached the Lion Inn, and it was about then that I heard distant thunder, and shortly afterwards there was a brief shower. Soon after passing Shunner Howe, I could see another storm approaching, and quickly found myself walking through heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning. My second lesson learnt was to check that waterproofs really are waterproof; my supposedly waterproof trousers certainly weren’t, but fortunately the storm soon passed and the weather remained dry for the remainder of the walk.

For a long time I could see RAF Fylingdales in the distance, and for a long time it didn’t seem to get any closer, but eventually I passed it, though it was about then that I realised I wouldn’t complete the walk in daylight. With just about sufficient light not to need my head torch, I was approaching the final trig point at NZ969011 when I was halted in my tracks by a sound I haven’t heard in many years: the churring of a nightjar, which was sitting on top of a bush close to the path; I stopped to listen for several minutes. At about 10:45 pm, 17 hours after starting, I reached the trig point, and then continued to the Raven Hall Hotel, the bar of which is apparently the traditional end point for the walk. I expect the bar was closed by the time I reached Ravenscar, but I didn’t investigate as all I wanted to do by this time was find somewhere to pitch my tent and get some sleep.

The following morning, fortunately feeling refreshed, I was faced with getting back to my starting point. Retracing my steps didn’t seem appealing, so instead I walked the 9 miles into Whitby along the old railway track, caught the train to Battersby – a pleasant hour long journey – and then walked the remaining 12 miles back to my starting point by the shortest and easiest route I could find.

David Tyers

******* Please note, David is quite correct. The start shown on our website map is incorrect. I will get that sorted as soon as possible. Thanks for pointing this out *********


Crossing Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June 2018

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

Dear Sirs

I hereby wish to report a solo and unaided crossing by myself over Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June. Having parked in Osmotherley I left the car, reaching the stone and setting off at 19.10, having already completed a couple of miles. A beautiful sunny evening, although still a little too warm. I’d been going up to North Yorkshire regularly over the past couple of months to train and familiarise myself with sections of what I thought was the whole route, but somehow still managed to discover portions I’d missed.

Clear skies and a full moon meant I saw out the brief hours of darkness wearing only shorts and a T-shirt. Once past the Lion Inn (joined by a soundless owl gliding towards me along the other carriageway), having left the road I finally donned a fleece while I sat and ate my breakfast of cheese sandwiches with homemade plum chutney. There was a cloud inversion to watch while I rested, the clouds rolling down into the valley behind me like a fast moving glacier.
Although the boggy section was probably the driest it had been in years, I persevered until I found a patch of ground where I was able to sink in the bog above my knees. Never let it be said that I tried to avoid a difficult crossing. Things were good, but the weather was heating up and I thought I had easily beaten the task, until I came to Fylingdales Moor. I have crossed this patch of ground three times now, the clear and direct path marked on the OS map just doesn’t exist, at least not near checkpoint 5 on the road. After my training run I endeavoured to keep to the stream on the left, only to lose the path again and in my now tired and seriously overheated state, had a complete sense of direction failure and ended up scrambling through energy sapping heather, having to use my walking pole to beat the heather before me to scare away any sleeping adders. A gamekeeper didn’t bother approaching, probably thinking me some poor blind fool who having come this far, would find his way eventually. I have to say that with the midday heat and exhaustion setting in, if my wife who was coming up to join me that afternoon had arrived, I would have been very tempted to give in and ask her to pick me up. She was still lazing about at home in Sheffield though, so with the help of the GPS on my phone (I’d reached the fence where the gate should be to Ella Cross, but had no idea whether to turn left or right), I eventually after about an hour and a half found the path, and gratefully sat a while in the shade of the cross while I emptied my boots of bits of heather. I think the radio waves from Fylingdales MOD station must have addled my brain.
I am not prone to blisters but they now appeared to make the journey awful. Having finally spotted the mast and with Grouse Hill caravan park left behind, I reached and crossed the road only for the mast to completely disappear! Was it a mirage? Was I lost yet again? No, the mist had come down at the last minute, not close enough to the ground, but enough to conceal the mast and play tricks with my now nearly deranged mind. It did not reappear until I was almost upon it. I reached the mast and the stone at 14.15, a 19 hour crossing far longer than I’d anticipated, but a crossing none the less.
Luckily I’d had the foresight to park my caravan at the small Smuggler’s Cove site just down the lane in Ravenscar, but those last two hundred yards were the longest I’d ever walked. I had a mug of tea and a big bowl of porridge to replace lost carbs, followed by a good sleep for a couple of hours before Mrs G arrived and thoughtfully woke me up to see if I was dead. Remarkably, apart from one blister and sore shoulders from carrying all the water I’d needed in a very heavy rucksack, recovery was swift and the intention never to walk anywhere again, ever, was quickly replaced by a feeling of achievement and wondering which long distance footpath I could tackle next.

Having suffered what I am sure must be the requisite amount of pain for a crossing, I therefore respectfully request membership of the club.

Kind Regards

Mr David Glentworth

Swifty’s Lyke Wake Dirge

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

It seemed a good idea at the time
A Challenge to celebrate being fifty
A chat at work found a colleague’s wife “happy” to do it with me
So, we set off to join in the Lyke Wake Walk history.
Started in 1955, I know my Dad did it once as I have his tie
Wake means watching and Lyke means Corpse.
We were pleased we only had to watch for ourselves
And our
“Shimmering Shining Car”
We set off on Saturday (30.06.18) just before 4 (am)
Along and up and over and down to our
“Shimmering Shining Car”
First six miles done
Then we were joined by Cocoa (aka poop machine)
Five miles and 3 poop bags later and more up and over and down we came to our
“Shimmering shining Car”
and so, our day repeated.
The next nine miles the main discussion was what we were going to have for lunch when we got to the
“Shimmering Shining Car”
Five miles past “Fat Betty” covered in snacks, over the “boggy” bit that was quite dry, to our
“Shimmering Shining Car”
Next nine miles walking against the flow of D of E ers, bronze, silver and gold some sad, some happy, some we could hear for miles to our
“Shimmering Shining Car”
Next six miles no idea what went wrong as took us an extra hour on top of what book said to get to our
“Shimmering Shining car”
Last two miles yahoo was covered in typical time with the motivation of “Leeds train station pace”
To finish at the Lyke Wake Stone and our
“Shimmering Shining car”
In 15 ½ hours with morning mist clearing up to sun with a slight breeze- perfect conditions.
(massive thank you to Mel – driver of the “Shimmering Shining Car” (our support vehicle) and to Zen for her companionship and to Coco the dog (aka poop machine) for her contributions !!!)
Witch Chris Swift.