Archive for July, 2019

40 years – 40 Miles – Crossing 29th June 2019

Friday, July 12th, 2019

A younger version of me completed my first crossing on the 22 July 2000, my memories of the walk had faded into the mists of time; so when I received a call from an old mate of mine, who wanted to complete the walk to celebrate his 40th birthday; I jumped at the chance to complete another crossing. I had already secured a weekend pass out, as a group of my friends were planning to climb Scafell Pike that weekend, so I had a number of victims who were easily persuaded over a number of pints to join the challenge.

Anyway, me and my old mate Pete had completed long distance walks in our younger days, completed with no real planning at all. As we were older and more experienced, and perhaps wiser, we thought planning was essential for the Lyke Wake. A customary planning meeting was held in the Corn Dolly in Bradford over a few pints of Real Ale. The most important thing we sorted was the support. Doing a walk of this magnitude without support would have been difficult, if this could not be secured, it was a case of leaving a car at the end, and dumping stuff on the way. Everything seemed to fall into place. The camping was sorted, route planned, support secured and maps bought. We were ready.

Although we had support, the finalised plan was to drop a car at Ravenscar, and meet up in Osmotherley for a few pints and some tea. We were mindful of the past, when a few pints meant more than the 3 we actually had.

We got back to the campsite, and despite some kind of disco/karaoke going on, managed to get some sleep. As excited as I was to get going, I woke before the 2am alarm, and got up. I won the award of the loudest by our disgruntled support who didn’t need to get up as early.

We set off from the campsite at 2.30, squeezing all 6 of us into a 5 seat Honda Jazz, so we could drive to the starting post. Having synchronised watches and done a weird hands in together group hug thing, we were off. 2.45 on a Saturday morning!

                                                     

 

                   

 

                                                                                                                                                        

We covered the first part of the walk on the Cleveland hills in fairly quick time, walking through the mist, until the sun came up, revealing a spectacular inversion on the summit of Carlton Bank. We then moved onto the Wainstones, and after an unscheduled toilet stop; ended the Cleveland hills and the first stage at around 7.20ish where we saw our first people of the day. Then came the disused railway to Blakey Ridge. Not much can be said about it, a slog to the Lion Inn. Pete our leader and motivational officer, tried to get the group going by playing the Lyke Wake Dirge by Pentangle. We probably could have done with the dance version, if this actually exists! Now there’s a thought………When the pub was sighted, one of our group thought it would be good if there was a zip wire from the last corner to the pub itself. Wishful thinking I’m afraid.

 

 

Having had some breakfast, and topped up our water supplies, we were off again. Next checkpoint was to be the bridge at Eller Beck in around 6 hours time. The road was followed for a time, then came moorland paths. Lovely moorland paths springy underfoot, with a decent amount of mud to contend with. By now the sun was blazing, and was starting to take a toll on members of our group. It was not far from this point that our first demoralising moment of the day occurred. We had spotted a man approaching, and when he got to us, we joked that he looked like an older version of hulk hogan! We had a nice chat with him, and we were working out the mileage that we thought we had done which was around 26 miles, when he pipped up that we had only done 23, he was wrong of course, but it nearly destroyed our sanity!

Trudging on in the heat and the ever increasing mud, things seemed to drag. I must have started hallucinating, because at one point I saw a lovely bit of Battenburg on the track, that looked good enough to eat! Not sure if it was really there though! By now we could see the early warning station at Fylingdales in the distance, and our salvation. Our next pit stop. And some welcome shade, if this could be found. One of our group finding another funeral parties support vehicle for cover.

Another rest, and it was to the end. An initial navigational nightmare trying to find a path through the mud, then to the cross on Lilla Howe, and there in the distance, the mast signalling the end! For the last 8 miles this mast got no closer, we slowed down and we started to see the sun setting. A group passed us, saying we hope you would get back for last orders, which was nice and motivational. By now the blisters on my feet were giving me some jip, and to make matters worse, the paths of loose stones, made it feel like I was walking on broken glass. At this point I was thinking of writing a letter of complaint to North Yorkshire council, but pushed on.

The end was in sight, but tantalisingly far away, it got closer, then was lost in a dip. It was there again,on the near horizon, and then very close, at which point a member of our group had to have an emergency toilet stop. Just to finish off, a bit of rain and we were there. The end. Finally the end! What a day! We completed it in around 18.5 hours, on the hottest day of the year so far! Delighted to have competed the challenge! It was nice to receive a round of applause and a welcome bottle of water from one of the other groups who had completed the walk. A nice touch to end the day.

On my return to the site, I resisted the temptation to crawl straight into my sleeping bag and die, and i stayed up to enjoy a superb Curry, cooked by one of the group. Glad I didn’t miss it!

Well, that’s my second crossing. I am writing this as my blisters are finally healing. One last request to Pete our leader on this venture. Don’t contact me on your 50th for another challenge! Only joking mate!

Crossing report by Chris Wilkinson who walked with Pete Smith, Tom Rowlinson, Daniel Simpson, Adam Simpson, Matty Pickard. Excellent support was provided by Emma Day.

Lyke Wake Crossing by Pat Fowler and Graham Dixon – 28th June 2019

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Those people attending the Annual Wake in March of this year learned from my Doctoral Thesis that the Lyke Wake Walk was found to be a very effective tool for assessing the suitability of a person for membership of a Mountain Rescue Team. To be a full member of the Team which Graham and I lead, a person must have successfully completed the walk and during the walk also satisfied us that they have the necessary psychological makeup and team working and navigation skills. Well, as leaders of advancing years(combined age of 140), we obviously need to demonstrate to our Team members from time to time that we are not asking them to do something that we are not capable of ourselves. Thus, at 4.10am on 28th June the two of us once again found ourselves standing at the Lyke Wake Stone Osmotherley ready and raring to go.

The weather was kind, overcast to start with but it was not long before the sun came out complemented by a nice cooling easterly breeze. I’m pleased that we weren’t walking the following day which was the hottest of the year so far. Looking back on that first section, I can’t understand how it always comes as a bit of a surprise how much ascending and descending there is between the start and Clay Bank.

First 10 miles completed we sat at the side of the road at Clay Bank drinking freshly brewed coffee and eating a sandwich at 7.30 in the morning. I wondered what passing motorists must think….. Probably ‘what a strange time and place for a picnic’ or simply ‘weirdos’!

The disused railway line on the next section gave a nice respite providing the usual easy walking and fantastic views for several miles. Freshly cooked Sausage baps at Ralph’s Cross provided by our intrepid support Team (our wives) were very welcome. I’m sure you appreciate that on an actual Mountain Rescue, support and sustenance are very important and the walk did give us the opportunity to assure ourselves that the support provided was still up to the required standard. The weight of responsibility lies heavy sometimes but fortunately the support was faultless.

Anyway, back to the walk. The boggy section wasn’t too boggy and our feet remained dry which is always a bonus. We were very impressed by the report by the Group who had the eventful crossing on 14th June after a week of heavy rain. In contrast to their experience, the stepping stones when we reached them were well clear of the water and everything looked quite idyllic.

The climb up to Simon Howe found us flagging a bit. Low sugar level was identified as the culprit so we had to break out the emergency rations, (it’s important to be prepared). A mars bar for Graham and a flapjack for myself which seemed to do the trick.

We maintained a good pace after the Fylingdales break where we left our rucksacks with our support team. Even though they were of no great weight, it felt really good not to have them on our shoulders anymore. Down into Jugger Howes and up the other side with only the occasional groan on the way down. We reached the mast at about 6.45, all in all, a truly miserable experience as usual. As a Lyke Wake Walker, that’s what a Dirger is supposed to say isn’t it, not what a fantastic and satisfying day….oh and the couple of pints and a meal at the Hayburn Wyke Inn afterwards didn’t half go down well.

Well that’s it then, we demonstrated to the members of the MRT that their two ancient leaders are not past it yet and can still pass the Lyke Wake test. Mind you for a Mountain Rescue Team we do maintain a very low profile and a relatively laid back approach. At our age we don’t want people ringing up at some ungodly hour from some remote mountains in the wilds of Lincolnshire wanting to be rescued. Oh have I mentioned, we are the Leaders of the Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Team!!!

Dawn to Dusk – Thursday 27th June 2019

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
After a few hours of sleep at Cote Ghyll campsite, Gary, a reluctant Sky (the dog) and I we were up before the midges and on our way full of coffee and porridge. We were nicely warmed up and at the start stone for 0345, greeted by the first light in the east. Sky had seen her first rabbits of the day and was a bit more interested in proceedings.

Happy at the Start……………………………..

The path to Lord Stones was pleasant, with lovely views of mist on the lower land. A few ups and downs saw us nearing the highest point at Round Hill which we made at about 0845. The sun was well and truly with us by this point. We saw Grouse and partridge with young chicks along either side of the path throughout the morning and beautiful purple flowering heather.
We enjoyed the easy path and more beautiful views along the way to the Lion Inn, arriving at 1125. Mrs R was there in her support role, enjoying the sun in the car park and being welcomed by curious lambs. We took a seat for half an hour and stocked up on food and drink for the next leg. Sky left the team here as she was struggling with the heat, being half husky and was getting frustrated at not being allowed to chase anything – being half greyhound.
A check of the feet found no real problems and once we had topped up on suncream we were going again, easing off the start of a few aches.
We followed another walker along the road towards the car park at Seavey Hill, gaining on another Lyke Waker we thought, but he turned off and followed a Coast to Coast sign. ‘A future walk perhaps’ we thought.
We met Fat Betty at around 1315 and carried on with a hint of trepidation about the bog to come. The next section I can only describe as a slog, path finding became a bit tricky, we both fell over a couple of times and at least one boot got full.
Blue Man I’ th’ Moss told us we were on track at around 1645, a better path led us past Raven Stones but Gary was struggling at this point, his knees were complaining after the rough ground. We made it to Keys Beck road where he unfortunately had to withdraw. Mrs R put down her ice cream and came to pick him up.
The team was down to one, but the sun was still out and I carried on to Eller Beck bridge. Here I fed and watered again, treated myself to new socks and top, crammed jelly babies and wine gums in my pockets and set off for the final leg at 1915.
I got to Lilla cross just as the clouds started to build in the east. I carried on, phoning Mrs R to update her on my progress. I said I could see the mast at the end to which she replied ‘what mast?’ after a quick check of the map from me and a confession that she was sat in a fish and chip shop in Scarborough, I was happy I was still on course.
The final few miles were in gathering dusk, I disturbed a few sheep with their lambs on Jugger Howe Moor, crossed a final road and met Mrs R with Sky for the last few yards.
I was presented with an unofficial medal – sourced from a shop in Pickering that engraves dog tags! handed a dram of whisky, and driven home.
What a beautiful day.
I’ll persuade Gary to try again!
James R
Driffield

Crossing report for the LWW from Johan Toxopeus, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

Thursday, June 27th, solo, unsupported, 72 years old.

Weather: cloudless, full sunshine the whole day, temp. up to 25 degrees C.

Crossing: East-West.

This is my 2nd crossing. I did it once before in 2011 with my daughter, but she refused to do this ever again. So I had to cross solo.
I stayed at the Smugglers Rock Country House, very conveniently located, almost at the start. I started around 03.50 hrs at the Ravenscar radio mast. The day before I developed my usual back problems, but decided to ignore this. The weather was perfect, but still cold, 8 degrees C, and the first signs of sunrise were visible over the sea in golden rays. The days before there was quite some rainfall and the whole first section over the moors was very wet and muddy. There were a lot of grouse on the moors that flew away just before your feet with a lot of noise. Otherwise it was completely silent and deserted. In the first hour a lot of mist in the valleys and on the moors, beautiful, after sunrise this fog disappeared fast. Around 06.00 hrs a first 5 min rest at Lilly Cross. Changed wet socks. Very wet and slippery going. Slipped and fell in the muck. At 07.10 hrs the railway crossing, beautiful sunshine. Some heather is already flowering.
I had a brief stop at 09.00 hrs at the road crossing near Wheeldale lodge. 2nd breakfast with Dutch ‘krentenbollen met kaas’ (raisin buns with cheese) and bananas. Sock change again. Whatsapp to home front that I am still alive and doing very well.
The next section to the Blue Man was heavy, very stony ‘path’, wet, and no good pace could be made. At 10.20 hrs at the Blue Man, another banana. Further over the moors, bad going, wet, slippery, another fall in the muck, but around 12.30 hrs the first full view of the Lion Inn. Now, the heaviest part of the walk was over and I encountered on the tarmac road the first human beings of the day. Around 13.00 hrs Fat Betty and at 13.30 hrs I sat down outside in the sunshine of the Lion Inn with a well-earned pint of Wainwright and a well earned lasagne with chips (a very typical English combination, not seen on the continent!). Another whatsapp to home front. After an hour rest and a last sock change of a very dirty old man, which embarrassed most tourists who were enjoying their lunch, I entered the old railway road. This was good going, Dutchmen like it flat! 16.10 hrs Bloworth Crossing and around 17.45 hrs I sat down on the bench of the unfortunate Robby who died here doing the LWW. I was rather tired now, another banana, and a phone call to the home front. My three grandchildren yelled to me over the phone to keep going and that really helped me very much. Another 4 hrs to go. I took both lower variants of the route and entered the Lord’s café around 19.15 hrs and to my great surprise it was still open (I thought they close at 17.00 hrs). I had a ice-cold coke to boost-up my sugar level and started the last part. The much feared climb to Carlton bank was heavy and exhausting. A little bit further on I met the last walker/runner of the day, and we had a nice conversation about walking and the moors in general. I made a slight navigation error just after the weir/ford at Hollin Hill and walked to far on the road (I did not bother to look on the map after the Lion Inn), because a van was parked just in front of the Cleveland Way sign. I lost a valuable 20 minutes and energy. The last horrible little climb in the Coalmire and I could sit down rather exhausted on the iron bench. The very nice views have gone here since the trees are too high now, one is getting old. A last effort to the Parking lot were my car was waiting, I parked it the day before in the fog and rain. Arrival at 22.00 hrs. A good 18 hrs walk with 1 hr rest. A beautiful day to remember! I drove to the Queen Catherine Hotel, signed the book and had another coke and phoned the home front of my safe arrival in the civilised world again. Then I drove back to Ravenscar for well-earned whisky and a good rest.

Charity Lyke Wake Walk 29th June 2019

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

A few months ago somebody came up with the bright idea of a company charity event …and this someone evolved into doing The Lyke Wake Walk. Being from an engineering company, where most people are office based, we didn’t exactly have a que of fit, athletic long distance walkers lined up so we ended up with four gullible employees and some family and friends added in for good measure ….making our walking group up to 8 people. We set off at 3.15am in the dark at Osmotherley, gps in hand …maps at the ready. The first stretch to Lord Stones was completed in the mist, up on the cliff top with clouds swirling round and daylight barely visible. The dewy morning caught out it’s first victim at this point – as despite walking poles – I took a good tumble on the rocks and had a proper ‘you’ve been framed’ moment (thankfully no-one caught it on camera).

Lord Stones provided the first pit stop for brekkie, then we pushed on through the mist over to Blakey, walking along the old railway line to Blowworth unaware of the steep drops around as the fog was still keeping the early morning sun at bay. A welcome crew break and refreshment stop came at The Lion, Blakey where we were met by our crew and some much needed comfy chairs. By now it was ‘factor 50’ weather, as the clouds had parted to blue sky and sunshine over the moor, allowing us to fully appreciate the views. Jam donuts, blister plasters and sock changes complete, we pushed onwards up the road looking for the turnoff back onto the moor.

The trusty GPS came in handy navigating the boggy bits over the moor, trying to avoid the bogs, dense reeds and the adders lying in wait to come attack (It certainly made you walk faster when someone shouted snake!). With hindsight, given the heat, we should have had another crew stop Blakey and the Pickering Road, as the next 10+ mile seemed like an extremely long way and we were glad of seeing the crew car parked at the side of the road!

At this point we were making good time and progress and although slightly weary, everyone was bearing up pretty well ….little did we know what would be thrown at us next! We headed away from the road and crossed the stream without too many wet feet and grumbled our way up to the top of the next hill.

A few mile further along and Fylingdales was in sight. Powering down the moor, knowing that the next crew point wasn’t far ahead we were all in good spirits. At this point we had spoken too soon and things started to go wrong! Sonia, the youngest member of our group alerted us to something in the grass. At first none of us quite comprehended what was in front of us …. We had found a lady, laid barely conscious alone in the middle of the moor in the baking sun. Not quite what we had expected to see. After a lengthy call to 999 our group split – with 5 members of the group walking on to the next road point and the remaining waiting on an ambulance and the Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue (volunteers who do a fantastic job and our thanks must go to). Given the remoteness of our location and the situation we were faced with, this halted progress by over 2.5hrs. The first five of our team made the sensible decision after 2hrs waiting to continue onwards, leaving us 3 to give chase half an hour later after we had handed over to the emergence services. By this point it was 6.30pm and we still faced another 8 mile ahead. All of us made a pact that we were finishing no matter what – we hadn’t come that far to drop out!

The last four miles over the stony moorland track and gruelling uphill after the road crossing caused a great deal of cursing, the elusive mast seemed to never be getting any nearer. After a full day in scorching temperatures the weather took a sudden turn and out of nowhere we got caught in a quick downpour of rain, although this was almost a welcome relief by this point and spurred us on a bit quicker. . We made up about 10mins on the other group, finishing the last, never ending, few miles in what was left of the daylight to complete just after 9.30pm At this point the main grumble was that the delay had caused us to miss our fish and chip stop in Whitby, as everywhere would now be shut! Sunburnt, achy, slightly wet and very hungry (yet blister free) we all felt a great sense of accomplishment – Out of our group of 8, only 2 have done any serious (20mile +) walks previous to attempting this. We have raised almost £2000 for Age UK and once we all regained feeling in our legs, discussions started around our next adventure ….. a reverse crossing in 2020 maybe ??? (!!!)

Laura, Mo, Mike, Sammy, Mobeena, Sonia, Akmal, Akram from AVRS Systems Ltd, Middlesbrough.

Lyke Wake Walk, Saturday 29th June 2019

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

A date pencilled in the diaries for 2 brothers (James and Tom) and 1 best friend (Smudger) since March the same year. With the date closing in the weather forecast was that it was going be the hottest day of the year so far, not really ideal conditions to take on the Lyke Wake challenge. Not deterred or put off and never a group that was going to turned down the challenge that lies ahead. We arranged to park the cars at The Lion and Ravenscar, we embarked on the biggest endurance challenge any of us had taken.

We got underway at 04:27hrs after an evening of how best to take on the challenge and a morning spent being eaten alive by midges at the camp site. Tom’s water bladder leaking all over his gear through the night, we were keen to get going to beat the sun over the 1st 10 miles of hills.

Each hill we climbed was covered by cloud and incredibly windy which provided some of the most spectacular views of the day.

                

 

We were 8 miles into the 40 mile when we had our 1st blister. Typically, the only tiny piece of skin not mummified by tape on smudgers foot was his little toe that hosted the 1st blister of the day.

We managed to beat the heat as we ventured over the hills onto the long trail to Blakey. With a reasonable time of 6 1/2 hours, we reached The Lion where the 1st car was parked with extra water, food, change of socks and a toilet stop awaited.

We rested up for about 45mins, with a coffee recharge and an ice cold drink. We then set off to tackle the boggy section.
On a previous practice run of this section (it was a lot dryer) Tom managed to sink up to his knees in mud and split his trousers. With this in mind I was the only one to purchase some new gaitors. The heat was beginning to pick up, and after a lot of rain in previous weeks I was feeling pretty happy with my new gaitors prompting the nick name “gaitor boy”.
It was a lot worse than last time, luckily we had “sheep track” Smudger leading the way finding the best route to keep his and Tom’s boots nice and clean.
Part way through this section Tom started to drop back from a pain in his shins which had been gradually getting worse. After a brief stop to provide some make shift support for his shins, we knew the pace had to slow with more frequent stops if we were to stand any chance of finishing together as we were not prepared to leave anyone behind. We were very stubborn with our attitude that we were all going to finish no matter what.
There was a lovely breeze slightly cooling the day down until we dropped into the ravine at Goathland. This is where we really noticed the heat as the breeze was being blocked by the deep ravine.
There are 2 parts of the walk where we really had to try to switch off and not look forward, there was the stage where Flyingdales RAF base (dubbed the big sand castle) started to come into view and when the radio mast at Ravenscar came into view. They are like optical illusions that never seem to get any closer. It almost seemed at one stage that they were moving further away but we weren’t about to let this dampen our spirits.

With the pace slowed right down we still managed to complete the walk in 16 hours 50 mins.
What an incredible experience. We witnessed the sun rising and setting, we had highs and lows and made memories to last a life time.

           

Tom showed incredible guts, resilience and mental strength to push through the pain he was experiencing for over half of the walk. Tom definitely got the walker of the day award from myself and Smudger as we both know the pain he was going through and the most people would easily gave up. I know a lot of people will say he should have stopped, but this was his choice and I’ve never seen more pure determination to reach a goal, even in my 7 years in the Army.
Smudger was amazing throughout, I didn’t expect anything less. He was calm, lifting morale where needed, always there with a joke normally at our expense and patient even though his hay fever exploded after about 4 miles leading him to bung toilet roll up one nostril only removing it for photos.
I’m going to repeat myself….what an incredible experience, I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else and having spoken to the others we are all in agreement with that
Cheers lads, onto the next challenge.