Crossing Report. 25th July 2020

“Having been full of anticipation through the week, starting at Osmotherley at 04:40 felt slightly surreal in the semi darkness of a cloudy Saturday 25 July 2020. We were full of excitement, trepidation and appreciation for our lift from Redcar, courtesy of Jenni.

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The Cleveland Way was memorable for its unbeatable views. At one point, Carlton Bank felt like the border between summer and winter, with clouds whipping off the moor, only to instantly dissipate when meeting the ridgeline.

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Arriving at The Lion just as it opened, 7 hours later at 11:45 with the sun shining, we felt like the world was at our feet and that we’d finish by 20:30, easily! How wrong we were.

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Peat bogs (apparently conditions were good?!) and knee deep heather made going extremely tough and our pace really suffered. Hours would go past with the landscape barely changing. There was a sense of jealousy at the souls laid to rest in the barrows below. This was a real test of mental strength.

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Stepping stones and Lilla cross were reached, but by this time the beautiful sunset was rapidly disappearing and the torches that we didn’t actually need in the morning were now becoming our most essential item. Ravenscar radio tower was briefly in sight, but the next time we saw it, we were only 200 metres away! At 23:20, we touched the end stone. Total time 18 hours 40 minutes.

At the finish, I almost couldn’t tell whether the approaching lights on the road were from Jenni’s car or that from the sweet relief of death. Never has a pin badge felt more coveted or deserved.

Low points: The never-ending section between Smith’s Lane and Wheeldale Road; going dark on Flyingdales.

High points: Starting stone to The Lion – what an amazing section; lunch; puzzlingly, the final ascent from Jugger Howe Beck; finishing (I think?).

Huge congrats to the people running the route: the couple just before the Wainstones; the chap just after The Lion, and the couple just before Shunner Howe. Running seems like a good idea now, if only to end the misery sooner! Not sure our feet would have managed it though.

Never again (maybe).

Harry and Elsa, from Newcastle.”

Thanks very much for all of this, the walk will live long in the memory.

All the best,

Harry

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