Crossing Report – Alastair Hutchinson – Saturday 22nd August 2020

My Dad (Chris) made me aware of the Lyke Wake Walk about 20 years ago, when talking about possible long distance walks I could do. It is still marked on his old OS map. I have always intended to complete a crossing, but work, Morris Dancing, and other commitments have always transpired against me, despite only living in Leeds for the past 15 years.

My in-laws (Lynne and Martin) moved to Redcar 4 years ago, which gave an even more convenient drop of and pick up opportunity. The limited opportunity to celebrate my 40th Birthday during lockdown, and a bit more free time, gave the impetus to get on with the crossing. That said, it was little more than a week before walking that I firmly decided I was going. I would have loved my Dad to have been able to join me, even only as support, but sadly it was not going to be possible.

Lynne, Martin and I left Redcar at 03.30, I was dropped at the departure stone at Osmotherley just after 04.00, and start walking at 04.15. I had planned the departure so that I would be on the top of Live Moor to see the sun rise, and enjoy the morning sun as I made my way across the Cleveland Hills. My intention was to get Ravenscar for about 20.00, just before sunset and dusk.

Early catastrophe was avoided on departure, as I was texting family to let them know I was on my way. I walked off the road and into a ditch. I managed to stay upright. Don’t text and walk!

Though slight cloud cover meant I missed the sunrise itself, the morning was glorious, dry and clear and I enjoyed the views of the Tees Valley. All was going well until descending from Cringle Moor, when I noticed my feet seemed slightly sore and a little damp, which was unusual for a trusted pair of GoreTex boots. Closer inspection showed the sole splitting from the boot, on both feet. A phone call to wake my Wife (Sarah) at about 07.30 and I arranged for a pair of trainers to be delivered to Clay Bank. My old walking trainers were well worn, but it meant I could carry on. Sarah was dispatched to buy me a replacement pair of walking boots.

As I reached the top of Round Hill the heavens opened. The rest of the railway track was relatively uneventful, with rain showers and sunny spells. I reached the Lion Inn (and Sarah, Lynne and Martin) at 12.15 – later than I had hoped given the boot debacle. It had become clear my old trainers were not going to get me to Ravenscar either, so I gambled on a new pair of walking shoes Sarah had delivered.

I departed the Lion Inn at 13.00, the new shoes settled in very well (I was very lucky), and then the heavens opened as I approached Rosedale Moor. Picking through the bogs took a lot longer than I had hoped – it took me until 16.30 to reach Blue Man-I’-th’-Moss. From there I seemed to make better progress – but was later than I had hoped. I made Lilla Howe at 20.30 – as darkness finally fell – and here the walk became a real challenge. The descent to Jugger Howe Beck took me until 23.30. Picking my way down the hill, with little sign of a path, in the dark was infuriating – and then seeing the climb to Jugger Howe was demoralising. I picked myself up and cracked on. Sarah, Lynne and Martin, who had been waiting at Ravenscar since 21.30 met me at the car park at Jugger Howe for encouragement. I then set off for the short walk up to the trig point at Ravenscar. Sarah had already found the stone, and Martin had parked with the car headlights on it so we could take a picture. A quick inspection revealed Sarah had found a gate post, so I set off back to the trig point with Sarah for a completion photo.

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