Crossing Saturday 27th July 2013 Nick Coombes & Chris Wood

What follows is the Lyke Wake Report of Chris Wood and Nick Coombes, of West Ayton and East Ayton respectively, following their maiden crossing of Saturday 27th July 2013…

Now here’s a tale I’d like to tell,
Like many heard before
It tells of how two youngsters
Set off to conquer the moor.

Two pals they were from Ayton village
One’s East, and one’s from West,
They came not to set records,
But to put themselves to the test.

Handsome and bold, fearless and brave
These young men were – ‘tis true,
And the years they held between ‘em
Only totalled a hundred and two.

They drove off from their village
In the middle of a moonlit night
The stars shone brightly to guide their way
It was a magnificent sight.

They parked by Cod Beck reservoir
And filled up on sarnies and tea
They planned to start at 4 o’clock sharp
But first they both needed a pee.

That done, they started up the slope,
as Brian’s book says you should.
The skies were clear and dawn was breaking
As they journeyed along Scarth Wood.

They passed on through and climbed the steps
With nary a thought of stopping
And as the sun rose on Drake Howe Hill
They spotted Roseberry Topping.

At checkpoint 2 they stopped to put on
Suncream and drink water.
Then undeterred and without a word
They went on like lambs to the slaughter.

They lengthened their stride cross Urra Moor
The pace got slightly faster.
Bloworth Crossing came and went,
Thoughts turned to beer and pasta.

At the Lion Inn they met their team
Just seven hours had passed.
The supporters gave out sandwiches
Which they gobbled down real fast.

Refreshed, they stood and thanked their team,
Clean socks on their smelly feet.
Then on they pressed to the old Ralph Cross –
Ahead lay the path of peat.

The summer heat had helped them;
T’was mostly dry and spongey.
But here and there still lurked some spots
Of bog, which were quite gungey.

And so of course it came to pass,
As the Gods of the moors may please,
That Chris fell into a deepish hole
And sank right up to his knees.

His partner Nick ran to lend a hand
But Chris climbed out unaided.
He seemed to have gained a pair of socks –
Dark brown and fairly jaded.

As they continued across the peat
They suffered the briefest of showers,
But little did they know what lay in store
In the following couple of hours.

Onward now the heroes pressed
Past checkpoint 4 they strode
Their target was now Eller Beck
But their pace had slightly slowed.

And as they passed the Man i’ th’ Moss
Their cheerfulness was banished
As, despite the line of dots on the map,
The path had completely vanished!

From north to south across the moor
By heather they were confronted
Some of it old, some of it tall,
And some of it quite stunted.

No trace of a passage could they espy –
The heather had covered it all.
No choice remained but to stagger on through
Trip, stumble, slip and fall.

They gained a lot of knowledge there
About Yorkshire’s moorland heather:
That it scratches your legs to hell and back
And seems to go on forever.

But with never-ending fortitude
They finally prevailed,
Their courage never faltered;
Their spirit never failed.

And as they neared checkpoint 5
Where more sustenance awaited,
A beautiful adder crossed their path
Which left them both elated.

Now at this point it’s fair to say,
The two were feeling shattered.
A cup of tea and a slice of cake
Were all that really mattered.

And there she was, the maiden fair,
Standing by the beck
Across the moor came Nick and Chris
And they were neck and neck.

Nick’s wife and son were there again
Five hours since the pub.
They fed the walkers and saw them off
Refreshed by tea and grub.

The day of toiling in the sun
Had left our heroes dirty,
The homeward push was on them now,
The clock stood at 5.30.

They trudged on up to Lilla Cross
In view of the “big cheese grater.”
They knew that they would finish now
The question was “sooner – or later?”

They wondered how other travellers
Could do it in rain or snow.
Because, despite the good weather,
The legs were beginning to go.

But finally, despite the pain
The Beacon hove into view,
They crawled along those final miles
And reached it at 8.32.

Still not content with the victory
They pressed on to the Raven Hall bar.
It took thirty minutes for that last mile –
The hardest one by far!

Exhausted, grimy, weary and worn,
They sat and supped their beer,
And said to each other, with a strange sort of grin
“Shall we do it again – next year?”

Leave a Reply