Crossing, 1st October 2018

Crossing Report No 3

Well, it had to happen, didn’t it? We’d done it twice before from Osmotherley, and the allure of the potential title “Master Of Misery” was impossible to resist. So we agreed to make an attempt on a third – and unsupported –  East to West crossing. Parking the car on a small spot of hard standing just a few yards from the Ravenscar beacon, we set out from the stone shortly after 7.00 a.m. on Monday 1st October – the 63rd anniversary of the very first crossing back in the mists of time….

Luckily for us the mists of time were nowhere to be seen as we began on a clear and cool morning with a slight headwind for company. Above us the clouds looked vaguely threatening but were sliding past, and gradually cleared towards the southeast without bothering us. We were travelling light, alternately jogging and walking, with our eyes on a 12 hour crossing.

It was strange crossing Jugger Howe Beck with fresh legs! Navigating was pretty straightforward as we made a beeline for Lilla Cross, then veered away from Fylingdales to drop down to Eller Beck Bridge. By this time the sun was out, the clouds were gone, visibility was extremely good and a freshening breeze from the northwest kept us cool. We followed our noses past that to arrive at Simon Howe and onward to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck, and on up to the road. We were beset by a tad of indecision as to the best line from here, resulting in a spot of heatherwork to find and join the best path we could alongside the Wheeldale Plantation. We arrived at the Blue Man-i-th-moss and pressed on, with thoughts of a lunch stop at the Lion already uppermost in our minds. The path across the peat proved pretty benign thanks to the baking summer, and we came through unscathed save for one or two brief muddy squelches – just enough to soak the trainers but no worse. On reaching the roads at Rosedale Head we jogged round to the pub where the nutritional repast of choice for elite athletes like ourselves – a huge plate of chips and a pint of coca-cola – went down a treat. Six hours gone and on schedule.

Leaving the comfort of the seats in the pub was psychologically damaging, and we emerged to join “the long and winding road,” as someone once said, that leads not to your door in this case, but to Bloworth Crossing. This proved to be extremely tedious and tiring in equal measure, in the face of a fresh headwind. Our efforts at running decreased and the time spent plodding went up accordingly. But all bad things come to an end, and the section across Urra Moor and down to the road crossing at the foot of Hasty Bank saw us making better progress. We manfully skirted round the Wainstones, choosing instead to trot through the woods of the Broughton Plantation, and continued on to pass the Lord Stones Café somewhere around 5pm. Fortified by ham and egg sandwiches that had earlier been acquired at the lunch stop, we felt that victory was within our grasp. By this time it had started to rain gently, so it was time to don the raincoats and raise the hoods. Up we gasped onto Carlton Bank, and then enjoyed the gentle descent across and down to Live Moor Plantation and Huthwaite green, to which we were briefly chased by an all too friendly large greyhound that seemed, perhaps understandably, to have mistaken our lower legs for a couple of pairs of  chicken bones.

Passing through Clain Wood our spirits were considerably lifted by glances at the watch, which revealed that our time was good. Emerging at the cattle grid, we made our way cheerfully to the finishing stone, even managing to take in the last few hundred metres at a shambling shuffle, if not a true run. Nevertheless we stopped the clock in 11 hrs 33 minutes. Job done! Time to go home and rejoice in the misery of it all….

 

Nick Coombes

John Bamford

Crossing date: 1st October 2018

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