A lovely day, mostly

Happy to report our first crossing, unsupported, on 25th May 2019, going from West to East. After snatching 3 hours sleep we got to the stone in Osmotherly just before 4am and headed off up the hill toward Scarth Wood Moor, following the route in Brian Smailes’ guidebook. The sun was about to rise, and the vista was stupendous, totally clear visibility (for a change!), birds were singing and all was wonderful, apart from my usual trick of twanging my right knee by an over-zealous blast-off. Fortunately I know from experience that the pain will walk off in half an hour. So we proceeded happily until, on the ascent on Live Moor, I played a little motivational bagpipe marching music on my phone (not antisocial as we were totally alone!) and twirling my walking poles theatrically, twanged my right knee in my zeal to stick it to the Sassenachs. (I’m English but did live in Glasgow for a decade…). So, after the Black Bear had finished I switched off The Pipes and focussed on walking straight…
We plodded on in beautiful spring sunshine until we stopped for a sock change and a bite of lunch at Fat Betty, by which time minor aches had sprung up everywhere, for both of us, seeming to compete for your attention like a pack of petulant kids, until they all melded in to a general background of physical fatigue….

Mary and Gavin enjoying the moment near Fat Betty

(Another chap who was doing the walk at more or less the same speed crossed our path a few times, although he spent some time at check-points, and we didn’t see him after we exchanged a few words with his wife waiting for him at Checkpoint 5 – hope he finished ok. He must have thought we were sitting on the route at Fat Betty and headed off north along the bridleway, until realising his mistake a few minutes later….)
Anyway we ground on in a haze of minor physical miseries, but loving the experience, until a misty rain began (just as the forecast predicted) in the ankle-twisting trail on Wheeldale Moor. The weather was no problem but the word “purgatory” seemed to be stuck in my brain at that point, and our mood descended into grim determination…
Once at Lilla Cross, as we all know, the psychological boost of seeing the end on the horizon fuelled us through the last several hours, until finally we could fire up the skirl o’ the Pipes for a victory march and a few selfies at the Ravenscar stone.
Would I do it again? Yep…maybe in reverse…maybe solo…Mary isn’t so sure, but we shall see…it was only yesterday after all…
For the record we did 16 hours 28 min, which I was a bit disappointed in, it just means “try harder” eh? I turn 60 next year so I need some targets! Cheers all….

Gavin Cutler & Mary O’Neill (still sleeping it off!)
Hull

Leave a Reply