Lyke Wake Walk, Saturday 29th June 2019

A date pencilled in the diaries for 2 brothers (James and Tom) and 1 best friend (Smudger) since March the same year. With the date closing in the weather forecast was that it was going be the hottest day of the year so far, not really ideal conditions to take on the Lyke Wake challenge. Not deterred or put off and never a group that was going to turned down the challenge that lies ahead. We arranged to park the cars at The Lion and Ravenscar, we embarked on the biggest endurance challenge any of us had taken.

We got underway at 04:27hrs after an evening of how best to take on the challenge and a morning spent being eaten alive by midges at the camp site. Tom’s water bladder leaking all over his gear through the night, we were keen to get going to beat the sun over the 1st 10 miles of hills.

Each hill we climbed was covered by cloud and incredibly windy which provided some of the most spectacular views of the day.

                

 

We were 8 miles into the 40 mile when we had our 1st blister. Typically, the only tiny piece of skin not mummified by tape on smudgers foot was his little toe that hosted the 1st blister of the day.

We managed to beat the heat as we ventured over the hills onto the long trail to Blakey. With a reasonable time of 6 1/2 hours, we reached The Lion where the 1st car was parked with extra water, food, change of socks and a toilet stop awaited.

We rested up for about 45mins, with a coffee recharge and an ice cold drink. We then set off to tackle the boggy section.
On a previous practice run of this section (it was a lot dryer) Tom managed to sink up to his knees in mud and split his trousers. With this in mind I was the only one to purchase some new gaitors. The heat was beginning to pick up, and after a lot of rain in previous weeks I was feeling pretty happy with my new gaitors prompting the nick name “gaitor boy”.
It was a lot worse than last time, luckily we had “sheep track” Smudger leading the way finding the best route to keep his and Tom’s boots nice and clean.
Part way through this section Tom started to drop back from a pain in his shins which had been gradually getting worse. After a brief stop to provide some make shift support for his shins, we knew the pace had to slow with more frequent stops if we were to stand any chance of finishing together as we were not prepared to leave anyone behind. We were very stubborn with our attitude that we were all going to finish no matter what.
There was a lovely breeze slightly cooling the day down until we dropped into the ravine at Goathland. This is where we really noticed the heat as the breeze was being blocked by the deep ravine.
There are 2 parts of the walk where we really had to try to switch off and not look forward, there was the stage where Flyingdales RAF base (dubbed the big sand castle) started to come into view and when the radio mast at Ravenscar came into view. They are like optical illusions that never seem to get any closer. It almost seemed at one stage that they were moving further away but we weren’t about to let this dampen our spirits.

With the pace slowed right down we still managed to complete the walk in 16 hours 50 mins.
What an incredible experience. We witnessed the sun rising and setting, we had highs and lows and made memories to last a life time.

           

Tom showed incredible guts, resilience and mental strength to push through the pain he was experiencing for over half of the walk. Tom definitely got the walker of the day award from myself and Smudger as we both know the pain he was going through and the most people would easily gave up. I know a lot of people will say he should have stopped, but this was his choice and I’ve never seen more pure determination to reach a goal, even in my 7 years in the Army.
Smudger was amazing throughout, I didn’t expect anything less. He was calm, lifting morale where needed, always there with a joke normally at our expense and patient even though his hay fever exploded after about 4 miles leading him to bung toilet roll up one nostril only removing it for photos.
I’m going to repeat myself….what an incredible experience, I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else and having spoken to the others we are all in agreement with that
Cheers lads, onto the next challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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