Crossing report for the LWW from Johan Toxopeus, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Thursday, June 27th, solo, unsupported, 72 years old.

Weather: cloudless, full sunshine the whole day, temp. up to 25 degrees C.

Crossing: East-West.

This is my 2nd crossing. I did it once before in 2011 with my daughter, but she refused to do this ever again. So I had to cross solo.
I stayed at the Smugglers Rock Country House, very conveniently located, almost at the start. I started around 03.50 hrs at the Ravenscar radio mast. The day before I developed my usual back problems, but decided to ignore this. The weather was perfect, but still cold, 8 degrees C, and the first signs of sunrise were visible over the sea in golden rays. The days before there was quite some rainfall and the whole first section over the moors was very wet and muddy. There were a lot of grouse on the moors that flew away just before your feet with a lot of noise. Otherwise it was completely silent and deserted. In the first hour a lot of mist in the valleys and on the moors, beautiful, after sunrise this fog disappeared fast. Around 06.00 hrs a first 5 min rest at Lilly Cross. Changed wet socks. Very wet and slippery going. Slipped and fell in the muck. At 07.10 hrs the railway crossing, beautiful sunshine. Some heather is already flowering.
I had a brief stop at 09.00 hrs at the road crossing near Wheeldale lodge. 2nd breakfast with Dutch ‘krentenbollen met kaas’ (raisin buns with cheese) and bananas. Sock change again. Whatsapp to home front that I am still alive and doing very well.
The next section to the Blue Man was heavy, very stony ‘path’, wet, and no good pace could be made. At 10.20 hrs at the Blue Man, another banana. Further over the moors, bad going, wet, slippery, another fall in the muck, but around 12.30 hrs the first full view of the Lion Inn. Now, the heaviest part of the walk was over and I encountered on the tarmac road the first human beings of the day. Around 13.00 hrs Fat Betty and at 13.30 hrs I sat down outside in the sunshine of the Lion Inn with a well-earned pint of Wainwright and a well earned lasagne with chips (a very typical English combination, not seen on the continent!). Another whatsapp to home front. After an hour rest and a last sock change of a very dirty old man, which embarrassed most tourists who were enjoying their lunch, I entered the old railway road. This was good going, Dutchmen like it flat! 16.10 hrs Bloworth Crossing and around 17.45 hrs I sat down on the bench of the unfortunate Robby who died here doing the LWW. I was rather tired now, another banana, and a phone call to the home front. My three grandchildren yelled to me over the phone to keep going and that really helped me very much. Another 4 hrs to go. I took both lower variants of the route and entered the Lord’s café around 19.15 hrs and to my great surprise it was still open (I thought they close at 17.00 hrs). I had a ice-cold coke to boost-up my sugar level and started the last part. The much feared climb to Carlton bank was heavy and exhausting. A little bit further on I met the last walker/runner of the day, and we had a nice conversation about walking and the moors in general. I made a slight navigation error just after the weir/ford at Hollin Hill and walked to far on the road (I did not bother to look on the map after the Lion Inn), because a van was parked just in front of the Cleveland Way sign. I lost a valuable 20 minutes and energy. The last horrible little climb in the Coalmire and I could sit down rather exhausted on the iron bench. The very nice views have gone here since the trees are too high now, one is getting old. A last effort to the Parking lot were my car was waiting, I parked it the day before in the fog and rain. Arrival at 22.00 hrs. A good 18 hrs walk with 1 hr rest. A beautiful day to remember! I drove to the Queen Catherine Hotel, signed the book and had another coke and phoned the home front of my safe arrival in the civilised world again. Then I drove back to Ravenscar for well-earned whisky and a good rest.

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