Lyke Wake Crossing by Pat Fowler and Graham Dixon – 28th June 2019

Those people attending the Annual Wake in March of this year learned from my Doctoral Thesis that the Lyke Wake Walk was found to be a very effective tool for assessing the suitability of a person for membership of a Mountain Rescue Team. To be a full member of the Team which Graham and I lead, a person must have successfully completed the walk and during the walk also satisfied us that they have the necessary psychological makeup and team working and navigation skills. Well, as leaders of advancing years(combined age of 140), we obviously need to demonstrate to our Team members from time to time that we are not asking them to do something that we are not capable of ourselves. Thus, at 4.10am on 28th June the two of us once again found ourselves standing at the Lyke Wake Stone Osmotherley ready and raring to go.

The weather was kind, overcast to start with but it was not long before the sun came out complemented by a nice cooling easterly breeze. I’m pleased that we weren’t walking the following day which was the hottest of the year so far. Looking back on that first section, I can’t understand how it always comes as a bit of a surprise how much ascending and descending there is between the start and Clay Bank.

First 10 miles completed we sat at the side of the road at Clay Bank drinking freshly brewed coffee and eating a sandwich at 7.30 in the morning. I wondered what passing motorists must think….. Probably ‘what a strange time and place for a picnic’ or simply ‘weirdos’!

The disused railway line on the next section gave a nice respite providing the usual easy walking and fantastic views for several miles. Freshly cooked Sausage baps at Ralph’s Cross provided by our intrepid support Team (our wives) were very welcome. I’m sure you appreciate that on an actual Mountain Rescue, support and sustenance are very important and the walk did give us the opportunity to assure ourselves that the support provided was still up to the required standard. The weight of responsibility lies heavy sometimes but fortunately the support was faultless.

Anyway, back to the walk. The boggy section wasn’t too boggy and our feet remained dry which is always a bonus. We were very impressed by the report by the Group who had the eventful crossing on 14th June after a week of heavy rain. In contrast to their experience, the stepping stones when we reached them were well clear of the water and everything looked quite idyllic.

The climb up to Simon Howe found us flagging a bit. Low sugar level was identified as the culprit so we had to break out the emergency rations, (it’s important to be prepared). A mars bar for Graham and a flapjack for myself which seemed to do the trick.

We maintained a good pace after the Fylingdales break where we left our rucksacks with our support team. Even though they were of no great weight, it felt really good not to have them on our shoulders anymore. Down into Jugger Howes and up the other side with only the occasional groan on the way down. We reached the mast at about 6.45, all in all, a truly miserable experience as usual. As a Lyke Wake Walker, that’s what a Dirger is supposed to say isn’t it, not what a fantastic and satisfying day….oh and the couple of pints and a meal at the Hayburn Wyke Inn afterwards didn’t half go down well.

Well that’s it then, we demonstrated to the members of the MRT that their two ancient leaders are not past it yet and can still pass the Lyke Wake test. Mind you for a Mountain Rescue Team we do maintain a very low profile and a relatively laid back approach. At our age we don’t want people ringing up at some ungodly hour from some remote mountains in the wilds of Lincolnshire wanting to be rescued. Oh have I mentioned, we are the Leaders of the Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Team!!!

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