Lyke Wake Crossing Report Saturday 22nd May 2019.

June 25th, 2019

A group of us from Northallerton completed the LWW last Saturday the 22nd June and I have written a brief account of our adventure below. It was a good walk with great scenery so thanks for the good work the club does in keeping the information available online for fools like us to take up the challenge:

On the 22nd June 2019, 12 of us huddled around the stone at Ravenscar for a 4am photo of the start. Despite there being a few hiccups up to that point (sleeping through alarms, wrong pick-up times etc), the group had planned sufficiently well to take these issues in our stride and still met the start time with everyone present and correct. Hopefully this preparation (or possibly blind luck) would continue to pay off during the day.
A suitable pace was set, interrupted only by photos of the sunrise until the question of route choice was raised – a previous recce was to be thanked for allowing someone to point out the error of our path choice before it was too catastrophic, and upon consulting the map we corrected for our 2 off-course drifts with a short off-piste wade through the brush. Upon regaining the correct path we noted that the 2 walkers holding maps were chatting at the back and made a mental note to regroup and confirm any choices at junctions. The weather was kind to us as the sun came up over relatively dry moorland and, while the paths were not always obvious, it was at least possible to choose a winding (tortuous?) route rather than the wading upstream we experienced on the aforementioned recce. Good spirits held, and progress was made at a steady pace of around 3mph.
The group was made up of some firm friends and some new acquaintances but during the day we learned a lot about each other, including such information as their favourite expletive or shrieking pitch when the bog was found to be deeper or the mud found to be more slippery than expected. We can all now say with certainty to whom an unfortunate incident has happened by their distinguishing cry. Nearing halfway morale started to get a little lower as people were individually afflicted by niggling troubles and the group became fragmented as the difficult terrain dragged on.
At the halfway(ish) point of the Lion at Blakey we were met by our 1st support vehicle and “Sherpa Kate” for restocking and sock/boot changes. 30 minutes was our allotted time and we all set off with freshly re-weighted baggage and bellies. All were pleasantly surprised by the change from twisty boggy paths to well-made trails and the speed, and mood, once again picked up as previous discomforts were temporarily forgotten.
The next support point was at Clay Bank (thanks Sherpas Sarah and Jen) where we mysteriously lost a team member for whom the lure of nearby hot food and rest for weary legs presumably overcame the upcoming sense of satisfaction at completing the challenge. A shame as the best part of the walk with good paths and less barren surroundings was just starting. The rest of us continued on towards our next support rendezvous resembling a troop from Monty python’s ministry of silly walks as various discomforts in feet and legs made their presence known once more. At Carlton Bank we found our support team of Paul and Vic had a camp stove set up with a choice of freshly made tea or coffee and ice creams waiting for us. This was just the pick-me-up we needed and after a brief sit down we made our way onwards towards the finish while the words “its somewhere between 5 and 10 miles to go” were ringing in our ears.
Onwards we trudged; different people leading for the ups and then swapping for the downs as it became possible to tell where people’s blisters were located by the walking styles they presented. We all adopted determined grimaces and pushed on. Before long we were met by support crew coming the other way to guide us home in the evening sun. This same support crew that had provided ice creams soon lost whatever favour they had earned when they directed us up the hill to a false finish at the LWW stone at grid ref: 471002 rather than the one at the head of Cod Beck reservoir.
Down the path and onwards along the road we struggled and assembled next to the stone atop a painfully small mound for celebrations and photographs at the end of a long day’s walk. There was talk of a pint or 2 in the pub, but for all except one brave (alcoholic?) adventurer the prospect of being transported home to warm baths was too compelling. A total of 17 hours for the journey across the moors and not one drop of rain, a remarkable feat on, what, by this time, had become remarkable feet.
Completed 66km in 16hrs 53 minutes traversing from East to West and raising ~£1000 for the Northallerton Amateur Swimming Club were:
Dirgers: Jonathan Brown, Pete Hinde, Mike Margerson, Peter Stanley, Jamie Tosh, Alastair Wilkin, Andrew Wyllie.
Witches: Beverley Bowers, Wendy Patterson Cullen, Sarah Schofield, Angela Wilkin.

Thanks
Pete

Lyke Wake Walk 14th June 2019

June 16th, 2019

We did it!!

Myself (Tara Morris), Jade Baker, Christian Player, Abby Prince, Adam Tennant, Rob Davisworth, Amy Fleming, Penelope Chan, Melissa Hird, Andrew Walton and Richard Bentley completed the Lyke Wake Walk on Friday 14th June.

We set off from Osmotherley at 4.15 am (slightly later than planned due to one team member having a bath before he left!!). The first 10 miles were nice and straightforward with everyone in good spirits despite the rain. We are all pleased to see our first support vehicle at Claybank, especially as he had been locked in the campsite at Osmotherley until 7 am so it was close!

The next 10ish miles were a fairly pleasant walk along the old railway line with the next stop for hot dogs at checkpoint 3 (near the The Lion Inn).

Section 3-4 started off well and we were all pleased to see ‘Fat Betty’. However we then came to the peat bog section and it was tough going, three days of severe weather meant it was wet and slippy and took a lot longer than expected. We had people falling in wet holes disguised by heather or not quite making the jumps over the streams so we were very wet. One member slipped on a bank and fell, she warned others not to follow suit however another member of the team was sure he could manage it and then in slow motion came to exactly the same fate!!

We were all pleased to see the next support vehicle and change our socks!

Section 4-5 Hamer to Eller Beck was again quite boggy. The stepping stones were under water but only ankle deep. Some of us took our shoes off and walked across which was quite refreshing. One of us (the netballer) did this and decided to throw her walking boots across rather than carry them, unfortunately she did a terrible throw and the boot landed in the water, but not before the ‘catcher’ went in up to his knee trying to catch it! Great comic relief but very wet boots and people!

A final break and cake stop with the last support vehicle and then the final stretch. It felt like we would never get to the radio mast but we did and the feeling was great! We celebrated with Prosecco and lagers!!

We were all very tired, with some blisters and sore legs but the great company, lovely scenery, fantastic support and the fact we raised approximately £1,500 for our chosen charities made it all worthwhile.

The Lyke Wake Walk in Super Quick Time ………… a Walkthrough

June 4th, 2019

Nigel Curson created this wonderful overview of the walk.

Strap yourself in ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

A lovely day, mostly

May 28th, 2019

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

Made it, in only 18 hours!

May 9th, 2019

I am pleased to report that my friend Tony and I successfully completed our first ever crossing over the weekend of the 27th and 28th April.
I am very excited to be able to now style myself as a Dirger.
We set off at 9 00 pm on the 27th and walked continuously overnight through gales rain thick fog and torrid conditions, which included suddenly coming face to face, at about 2 am, with a cow standing fast asleep and quite motionless on a narrow path. For all the world it looked like some kind of Lyke Wake ghost. Another highlight for me was to experience the strange sensation at about 6 00 am of falling asleep while actually walking which is, interestingly, a first for me, a man in his late sixties.
We were met by a friend at Lila Cross and completed the walk in warm sunshine. The beer in Ravenscar tasted better than any previous ale although when I tried later to stand up my body refused to agree to instructions.
All in all a memorable weekend.
Would I do it again?
Mmmm…..
Gordon

Crossing Report 3rd/4th May 2019, I Blame John Kettley

May 5th, 2019

My latest lapse into ‘funereal masochism’ saw me perusing the weather forecast. Mmmmm, thinks ‘if I leave Friday midday-ish, should get most of the way across before the BBC-predicted northerly gale & showers arrive in the early hours’ – at my standard late middle-age* pace I should get 80% of the way across before that lot arrives; in return for decent conditions to start with, I reckoned I could live with blustery showers from Ellerbeck to Ravenscar (I’ve been wet before & I did eventually dry out!). However, the Lyke Wake weather gremlins had other ideas. As I set off from Hamer I felt a soft pattering on the back of my head and white flecks sped across my head torch beam. Paul Hudson et al, you’ve got to be kidding, for goodness sake hailstones in May! In short order Wheeldale Moor became Winter Wonderland & by the time I got to Blue Man he was wearing a modest cap of hailstones. This meteorological nonsense persisted all the way to Ravenscar. Once again a failure of BBC weather wisdom (come back Keeley Donovan, all is forgiven).
For the record 16hrs, including 45 mins for a leisurely late lunch at Lords Stones.
Yours, with modest Lyke Wake hypothermia
Dirger Ian Evans
(* when I initially typed this I put ‘muddle-age’ instead of ‘middle-age’, perhaps I was giving myself a clue!)

26-27th April 2019, East to West – Three Holderness lasses with Hannah in the Heather!!

May 3rd, 2019

On locating the carpark near the Lyke Wake stone in Osmotherley at 9.45pm, one of my friends got out of the car only to fall over a wooden kerb in the carpark and ended up sprawled on the floor – hoping this was the worst it would get we gathered ourselves together, touched the stone at 10pm and began our adventure.
We had a very dry couple of months prior to the walk and certainly reaped the benefits underfoot in the boggy sections later in the walk. We bounced across like three gazelles! OK. Maybe not exactly but it was good going! The same cannot be said for the weather overhead. Storm Hannah was hot on our heels! Crossing Carlton Bank she caught up with us – rain and freezing wind pelting us with full gusto!
Hannah continued to hover around us for nearly all of the walk except for the last 5 miles where I dare say the sun was trying to make an appearance. Carefully scheduled ‘sock’ changes had to be deferred until dry spells – at one point a friend changing her socks near the ‘Blue Man’ waving her bare foot around in the middle of the Moors with me crouched next to her rubbing talcum powder between her toes! Memories to treasure forever.


It was lovely to bump into Brian Smailes (the author of the Lyke Wake Book) at the Hamer check point. He signed my book whilst trying to shelter from the wind and rain in the front seat of our support vehicle – leaving a few smudgy words in the front of my book which will forever remind me of this very wet crossing.
The second to last section saw us loose some concentration which meant that we took (I think) the alternative route, adding unnecessary miles to the walk. Frustrating.
Digging deep and carrying on meant we finally touched the stone in Ravenscar at 4pm. Elated, exhilarated, exhausted but not enough to stop us enjoying a plastic cup of prosecco to celebrate our achievement!
Katherine, Pam and Jenni

 

EAST-WEST CROSSING – 27 APRIL 2019

April 29th, 2019

I’ve walked the Lyke Wake Walk twice, west to east. When I told my wife I was planning an east-west crossing to qualify as a Master of Misery she said, why bother, you’re there already. But, knowing from my previous two crossings that the LWW was a tough but enjoyable walk, I found a good friend (or at least he was) and set out from Ravenscar at 0530 on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The weather during the day went from ok to poor to bad to diabolical, but we had the kit and we both smiled in adversity (hah!) and ploughed on, arriving at the Lion Inn at 1300. For some reason I can’t quite explain, at this juncture we thought we’d cracked the walk and proceeded to sink a few pints and get down a hearty lunch. Pish, we thought, that’s the back of this crossing broken. Oh poor naïve southerners, oh simple men of the city, oh ye who did not read the upcoming contours and terrain on the map a little better. Still, a few pints of Guinness does wondrous things, and we ploughed on through the driving rain with aches and ouches and blisters beginning to make their presence felt. By Round Hill, however, we knew this east-west crossing was ours for the taking. Let us cut forward two hours, now getting late in the afternoon, and show you two broken walkers, wet through, miserable, bedraggled, chilled, morale in our boots, exhausted, severely unamused, and watch them pitifully struggle up yet another seemingly vertical climb – Hasty Bank, Wain Stones, the lookout point, and then Carlton Bank. And we seemed to be covering no distance at all on the map. It was as devilish an end to any endurance walk ever, absolutely awful, really hard going, and then – no, no, surely not! – the steepest of woodland staircases in the forest on Limekiln Bank. Really you had to laugh. Walking west to east, easy, easy, easy! Walking east to west, my goodness those last ten miles, after a full day on the Moor, are demanding. Had the weather been kinder, or we had been a little more thoughtful in the pub, or perhaps had done some more training … who knows. But for the two of us, that east-west crossing is something else. We finished, finally, at 2050. Based on my own personal experience, I’d add two hours to whatever you might do the W-E crossing in. Master of Misery – I think I might have earned that (please).
GS & JS

Crossing Report 29th/30th March 2019 – Pants to That!!

April 2nd, 2019

Crossing Report 29th/30th March 2019 – Pants to That!!
There’s been one constant factor in my dirging activities since I recommenced Lyke Wake Walking 5 years ago – my ‘lucky’ dirging trousers. Every one of my 25 (maybe it’s 26?) crossings from September 2014 onwards has been achieved wearing the same pair of black jeans. Sadly, my latest jaunt across Blackamore lead to the demise of this much favoured item of dirging attire.
But firstly a warning. Don’t, whatever you do, believe John Kettley, Michael Fish, Paul Hudson or whoever else dispenses the BBC’s distilled weather wisdom these days (I’d make an exception for Keeley Donovan). With a BBC website forecast of a minimum overnight temperature of 8?C for Goathland you might guess a temperature of 6? maybe 5? on Wheeldale Moor? Don’t believe it for a minute – thick frost and very bracing conditions were what I got in the early hours from Blue Man eastwards; it felt more like minus 5?. The descent down to the stepping stones proved very ‘interesting’ as the frosted grass & bracken were like a ski slope & I had to resort to using the drystone wall as a bannister to avoid a very rapid uncontrolled descent to the beck.
As dawn started to colour the eastern horizon I was making my way up the gravel track towards Lilla. I was using two head-torches (one, as you’d expect, on my forehead, the other handheld) but the lighting conditions were the kind of twilight where the torches make little difference. I put my foot down on the flat verge at the edge of the track but it wasn’t flat at that point and I slipped over on the frosty grass ending up in an undignified heap on the north side of the track. I used the full extent of my ‘Anglo-Saxon’ vocabulary to loudly summarise this situation to myself & any grouse or sheep that might happen to be listening. Then I gathered myself together to resume and discovered: (a) the handheld torch had disappeared into the heather (minor treasure for anyone who cares to look); and (b) a serious wardrobe malfunction had occurred with my lucky pants ripped fore to aft in the most strategic of locations. Fortunately my anorak is knee length sparing the my blushes on the approach of any sheep or of passing motorists on the A171.
On return to base I consulted my sartorial and haberdashery adviser on the prospect of repair of the aforementioned much cherished trousers. The Commander-in-Chief held the prized garment aloft using thumb & forefinger and issued a one word reply ‘Really?’ [I’ll take that as a no then.]

West (Osmotherley) to East (Ravenscar) Crossing, Crossing Date: 8th March 2019, Dirgers: Tom & Claire Chapman

March 18th, 2019

As the date for your crossing approaches, you can’t help yourself from flicking to the weather forecast almost daily. The weeks leading up to our crossing had been incredibly dry but as per usual it poured with rain in the final few days, nicely topping up the bogs, Wheeldale Beck and other streams and just about anything else designed to hold water.
We started our crossing at 6:45 am with clear blue skies and a temperature reading of -3 degrees meaning that the muddy patches would be frozen solid, at least for the first couple of hours. The sun was rising as we hit the tarmac heading up from Cod Beck reservoir, towards Scarth Nick woods and the day was warming up, although it was still bitterly cold in the shade and on the tops.

                

We took the lower path around the former Coalmire plantation as I was keen to see what this was like now the area has been de-forested. I can see there have been significant path improvements along here, especially as you head down towards Clay Bank so this factor coupled with the frozen ground made progress fairly easy.

Over the road and back on a familiar path, up over Round Hill onto Bloworth Crossing. The sky was starting to cloud over but the forecast had promised no rain until the evening, so we were still high and dry. The wind picked up as we trudged the railway path – as it always does – and chased us along the Flat Howe path to Old Margery where we had our first meeting with our support team Gerry and Julie. That section is so much easier in daylight than it is in the dark.

Gerry pointed out a variation on the path across to Fat Betty which we duly followed, before meeting the support crew again at the FryUp turn off, just before Rosedale Moor. By now the ground had thawed suitably and the bogs were as boggy as you like. No bouncing across springy peat today, it was a bit of a slog over to Shunner Howe down over Hamer road and onto Wheeldale Moor. The light cloud had turned somewhat darker and as we were approaching Blue Man, a light drizzle soon turned into a permanent downpour that would accompany us for the rest of the crossing – so much for the weather forecast.

The Blue Man section was rocky and squelchy in equal proportions but navigated without drama. Come Wheeldale Beck, the stepping stones were underwater but not too deep so we were able to wade across – our feet were drenched already so this wasn’t making us any wetter!

The climb up to Simon Howe was fairly good going, the ground wasn’t as waterlogged as the past ten or so miles had been, so we made good headway over to our next support spot at Fylingdales. I had been fairly snap-happy for the first half of the walk but the camera never left my pocket after Flat Howe as the landscape was very wet and grey.

Normally the march up to Lilla Cross is quite a slog especially in the heat, but on this occasion it was fine and given that we had wet feet already the sodden ground didn’t slow us down.

There have been significant improvements to the path leading up to Lilla Cross and down towards Jugger Howe – parts of this are still a work in progress so every now and again you go from a nice smooth path to navigating your was through ankle-snapping stones, but within a few months this section of the path will be a joy to walk.

Jugger Howe is still a steep down and up and not always welcome this late in the game. But for me it means your thighs are doing the work so it does give you ankles a brief rest (that’s me looking for a silver lining in the clouds).

Not far to go now, and having looked at my watch I saw we could just about squeeze in a sub-10 hour crossing. So we gave our support party the briefest of waves as we crossed the busy A171 before heading towards the mast overlooking Ravenscar. Still raining, still windy, still cold, but as the mast was looming large none of that mattered any more. Upping our pace a little, we touched the Lyke Wake Stone and a check of the watch gave us a finish time of 9 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds.

I can’t think of a better way to spend the day, can you?