Crossing Report – 7/8 July, solo and unsupported Claire Chapman

July 12th, 2017

When my husband Tom decided to enter the Lyke Wake Challenge race with our usual partner in crime Dave Allen, I must admit to a bit of jealousy – I only started running in April this year and so am nowhere near that kind of challenge. But having done 20 crossings (walking, the last one just a week before this!) I thought maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt a solo. After all, there would be loads of runners about and people at support stops should I get into trouble.
Tom and Dave dropped me off at the start stone near Osmotherley at 9.45pm and headed back to Dave’s for some much-needed sleep. It was still light and I felt great. Until I descended into the trees and it got dark. At that point, I really questioned what on earth I was doing, I don’t have the best sense of direction and I watch far too many horror films! Passing some walkers going in the opposite direction and then a couple having a massive drunken argument at Lord Stones, I felt more confident – I was still alive!
The disused railway track felt shorter than usual, and I was even able to give some directions to some first-timers. Passing them, I had a real spring in my step as I got onto Flat Howe. Luckily I had my GPS with me (how did anyone cope without these magical devices?) as I was aware that the path seems to appear then completely vanish! The sun came up and the views across the moors were amazing.
I always like the road for a bit of variation in terrain and before I knew it I was on to the boggy section. Having crossed just a week ago, knew it would be a little bit damp but not as horrendous as I have seen it, and despite a little variation off the path, I reached Shunner Howe with no difficulty. Eating breakfast there with the sun shining and the grouse warbling was delightful. Being completely alone with not a soul in sight felt utterly uplifting and, I have to say, spiritually fulfilling.
I pressed on over the next section towards Blue Man I’ the Moss, passing him with no slowing, but the slog to Hamer Road felt utterly horrible. Loads of puddles and kicking every rock beneath my feet led me to utter several expletives to, well, no-one. I was even pleased to have the descent down to Wheeldale Beck and back up to Simon Howe. Here, I admired the view again, and enjoyed the sunshine for a while.
On I pressed to my next goal, Lilla Cross. I love it there, and Eller Beck didn’t give me too much of a challenge. I passed a lovely old farmer repairing his fence at Fylingdales who told me all about the different strains of sheep in the area.
Lilla Cross always marks the ‘you’re nearly there’ point for me, and with this in mind I felt really good. I had a fabulous conversation with the bees buzzing round the beautiful purple heather on the way to Jugger Howe, and even enjoyed going down and up (I usually hate that bit!)
Crossing the A171, I felt amazing! The last walk up to the mast and the finishing stone was much quicker than it usually seems. Solo, unsupported crossing done in 14 ½ hours! I must have been quicker than anticipated as I didn’t see any runners or supports.
I then drove down to Raven Hall Hotel to await the arrival of Tom, Dave, and a couple of other runners from the Quakers Running Club. I had plenty of time to have a cold drink and enjoy the views. At the finish line, I was delighted to see Gerry Orchard finish accompanied by the ever-supportive Julie. We sat chatting in the grass before Tom arrived in the excellent time of 9 hours 9 minutes, Dave not long behind and then the Quaker lads. As we drove off back towards Osmotherley, we passed the amazing Nick Carter, having completed his 30th Lyke Wake Challenge in 30 years. Awe inspiring.
I never tire of this walk. It’s one of the most life affirming and confidence building experiences I can think of. I might even do the challenge race next year if my running improves sufficiently! See you again soon LWW!

Lyke Wake Walk East West Crossing Report 01st July 2017

July 12th, 2017

I’ll not forget Simon Ogier’s bold statement: ‘I think we need to have another go at the Lyke Wake Walk next year’ in a hurry – although I’ve only myself to blame for agreeing with him, must have been something to do with a reasonable amount of red wine that had been consumed earlier that evening in December 2016!
Our previous crossing was completed in 2005, so it was indeed high time we visited our old friend (and foe) once again. As motivation for the walk we decided to raise some funds for the charity Epilepsy Action in memory of our colleague Carlos Arroyo, who passed away in May 2016 following an epileptic seizure.
Having previously crossed West to East and been faced with a lack of facilities and an interminable drive back from Ravenscar, the decision was made to cross in the reverse direction, as whilst this meant a long drive from Simon’s home base in Ripon at daft o’clock in the morning, it would at least get us closer to home at the end of the day.
We considered camping in Osmotherley, but as Simon and Alison kindly offered to put everyone up for the night we decided to stay over and aim for an early start.
After the day’s work was done the team travelled up to Ripon to settle in for the evening which included a quick trip to the ‘One Eyed Rat’ in Ripon – proper real ale pub well worth a visit. Gavin decided that he needed a little more Dutch courage than most and ploughed his way merrily through a bottle and a half of red wine, much to everyone’s concern for his ability to get up in the morning!
Nonetheless we managed a relatively early night and set alarms for 0230 the next morning which arrived way too soon. A steady drive over to the stone by the radio mast at Ravenscar to arrive at 0440 arriving in low cloud/sea fret and chill breeze. One of my colleagues Paul Morritt lives in Burniston and had expressed an interest in meeting us at the start, which he duly did with a much appreciated flask of coffee in order to set us up for a good start.
Timings as follows:
Start Ravenscar/LWW Stone 0501
Eller Beck 0740
Wheeldale 0850
Knott Rd First Stop 1140-1210 – much needed sandwiches and refilling of water bottles. I will add at this point that I don’t remember the section up to this point being quite so boggy – I must have blanked that bit from my memory. My boots at this point seemed to have developed the ability to absorb and retain water which is far from ideal on a walk of this magnitude!
Lion Inn 1255 – weather now much improved, sunny and breezy
Clay Bank Second Stop 1630-1700 – much needed application of blister packs and a change of wet footwear (certainly on my part) and the application of suncream for Ryan (a little late in the day)
Cod Beck/LWW Stone 2040hrs – just one short sharp rain shower to contend with as we headed up on to Cringle Moor. Extremely glad we had walked this section as a practice recently as the path down to Scarth Nick seemed to go on forever!
Overall time 15h 40mins, a brilliant effort by everyone and well deserved condolences to the following:
Gavin ‘Just one more glass’ Bellerby – excessive consumption of red wine on the evening before the walk yet managed to power through and complete the walk
Danny ‘Tusken Raider’ Serrano – unique choice of headwear
Ryan ’Lobster Legs’ Dunning – lack of sun cream had a spectacular effect on Ryan’s exposed legs
Simon ‘New Boots’ Ogier – practice walk two weeks before necessitated purchase of emergency new boots (Second Crossing)
and myself Ian ‘Lead from the Back’ Anderson – this is definitely a marathon not a sprint (Third Crossing)
Many thanks to Alison, Rachael and Eleanor Ogier and Lisa Cooper for much needed refreshments, sandwiches and support driving, Paul Morritt for meeting us at Ravenscar, and Adam Shubber for meeting us in Osmotherley to transport our weary York contingent home.

Crossing report for Becca and Andy White, Tracey Jinks and Andy Mitchell, 1st July 2017.

July 10th, 2017

Thank you for a wonderful walk.

Here is the crossing report for Becca and Andy White, Tracey Jinks and Andy Mitchell made on 1st July 2017.

It all started out as such a good idea.  We travelled up from Gosport to recapture Andy’s youth; brought up on the Moors he was the only one of us who has previous attempted the Walk, let alone completed it.  Nerves started to set in when we dropped off one of the cars in Ravenscar the night before.  It was still early in the evening but visibility was terrible, down to about ten metres and the warnings of changeable weather proved to be accurate.  The car journey to our hotel in Northallerton seemed to take an age and we got our first view of the climbs we would be attempting in the morning. Had a lovely meal in the Golden Lion Hotel where we started to discuss the following day and decided to have a peek on the forums for any recent tips or comments on the boggy bit.  After reading them we decided to make our start time even earlier – now 04:30. After a few hours’ sleep (Northallerton High street is not the quietest place on a Friday night) we arrived at a full car park at Cod Beck Reservoir. Parked up in the next one and got ready to begin our epic trek.

Start photos were taken at the stone and then we headed on up the road at 04:35 waving goodbye to the car as it disappeared from view, wondering how long it would be before we would see it again. After a few nervous minutes of getting to grips with the scales of the maps/GPSr we eventually found a well-marked Cleveland Way and got going on the path.

A pleasant first few miles walking through the woods had Becca trying to teach Andy M some basic woodlore.  We passed the memorial to Bill Cowley and thanked him for a lovely day so far.  5.7 miles in we had our first climb out of the way and we had the first pit stop at Lordstones which was sadly shut as we were so early, even the toilets, which had been an unexpectedly welcome sight.  The day was warming up, layers were stripped and feet attended to. We set off again over the crags but the visibility was poor and we felt like we were missing out on some beautiful views.  At the bottom of the following ‘up and over’ we decided we had had enough of short stabby steps up and down the ‘staircases’ and went for a pleasant stroll through the woods.

The next stop was after 9.7 miles as we got to the beginning of the relatively flat bit at the top of the Walk.  We met a few other walkers here, some doing the coast-to-coast and a couple of brothers overtaking us on the LWW.  We soon set off again and as we waved goodbye to the Cleveland Way we joined the dismantled railway and got lots of local knowledge from Andy W.  There were differing views on the dismantled railway path: those of us with GPSr and waypoints could see where we were heading and felt like we were getting somewhere; those without felt it went on and on expecting every corner to be the last; then there were some that were enjoying the lovely flat path where we didn’t have to check every footstep.

The sun was out now and we were fast approaching our decision point: do we go to the pub?  A unanimous “We’re not walking further than we have to!” meant we left the path and followed the LWW marker over to the road.  We had our next stop here 17.3 miles in and took lunch, tea and a pork pie from Castle Howard for some.  After a bit more foot care we set off again wondering what we will find in the boggy bit.  Half an hour later we found out as we started to follow the boundary markers. Two approaches were taken here, one went for sandals, one went for pocket wellies.  Both were very happy with their decisions.  And for some the boggy bit was the favourite part of the walk. It wasn’t as bad as we feared but kudos to anyone who attempts this in the dark.

Another break was had on Shunner Howe at 22.1 miles.  Some more messing about with shoes was done here as we thought this was the end of the boggy bit.  It was the end of the worse of it but it carried on in parts for another six miles (it finishes at Simon Howe, not Shunner Howe).

We now came to the final lumpy bits.  It was very exciting when we got to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck – it looks just like it does on the YouTube.  A slog over the hill and we made it to our next and final stop at the tracks (30 miles in).  We assumed that the last train had gone by, it was 18:15.  And so a little horror was felt when the whistle was heard a few minutes after a comfort break was had near the line.

There was a navigation fail at Eller Beck by Andy M.  The marked map showed a route to the north of Beck and an unnecessary and unwanted few hundred metres was added to the walk.  After another map consultation, we followed the beck to find a crossing point of Eller Beck.  Those of us with longer legs managed to find it.  The shorter two had to be caught as they jumped the water on some very tired legs.

The final leg now.  The mast came into view as we past the cross and morale was lifted.  The final steep steps down and up to cross Jugger Howe Beck seemed a little cruel, especially the down on some aching knees, but we are now only a couple of miles away from the end and collapsing.  It was a steady gradient up to the end.  We watched a beautiful sunset and after 38.5 miles and 17h 22mins at 9.59pm just as the last light was fading we were done.

The I Spy book purchased the day before was accidentally left in the hotel so now we had to play the list game: “The four of us went on a walk across the North York Moors and we saw: alder, elder, sycamore, oak, willow, green beetles, dragonfly, millipedes, wasps, caterpillars, spiders, bees, frog, toad, butterflies, moths, bunnies, sheep, cows, a goose, lapwing, gulls, crows, robin, chaffinch, and vibrant purple heather.”

We had the post-walk photos at the stone and then headed back to the car.  As we approached we heard an alarm and feared the worst.  Andy W ran down to the car to find that the alarm was somewhere else. Now to see if the legs work well enough to drive.  Driving back to the reservoir to pick up the other car we saw the silhouettes of the climbs from that morning and it felt like an eternity ago.

In summary, we were very lucky with the conditions but still, we set off at dawn and finished at dusk on the longest weekend day of the year.  The weather was ideal, overcast at the beginning with a refreshing tailwind at the end.  The day before had atrocious visibility and the day after was very hot.

Lyke Wake Walk – 11 & 12 JUNE 2017 Anita Thompson

July 9th, 2017

At 54, it’s been a long time coming, but after years of being “too busy” and putting it off, the plunge was taken and the room at the Lion Inn booked in February of this year. I had to do it now, couldn’t cancel and had 4 months to work my way up to the challenge. I’ve always loved walking and living so near the North York Moors has been a blessing, it truly is God’s Country. What could be more life affirming, more joyous, than taking 24 hours away from everyday life and rambling across this wonderful landscape? I’d be following in Denny & Kenny, my uncles’ footsteps, literally, on one of their favourite treks of the 60’s and 70’s – Denny completing one walk, then turning round and doing it in reverse, according to just one family legend.
I have always puzzled over how people can do 40 miles in one go and been constantly amazed at some of the stories of how it was done, especially given the weather seemingly always being harsh at some stages, even in midsummer. Triumphant tales of man over nature, was I up to it? I had decided that maybe not, 12 miles previously being my limit. But, keen to carry on the family tradition, tried to think outside the box. 40ish miles, with 24 hours to complete it – infinitely more possible with a break in between, I was sure I could do it in two 20+ mile stages. So it was decided. Maybe this might help anyone who thinks, like me, that they can’t do it in one go, so they won’t do it at all. That would be a shame, so with 24 hours to crack it, why not use them all??
Setting off, full of beans, at 12.50 on Sunday afternoon, the weather was perfect. Sunny, but lots of fluffy white cloud cover and a breeze. I’d worked my way up to 23 miles in one go, so I knew that stamina wouldn’t be a problem – a few climbs and descents en route to Blakey, yes, I was going to enjoy this. I’d decided on a solo crossing, with my hubby and doggy checking in with me en route. I realise this isn’t recommended, but in my case it was just what I wanted to do. I’d practiced my hill climbing, so getting up above Swainby and along the top of the Cleveland Hills was not so difficult, with nice dry conditions underfoot and the Cleveland Way well signposted. A little teeny bit of rain didn’t dampen my enthusiasm and the magnificent views along the way made for a great start to the trek. That was about it however for the joyous experience of “rambling”. As the wind got stronger, so the numerous ascents and descents along the hills became trickier and my ideas of a gentle ramble along flew away, along with my hat. I hadn’t counted on so many steep ups and downs, the downs slowing me up considerably, as I tried not to lose my balance and crash down to the bottom.
I sailed alongside the Lord Stones Café and scrambled up the next hill. The wind was by now really strong and I had to shelter behind the wall at the top to avoid being blown off. Spectacular views, but I hoped there weren’t any more descents or ascents ahead until checkpoint 2 at Clay Bank. Hah. Each brutal descent bashed by the wind was matched by another slog on all fours up another “mountain”. This wasn’t so much fun anymore and at one point, halfway up a slope, I really thought I couldn’t go any further, the wind was pushing me so much. I asked Denny & Kenny, sure they were watching over me (probably laughing), to help me through. So they did. The wind that seemed determined to push me over now pushed me forward instead. Losing the path a little, meaning I did a little rock climbing (don’t, just don’t look down..), I made it to Clay Bank, just one more death defying descent to get me there, knowing that after this it was plain sailing all the way to Blakey. Do people really do this for enjoyment I wondered?

I’ve walked the path from Clay Bank to Blakey lots of times before, so rather than find it a little boring, I love it, especially as it’s heavenly flat and with the now gentle summer breeze tickling my rather red face. I reached the pub tired, but happy and ready for a hot mineral salt filled bath, a few cheeky ciders and a hearty tea after 7 hours of “rambling”.
I worked out I would need to leave the pub at 4am to stand a chance of making it to the end by 12.50pm on Monday, so that’s what I did. The pub kindly left me some milk and cereal out to set me off to a good start and it was lovely to see the sun rise and light my way. The weather, as it always is around there, was misty and chilly, but at least it was dry. I knew this was the boggy part, but again, having done it before, was prepared for that and initially it was OK. Heavy rain the previous week however meant it was indeed a boggy, up to the knees in mud section and needing my wits about me to try and find the least muddy way through. The only saving grace – no hills around these parts… The path is more difficult to locate after checkpoint 4, but again, I had done this bit before, so chugged on making good time. No big hills (hurrah), but rocky rocky paths taking up all my concentration and would do for the rest of the day. A bit of rain appeared of course but I cracked on towards the Roman Road and then – what a shocker, the steep descent to the stepping stones. I realised then why the walk is not a waymarked long distance route, it is seriously hardcore scary! Joyous ramble? What was I thinking??!
Still, I was still on course to finish on time, but only just I reckoned. No time for hold ups, so I marched on and over to Fylingdales. Here, I lost the route, jumped over the beck at least twice and wept a bit as I realised I was lost and was probably going to miss my deadline. I really did not want to go through all this again to achieve my goal. I was wet, muddy and flagging – I needed my uncles’ help. There, in the shape of my woolly companions on the moor, who seemed to be standing on a path above me, it came – I was literally shown how to get back on track. If I speeded up a little, I might, just might, be able to do it. It seemed to take forever to get to Jugger Howe and I was dreading it for miles before, as my book had said how steep the ascent was. But, by the time I got there I could smell victory and was up those steps like a rat up a drainpipe. I can bloody well do this! I jogged for 50 steps and quick marched for 50 steps until I reached the A171. No time for checkpoints, and with my uncles seemingly stopping the traffic I marched straight across, onwards and upwards – it was tight, but I just knew I could do this!! Where the sudden burst of energy came from I still have no idea, I’d been on the road now for almost 9 hours and here I was, jogging to the finish line!! 12.46pm Monday, legs gone, a little cry, but I’d made it – thank you, Denny & Kenny, this one was for you – and my pedometer somehow recorded 45 miles!

Crossing 30th June / 1st July 2017

July 6th, 2017

After a message sent on a whim back in January this year, and a couple of ‘meetings’ held in a licensed meeting house, we found ourselves at Osmotherley, and the starting stone of the walk at 9.30pm on a gloomy and mist-laden evening. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and we set off in good spirits.  Only a few metres in, we veered off and into the ferns.  We soon realised our mistake and got back on track.  The excursion meant that one of us lost our water bottle.  Nevertheless, after this early setback we quickly got into our stride and found the first checkpoint without further incident, even though the steep ascents and descents were made more difficult by the weather.

We continued in the mists through the Broughton Plantation, which was particularly muddy, but out of the wind.  Finally, after just missing the permissive path, but getting back onto it, we arrived at checkpoint 2 for our first rendezvous with the support van.  We tried to keep to the suggested walking times and found that, although challenging, they were possible and we reached the bottom of Hasty Bank at 1.15 am.  A short stop and we were off on the long leg to Rosedale.  Joining the old railway track, the wind kept up, but we clipped along and made good progress. By the time we passed the Lion Inn, the light was returning and the first signs came that the mists might clear although we missed the shrouded Ralph Cross and Fat Betty.  The road from the Lion to Rosedale Head was longer than imagined, but the van made a welcome sight and we were half way there, all present and correct.

We marched towards the infamous boggy section in light, as an unseen sunrise after 4.30 came just before Ralph Cross. Fears were allayed and a relatively trouble-free passage was made, thanks to some excellent guide work.  We passed a second group on the road before turning off along the county boundary – an unsupported couple who were also walking west to east.  We had previously played leapfrog with another group between checkpoint 2 and Round Hill.  The waterlogged ground continued with us all the way to the next checkpoint, where sock changes and more food were a welcome break.  This was a pattern to be repeated for the remainder of the walk, as the recent rains had left their mark on the pathways.

We continued through Wheeldale and Howl Moor under clearing skies, with the sun eventually starting to break through the clouds before we managed to trudge our way to the end of this section.  It certainly felt the longest, even though we kept on track without fault.  The dip at Wheeldale Lodge was hard and this, coupled with the seemingly interminable haul to Eller Beck, meant this was a tough leg.  The meadows at the approach to the checkpoint looked pretty in the sun, and we all started to feel the heat. It was through this section we met a team walking east to west, having obviously started out early in the morning. We crossed the railway line and found the main road in glorious sunshine, after 10.00.

Taking the standard route from Eller Beck, as it was the most direct, we found the guidebook was accurate, and the paths were sodden.  Having negotiated the bog, this penultimate stage didn’t feel daunting, as we had got so far, and were on the downhill stretch, figuratively speaking.  We all took a breather at Lilla Cross, and found the path to Jugger Howe much firmer.  However, the final ravine was a challenge to tired legs and sore feet, and a short stop at the top of the other side meant a final push to checkpoint 6.  We had planned to press on to the end but the heat of the sun, arriving around noon, persuaded us a quick rest to take on more water made good sense.

The final short leg, albeit with the seemingly moving mast – it wasn’t getting any closer – was in bright sunshine and, with the mists of the preceding night fading into distant memory, was eventually completed and we all made it to the easterly stone marker.

We did manage, more or less, to stick to the walking times as offered in the guidebook.  Breaks were slightly longer, but we completed the walk in 15 hours and promptly headed off to the Falcon for a well-deserved drink and meal.

Double Crossing Lyke Wake Walk 12 – 14 June 2017.

July 1st, 2017

I respectfully submit a report of my double crossing of the Lyke Wake Walk 12 – 14 June 2017 in under the 48 hour time limit. I never thought I would be typing these words; I completed two one-way crossings last year and the prospect of turning around at Ravenscar and walking back again filled me with dread. It’s funny how these things can eat away at you.

So on 12 June 2017 I left my car in Osmotherley and walked the mile or so up the road to the ‘start’ stone. On my previous two crossings I had set off around 5pm and walked through the night. This meant I hit the boggy area, just after the Lion Inn, at first light. The downside to this is the pub is closed as you walk past it in the early hours. On this trip I really needed the pub to be open as I was relying on it for some refreshment – Ok I like a beer. So with this in mind and a bit of a plan in my head I left the stone at 2:16pm and headed off towards the Cleveland Way.

I won’t bore you with a minute by minute account of my crossing. There are plenty of other accounts here for you to get a taste of what to expect.

I reached the Lion Inn before closing time and sank a few pints and a couple of bags of peanuts. As you can gather, I am no athlete. I left the pub at closing time with the intention of walking to the start of the boggy area and grabbing an hour or so sleep while waiting for first light. It was a beautiful starlit night as I headed out of the pub and up the road.

I hate the boggy area. I don’t like crossing it in daylight so there is no way I would venture into it in the dark. So I can offer no explanation as to what happened next. Instead of stopping where I had planned to, I switched on my torch and headed off across the bogs. I was soon out the other side, soaking wet, muddy, but happy to have pinched a few hours. I knew I would have to sleep, but just not yet.

I reached Ravenscar at 10:23am some 20 hours after setting off. I was pleased with this time as I was well within the 24 hours. I had not pushed myself as I was mindful I still had 40 miles to go.

I was out of food and out of water so had to walk down into the village to stock up. I could have done without this extra mileage but had no option. I spent a fortune in the Visitor Centre and gorged myself. I was good to go. Well actually I felt miserable. The thought of walking all the way back again was horrendous. I decided to have a couple of pints in the Raven Hall Hotel to cheer myself up. That’s better! So around midday I set off back towards Osmotherley.

I hoped to reach the Lion Inn before closing as I knew I would need fluid and food. The walk by now was a painful slog. The sun was beating down and I was sweating buckets. My lack of sleep was catching up with me and I found myself stumbling as I fell asleep whilst walking. I reached Lilla Cross and grabbed 30 minutes sleep. I continued my trudge. I never reached the Lion Inn before closing. At 10:30pm I was still 3 miles away with no prospect of making last orders, so I made the painful decision to stop and get some sleep. I grabbed an hour and a half in my bivvy bag in the shadow of Fat Betty. No sooner had I closed my eyes than my alarm was waking me. I was out of food and water and still had 23 miles to go. As I walked past the Lion Inn it was all in darkness. I wandered around the side of the building and found an outside tap. I filled my bottles and drank a belly full.

The walk along the old railway line was an amazing experience. Despite my sleep I was hallucinating wildly. Rocks were turning into creatures, I saw a lady walking her horse, a bandsaw, snakes and various other figments of my imagination. It became so bad that set my alarm for 30 minutes and sat down on a rock for more sleep. This seemed to do the trick and I was soon making some progress. The Lord Stones Cafe was just opening as I passed and a full breakfast with a couple of cups of coffee was a lifesaver.

The final few miles were not as bad as I thought they would be. The food and drink at the cafe really helped. I reached the ‘start’ stone at 12:08pm. 84.5 miles in just under 46 hours.

I have now had a couple of weeks to reflect and this was a great adventure. Although I have presented this as a bit of a slapdash affair, I did carry full emergency equipment including a bivvy bag, sleeping bag and SPOT GPS tracker.

Stay safe out there and watch out for bandsaws.

Mick

South Lincolnshire.


Mick Ellis

 

You can never go back. Except you can. Alas Saturday 10th June 2017

July 1st, 2017

You can never go back. Except you can. Alas

 I would like to report a successful crossing of the North York Moors on Saturday, 10th June, under the auspices of the Lyke Wake Walk.

 It was, to steal a phrase, a sentimental journey for half our number. Me, Martin Bryant, and my friend and former school colleague, Kayvan Molavi, had undertaken the walk separately, but only a few months apart, in 1995 – back when still firmly entrenched in the bosom of our alma mater, which offered the walk as a way for us young’uns to escape the grimy backdrop of our South London existence, and breathe in some air, and feel the soft ground under our feet – all 2 miles of soft ground that the LWW course offers.

 In the name of consistency, and for extra sentimentality, our then form teacher, David Gordon, reprised his role of support driver for the day. David’s complete lack of concession to any sentimentality, and his status as a Lyke Wake Past Master, meant, however, that we were in the best, and most practical of hands.

 Completing our walking party were our wives, Catherine Bryant, and Emma Vaun – incredibly rich additions to our lives which would frankly have seemed incredibly unlikely from the vantage point of our then 15 year-old, boys’ school, and correspondingly socially and emotionally-crippled selves. Well, in actual fact, only Emma made the start, my wife Cat sensibly opting-out on the eve of the walk when she saw the forecast for the day’s walking, wishing to avoid the low-visibility and high-chafing it portended.

 The three of us set-off at 5.45 from the starting stone on the edge of Osmotherley, cheerful enough after a good night’s sleep and with only a light and refreshing drizzle to contend with, and secure in the knowledge that we had only a 40 minute stroll to contend with ahead of our first check-point at Huthwaite.

 We arrived at Huthwaite a mere 1 hr and 15 mins later, Kayvan having missed a left turn that added a good mile, and much confusion, to our journey. David was waiting for us in his high-vis jacket, visibly highly unimpressed at the prospect of shepherding these morons across the remaining 40 miles of this, and suddenly we were 15 again and metaphorically handing in a piece of sub-standard German coursework.

 

A quick shedding of a layer (we had started off being over-dressed) and we were off again over the exposed and elevated stretch from Huthwaite to Carlton Bank. It’s a fine line, over-dressing and under-dressing, and the discarding of just that one layer had sent us veering across the other side of it as we ascended to meet the mists and the winds picked up and set their course for horizontal. We had company in the form of another group of walkers, the irrepressibly cheery male member of their party promising us he’d have a pint waiting for us in the bar at the end, as he overtook us. I nodded politely, my experience of marathon running very much teaching me that these sort of things are precisely the proverbial marathon, not a sprint, and quietly confident we might see him again.

 A warming coffee was waiting for us at Carlton Bank, David manfully getting the stove going in high wind, and seemingly having forgiven us for our first leg faffery.

 Onwards then to Hasty Bank, and an existential choice: do we take the easier walk round the hill, or dig in and go over it. Kayvan, a military man, and chastened by the earlier map misreading, decided that going in as straight a line as possible was best, so over the hill it was. Heavy going, but still, the views of the mist were spectacular from there, and I got a bit of a thrill ride as I lost my footing and all but slid down its sheer face, Emma just grabbing my rucsac and rescuing me in time. I was suitably hacked-off and muddy, yet blissfully unaware this was to be but an overture for the sludge symphony to come.

 It’s the stretch over the old railway, by way of Bloworth where the walk proper begins as the miles start to rack up and the course becomes that bit more rugged. And, if you’re lucky, the weather becomes that much more weathery. We were lucky. My London friends Facebook and Instagram feeds were, by this point, stirring into life as they boastfully woke up to the prospect of a beautifully sunny day in the capital. Luckily for us, though, we couldn’t be cowed by being made aware of this relative deprivation, as heavy rains began to mingle with the mists and horizontal winds to the extent that my hands were too numb to even work the zip to reach my phone, let alone manipulate its various functions. The flipside of this came when nature inevitably called, and wrestling with my flies proved equally challenging. Eventually, pulling down my trousers in the manner of a toddler proved the only way to get the equipment out before I actually briefly provided some warmth to the inside of my trousers. After 15 attempts, I managed to redress myself, and had to jog a little to catch up with Kayvan and Emma, who had by now receded into the distance.

 

The end of this stretch becomes navigationally somewhat ambiguous, so we all had what can be referred to as a “subtle shift in mood” as we found ourselves again a little lost, and desperate to get to the next checkpoint, some lunch, and those previously discarded layers. A stumble of a few steps further was, mercifully, enough to reveal David’s high vis a mere 100m in the distance. I had hoped to have a pasta salad at this point, but found I only had the manual dexterity to clumsily shove a cheese sandwich into my chattering maw. I eventually warmed up enough to be able to put on the extra layer, and change into some dry socks. Still took me what felt like 20 mins as I began to get heckled by a, rightly, increasingly impatient Kayvan and David.

 Group morale at a bit of a low, we hambled on to Hamer, Emma and Kayvan envying my dry feet for the half mile they remained so. Our resolve to pick up the pace a little and out-walk the cold was soon scuppered by our first encounters with the bogs, and pathways that had, by now, become streams. Emma, a lot shorter than Kayvan and I, suffering the most on this section as she gamely had to navigate the bogs, occasionally succumbing, and re-emerging, muddy to the knee. Ex-military herself, she had experienced far worse, and took it in good cheer.

 The leg to Stape Road was incident rich in an already incident-packed day. the first part of this stage should be a gentle, non-eventful walk along the road. We, however, were party to a mercy killing: a poor young grouse had been hit by a car and was lying in a very sorry state in the middle of the road. Kayvan stepped in, and, military and sporting instincts to the fore, swiftly dispatched it. Stomach-churning yet admirable all at once. A left turn into more rubble and bog lead to more death and decay; Kayvan delighted to chance upon a sheep’s skeleton with a “clean” skull. Despite Emma’s remonstrating, in the rucsac it went – as much to prickle my sappy, city-boy sensibilities, as to eventually adorn his garage wall, I can’t help but suspect.

And yet therein lay the beauty and purpose of this walk: a chance to reminisce upon and celebrate a friendship that has endured despite the gaping years and gaping gap in our worldviews (one of was pleasantly surprised by the very recent election result, one of us was delighted that The Monster Raving Loony Party was still an option). In fact, I, buoyed by a quickening pace and a gradual return of feeling to my appendages, was the very spirit of this rapprochment as I said to Kayvan, “do you know what, I reckon I could actually hack life in the militaaaaaaaaaaaaar” – the end of the phrase lost as my gob filled with brackish water, the only logical result of a very unarmy-like fall, face first into an all too accommodating bog.

From there it was relatively plain sailing – the section to Eller Beck saw me merely wind myself by slipping on a flagstone and falling flat on my back, and the route to Whitby channel my inner Doctor Foster by stepping in a bog almost right up to my middle. Emma and Kayvan were, like me, tiring but unlike me their luck hadn’t deserted them and we all limped on.

You may be wondering if the weather was still as atrocious. It was. It relented for 30 mins, then came back, but you become used to anything, and after a while it just became a backdrop – especially once we had donned the appropriate layers again and were beyond the visceral reach of potential hypothermia.

Appropriately enough, as we did the last short leg across toward our goal, the clouds lifted, and we were presented with a most gorgeous sunset, which we could enjoy safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to press on in the dark (we’d lacked the [night] vision to bring torches).

David and his high vis jacket was waiting for us at the end, and seemed to never shine brighter despite the dimming light of day. We were knackered, but, as many before us, content at our efforts.

Oh, and yes, what of our cheery, pint-promising friend? We passed him as he was doubled over at the start of the descent of the beautiful, yet unwelcome up-and-down section on the Eller Beck leg. Highly satisfying, but we rose above the temptation to give him a taste of his own medicine. In part because, at ca. 15hrs and 40 mins, we were way off the 12-13 hours we had foolhardily envisaged, and we were in serious danger of not even making last orders. Particularly as we had missed last orders at Ravenscar’s fish and chip shop, and David had to ferry us to Scarborough. Landing on its high street on a Saturday night, we fitted right in as, like the refreshed locals, we too, for our own reasons, staggered along the pavement in search of sustenance.

So, a splendid-ish time was had by all, memories were brought back to life, and plenty of new ones were made. Here’s to the third attempt in 2039.

Saturday 24th June 2017 “The Scene was set …………………………………..”

July 1st, 2017

I would like to inform you that The Emley Drama Group’s Walking Group achieved the LWW on Saturday 24th June. We started at 00:15 and finished at 21:30. The reason we took so long was that my right knee gave out 5 miles into the walk, I strapped it up and walked the next 35 miles with a stiff leg, lots of pain (and painkillers) and amazing support from my fellow walkers and our support team. I hope your walk went well, you probably passed us at some stage but we couldn’t work out who you were. I would like to remind you that you asked if I could order you some nice weather, and I said I would order cloudy weather, no rain and no hot sun. I would like to remind you that was what you got! So my title of Witch is fully deserved! Below is my personal report of our trip across the Yorkshire Moors. I hope this is the sort of thing you want.

 

Hello everyone, I am Karen, a member of The Emley Drama Group’s Walking Group. Earlier we put up a report about our then upcoming attempt, it’s the last one in May 2017 have a look if you would like to know why we were attempting the walk. Well, I would like to inform you we achieved the crossing on 24th June 2017, started at 00.15 and finished at 21.30. It wasn’t a fast time, we weren’t the oldest or the youngest, we weren’t a record holding crossing in any way, just a group of 3 walkers raising money for Diabetics UK to show a friend how much he means to us. It looks like we will have raised over £600. Even that isn’t special as lots of people attempting the crossing do it to raise money for lots of equally worthy causes. So what made our crossing special, why will I remember this day in my life and see it as something special? Here are the 2 main reasons it was special to me;

1) It was the hardest thing I have ever done! My knee gave out 5 miles into the crossing but I never once thought of giving up, it meant too much to me and I knew that the pain I was having would eventually go in a few days but the pain people get from Diabetes won’t go away. Also, it appears I am a very stubborn person, well who would have guessed that.  I do however know that I couldn’t have done it without the support of my fellow walkers, Amanda and Kate who stayed just in front of me, giving me something to aim for or walking with me talking rubbish to keep my mind off my pain. It must have been so frustrating for them to walk so slowly but as they said, ‘we started as a group so we were going to finish as a group’ and they were cheerful all the way. That kind of support, teamwork and community spirit has to be felt to be believed.

2) The pure selflessness of our Support team, which consisted of Jane and Stanley (her long legged Jack Russell). She sacrificed her chance of doing the LWW to be our support team (or maybe she had more sense than us) They were there to cheer us off and to cheer us in. At every checkpoint, there was her brand new red car, like an oasis in a desert. Chairs were put out, food and drink were made ready, water to bathe our feet, Compeed for toes and blankets to keep us warm,  she seemed to know in advance what we needed and pampered to our every whim. There was precious little time to appreciate these home comforts, as we were well behind schedule due to my useless knee. We would just abandon her to carry on our way. She then put everything away, got in the car and drove to the next checkpoint often many more miles than we had to walk. We sent her texts as we passed trig points so she knew how we were doing and to keep us safe. On one stage Jane and Stanley walked to join us and accompany us to the checkpoint adding fresh conversation and observations of others doing the same job for other teams of walkers. Little glory goes to the Support Teams, so this report is to sing their praises and to show our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for them being there for us. High five to Jane and Stanley.

And just to finish, I would like to add, the Yorkshire Moors is an amazing landscape, only truly appreciated when on foot, we saw an amazing sun rise coming up over Rosemary Topping and an even more amazing sunset dropping behind Robin Hood’s Bay. We would like to thank all the people who help to preserve this unique landscape and environment and the people who enjoy it and treat it with respect.

From one of the Three Witches of Emley

BART BEECH – UNSUPPORTED SOLO CROSSING – 19/20 JUNE 2017

June 28th, 2017

I am 67 years old and live in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, New South Wales. I came across the Lyke Wake Walk when I did the Coast to Coast walk in June 2012 with my wife and another couple. It was something I’d had in the back of my mind since then and the opportunity arose when I had a few days to spare in June this year. The idea of floundering about in a bog in the dark doesn’t appeal to me so I had decided that the best way to attempt the walk was to do it when the days are longest and to spend the darkness hours in the Lion Inn. The only day in my window of opportunity that they had accommodation available was Monday 19 June so that determined the timing of my attempt. Obviously a 10 pm check-in and departure at 3 am is not common as they made me pay in advance before even accepting my booking!
So I bought the two 1:25,000 OS maps and marked the LWW on them. I then cut off the only bits I needed – luckily the LWW is completely contained in one of the 4 horizontal quarters of the map so the cut was simple but I found it very painful as I love maps! I arrived at Scarborough in a hire car on the evening of Friday 16 June and spent the week-end familiarising myself with the parts where I thought navigation would be a challenge. I also met several sets of LWW walkers who were able to advise me of conditions and alert me to problem areas – mainly Rosedale Moor where I spent some time finding the best way through and left some markers to help me find it again. I also left supplies of water in strategic places to limit the amount I’d have to carry.
I set off on Monday 19 June at 2.15 pm precisely from the LWW stone at the Osmotherley car park in warm dry conditions, although I had my waterproofs on board as the forecast included the possibility of a shower. My focus was on getting to the Lion Inn by 9.30 pm when they stopped taking meal orders! I picked up the steak and ale pie I had reserved at Lordstones café and stopped to eat it on the ridge after Wain Stones taking in the spectacular view over the flat country to the coast and Teeside. Fellow walkers were few and the only person I saw after the half-way mark at Clay Bank was a distant person in a high-viz jacket doing I know not what in the middle of the moor. However non-human life was profuse with grouse and they babies, other birds, sheep and rabbits everywhere. Conditions were excellent and my load was light so I was able to arrive at the Lion Inn at 8.51 pm, time for a shower before dinner!
I’d had a problem with the alarm on my phone so the helpful staff at the Lion Inn were able to lend me an alarm radio. I was also able to drop off and leave a bag there to be picked up so I was able to have a change of socks and other essentials without having to carry them – luxury! So I set off on plan at 2.51 am on Tuesday 20 June with my focus on getting to Ravenscar before 1.45 pm – the time of the last bus to Scarborough (or indeed anywhere else)! However the conditions were nothing like the previous day – it was very cold and I was able to see the white line and edges of the road. Luckily this was all I needed as it was all I could see in visibility of 25 yards (I was able to determine this by measuring the distance to the white line gaps as I walked – I had nothing else to do in the 5 km of road walking). As time progressed it got slightly lighter but visibility didn’t improve. If I hadn’t have walked the section over Rosedale Moor on the week-end I would probably have had to abandon the attempt as the prospect of being on unfamiliar moorland bog in fog before 4 am wouldn’t have been inviting.
As it happened I set off in visibility I was able to assess at 40 yards by measuring the distance to boundary stones as they came into view. As I approached the boggy area I found my markers set on the week-end and was able to safely negotiate it without mishap or wet feet. Visibility was no better by Blue Man i’ th’ Moss and it was not until I approached Wheeldale Road that I started to see some swirling of the mist and visibility improved to a couple of hundred yards. I also saw sheep for the first time – I don’t know where they had been lurking until then. However the handy concrete compass of Fylingdales which I had been looking forward to using was nowhere to be seen! I also met a frog – it and my left boot must have left the ground simultaneously without being aware of each others presence. They met in mid-air giving me a surprise and the frog probably the shock of its life. Luckily it was only a glancing blow and it was able to hop off after landing on the path and steadying itself.
Visibility gradually improved as I got more tired and I found myself drifting off the track for the first time going up Eller Beck – due to lack of concentration. Again the value of the week-end reconnoitre proved invaluable as I was able to recognise my error and quickly get back on track. I was also grateful that all of the water I had left was still there to be picked up, enabling me to keep the weight down. At Lilla Cross the ground was dry enough to sit down for the first time to have a snack – luxury! I was also able to appreciate the solitary beauty of the moorland – at this stage after 6 ½ hours walking the only humans I had seen were in cars on the roads I had crossed. After this I perked up and was able to up the pace with the finish (and the last bus from Ravenscar) within reach. About 1 km before the finish I met the first fellow walker – a photographer out to take pictures of the moorland flowers. Shortly after I was at the LWW finish stone at 11.29 am – 21 hours 14 minutes and 35 seconds after setting out, with exactly 6 hours of this time having been spent in the Lion Inn. I walked slowly to the Raven Hall Hotel to enjoy a couple of pints and lunch before catching the bus to Scarborough and civilisation.
I’m already thinking about a walk in the opposite direction but a winter crossing holds no appeal for me; however who knows – that may change!
Bart Beech

Crossing 20th June 2017 ……………

June 22nd, 2017

On June the 20th myself and Lorna completed an unsupported crossing in just over ten hours. We started at around 1130 pm, the weather was fine though there was a good solid easterly wind blowing and it was somewhat cooler than it had been the previous couple of nights. We set off at a steady run and were very soon climbing up Carlton Bank and then across the base of the three users to Clay Bank. The lower track was nice and dry and made for easy running once you zeroed your eyes in to the tree roots!
After climbing Carlton bank we had a brief stop and sat on the bench and looked at the lights of Broughton and Teesside below us. Pressing on we were buffeted by a persistent wind all the way to Bloworth. We said hello to the Face Stone as we passed and he must have been smiling on us as the wind calmed somewhat as we hit the Railway Line to the Lion, sadly already closed a pint of OP would have gone down a treat! Having traversed the railway line we hit the Road and made our way to the turning point at a steady canter well Lorna did I think I trotted or trudged I hate Road.. Once onto the Moor I picked up the pace and headed down towards the bog. Thankfully quite dry and runnable. I even managed to get across without ending up into my knees at last my route selection appears to be improving, or was it just dry
After crossing the road we were soon passing the Blue Man in t Moss again we doffed our caps to him and pressed on. This section is also pretty dry. By this time the sun was starting to come up and a bright pink line was appearing to the East. The stepping stones at Wheeldale were crossed without incident or mishap and we continued on up to Simon Howe by now it was the half light that heralds the dawn. Simon Howe stood out proudly welcoming the coming dawn.  This thought entered my head as I ran past not sure whether it was tiredness or something else that sent me off Waxing Lyrical….
After dropping down to the road we had a quick pit stop and a bite before pressing on the wind was still pretty keen and not at all Solstice like, jackets were donned and buffs pulled up!
Ellerbeck came and went without incident oh apart from Snake gate Lorna was by passed by an early morning Adder which sidled past her as we made for Lila Cross. The next few minutes mainly consisted of Lorna high stepping and shrieking through the long grass pursued by wriggling slithery things.
Lila came and went  how many people have passed that ancient cross over the 1400 hundred or so years that it has stood sentinel.
Once on the yellow track we picked up the pace and rushed down to Jugger Howe I do truly love Jugger Howe not my fastest ascent today though! Lorna showed me a clean pair of heels, well maybe not the clean bitI
WE soon crossed the Scarborough Road and began the interminable climb to the mast try as i might I could not stop peeping at it to see if it was getting any nearer and of course it didn’t !
A few minutes later we both touched the LW stone and gave the mast a steely eyed Ive got you at last look! We then  sprinted gingerly down through the field along the Road and back to Eleanor who was parked just short of Ravenscar Hotel. A quick change and a rather large breakfast and several steaming mugs of coffee were the order of the day!