20-21 June 2010 – Steve Moses

Crossing achieved by Steve Moses, Jordan Millward, and Bee Moir, started at The Queen Catherine pub, Osmotherly square, 10.30pm 20th June, finished at The Lyke Wake Walk stone, TV mast, at Ravenscar, 8.30pm 21st June 2010. We reckoned 21 hours not counting breaks.

Sharon Spedding and Jamie Melville retired at The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, Joanne and Paul Brennan retired at Ellerbeck.
Group were supported by Ped, ( Orland Pedelty) without whom we just wouldn’t have made it!

Oh my God!

Whatever we were told, whatever warnings we had, and whatever expectations we held, nothing prepared us for the real experience.

Seven fit…….. well, two 10 mile joggers, one gym bunny, 3 seasoned walkers ( err, seasoned by 7-10 mile ‘oh what a beautiful view’ walkers mind you!) and one ‘I’ll be alright, I’m always on the go’ innocents decided to take on the challenge sometime last November.

Three practice walks, of 10, 20 and 28 (we couldn’t work out a circular 30 miler) miles later, and off we set, 10.30 at night, on what proved to be the hottest couple of days we’ve had this year, on the legendary Lyke Wake Walk.

All went well until reaching Lord Stones cafe, yes. it was dark, but surely we should have found the path more easily? a brief panicked wander later, and we were going up Cringle Moor, along Kirby Bank, and eventually to the Wainstones…..

3 of the party being quicker, but not used to the route, went round the stones to the north instead of through them, resulting in near death experience as they clung desperately to clumps of grass as they clambered round the edge. The slower of us caught up with them and couldn’t even look at what they had done, still go cold thinking of what could have happened.. but my word the breaking day was beautiful.

By Blakely Ridge we lost one of the fittest (and nicest) people you could hope to meet, to crippling blisters, One of the seasoned walkers, and probably the one we most favoured to complete the challenge, dropped out with him, emotional ties overwhelming personal ambition. Dont worry, we confidently said, look on this as being your practice walk, when you’ve recovered, we’ll do it again with you, and next time you’ll complete…….. err, at the time , just half-way through, we were feeling good, didn’t know what was to come.

Our passage over the ‘boggy section’ was somewhat of a relief, because it wasn’t boggy at all. It had all more or less dried up. This relief soon turned to boredom as the paths went on and on and on and on………. We missed our support at Hamer due to the closure of theRosedaleroad and our water ran low. At this point, another of our party began to struggle due to blisters. We eventually crossed theRoman Roadand, with aching knees, carefully picked our way down to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck. We paused briefly to bathe our feet. It felt like Heaven. At this point two chaps who appeared considerably older, but fitter, than us, yomped past us, we were to discover, at Ellerbeck, that they too were completing the challenge, and had set out at 4.30 that morning!

We lost two more group members at Ellerbeck Bridge, again blisters had shredded the feet of one, we’d watched her endure the most tortuous stony sections without a complaint, a fine birthday present for her being ruined feet, and only a semi-melted birthday cake as consolation. Her partner, and at that time the person who seemed to be holding up best, retired with her. Both of them climbed up to Simon Howe far ahead of the rest of the group, showing that only cruel injury prevented them completing the challenge. How frustrating to get 3/4 through and have to drop out, not fair!

We’ll crack on, said the final three, its only another seven miles, how hard can it be?……

All thoughts of ‘we’ll do it again’ changed to ‘we’ll advise other people not to even consider it’, and, ‘maybe, maybe, I’ll be someone else’s support team’. Next year’s challenge changed from the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ to ‘who can make the best tea’.

So, finally the end is in sight. Jugger Howe the last torment to endure before the home straight. But after hobbling to the bottom of the ravine, and climbing painfully back to the top, the person with the least developed directional instinct, (and the most contagious panic) screams ‘but the listening tower is over there’ pointing to a mast on the left, and to the north. Only the thought of going back down (in case she was wrong and had to come back up) or surging over the thistle strewn land between us and what she thought might be the path to the mast, created enough incentive to listen to the more sensible (and surely only coincidentally male) members of the party who knew by map and compass that the path went straight on.

Although the last stretch of path seemed to turn into an escalator running in the wrong direction, we finally made it to the stone, and the car waiting to take us back to hot baths, hot food, cold beer, bliss!

Never again! ……….. Never again? Within two days we were already estimating how we could shave hours off our crossing time.