Crossing with Canine 21st July 2015

I would like to file my report on your wonderful Lyke Wake Walk, and my crossing of it on the 21st July 2015, from Osmotherly to Ravenscar. Which I completed on 15 hours and 47 minutes, the time is less the time stopped at checkpoints. The walk was just I and my little 6 year old Cairn Terrier Maisie who accompanied me every step of the way. She is a wonderful little dog who is has always been my walking companion, and has the biggest heart possible. We completed Hadrian’s Wall in June together, and we regularly walk 20 miles plus in a day together. I hadn’t intended for her to do the whole walk with me, just maybe the first couple of sections, and the last. But she was having none of that and, trotted on very happily. We were supported by my husband Alan, at the checkpoints, with much needed coffee, sandwiches, Kit Kat bars, and doggy treats!!
Firstly I would like to thank you, and everyone involved in the club, for maintaining such a fabulous walk, and long may it continue too.

I set out on a rather miserable and dreary morning, with a persistent cold drizzle. In the semi gloom we managed to find the Lyke Wake Stone at the start, and set off with good spirits, albeit a little nervous as to what was awaiting us ahead. Slowly as the gloom lifted, and the sun began to pop its head through the clouds I marched on at a steady pace, hoping upon hope that I could perhaps make it to the other side!
I must say the first section I found quite easy, and I didn’t encounter any real difficulty. I fact I found it to be really quite enjoyable. The ascent up as I was heading towards the first checkpoint was a quite heavy going. But as it was early on I wasn’t feeling too perturbed by it. The walk through the plantation early in the morning was really beautiful and with the accompanying birdsong a very pleasant starts our journey. The views open up along Carlton Bank; I must say are really quite breath-taking. The weather played funny tricks, as it was beautiful and clear to the north, but low cloud to the south and I was unable to see the glider club. But I imagine that when you are higher up the clouds do take on a life of their own. I must say though it was an enjoyable first stage, I was more than ready of a good strong coffee, and a bite to eat.

After meeting Alan at the first checkpoint it was onwards and upwards!! Toward Drake hole. Just past the Lord Stones Café there is a lovely little plague, in memory of a gentleman named Richard, inscription upon the stone was very apt, I thought. Then onto a very lovely but, very steep climb up it was at this point I was beginning to worry that I may have bitten off more than I could chew. I could see the way up but I did need to stop once or twice to catch my breath as it is very steep, and very long. The sun began to shine in earnest, and once at the very top, I spared a few moments to enjoy the breath taking views, and have a well-earned rest. Maisie and I took the weight off for a short while, and took some truly amazingly beautiful pictures. It was very wind up there, but as I was to learn a little later nothing like it was going to get.
After a long and very muddy walk along the track a Broughton Plantation. I was grateful for the shelter of the woods, as it had begun again to rain. After passing the seat in memory to one of the Lyke Wake walker who sadly died there. I was grateful to be at the next checkpoint.
Now section 3 is the longest section, I have never been a walker that keeps too much of an eye on the time. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe not. I guess it is up to the individual walker. But I just like to enjoy as much as possible what is around me, and maybe catch a glimpse or two of any wildlife around. So I was mentally prepared for a long trek. Seeing the path stretch of a in the distant after Carr Ridge up to round Botton Head is rather daunting, but nevertheless a challenge. The real challenge I was yet to find was the disused railway line. Brian Smailes mentions in his guide that it can be windy, and boy was it windy. If I had been coming from the opposite direction, anyone would have thought I had had too many in the Lion Inn. The gusts that came up the valley at times where quite brutal and very unforgiving and a time caused me to stagger a little to one side, which I found quite hilarious!! The views down the valley are beautiful, and I saw many grouse and birds. I also noted strange little boxes with what looked like very fine gravel in them. I have not a clue what they were, or what their purpose is. So if anyone can tell me what their purpose is, I would very much appreciate it. I did later too see more of them, dotted all over the moor. To see the orange roof of the Lion Inn in the distance was a very welcome sight, but I had to going on a bit further to the lay-by near Fat Betty, as that is where Alan had parked up. The coffee, pork pie, and sandwiches where consumed gratefully. Maisie too was gratefully for a short rest. I had intended putting her in the car at this point, and continuing alone, but my game little dog was having none of that, and once she saw me readying myself for the next section was up on her feet ready to go too.
The walk along the road was a lovely gentle stroll, and it was a nice change after the railway. The white paint marking the turn off on the road to the moor was very helpful too. So thank you to whoever does, it and maintains it, as it would have been quite difficult to find otherwise.
I was fortunate that the moor wasn’t too wet, far from as wet as it could have been. We did encounter some very wet areas but luckily had no major “up to my knees in it”. The white painted stones are a god-send too. I found this section really rather enjoyable and again I never saw another living soul, apart from Grouse, and other birdlife.
Meeting Alan, on Hamer Road for our next checkpoint, again Maisie was adamant that she was going on with me. We began heading towards the Wheeldale Plantation, and my first real experience of feeling that I am never really making any progress!! On the map it didn’t look too far, and I thought progress would be reasonable, albeit difficult in places. But it seemed to go on, and on forever. Every time I looked at the wood it never seemed to change and continued on. It is a very odd experience to say the least. Eventually we came to the Blue Man-I-th’-Moss and he was a delightfully break to the endless moor. I took time here for a short break, and a favourite pick me up, Kit Kat. Once past Wheeldale Plantation and on towards Wheeldale Beck, we faced the decent down to the beck and the stepping stones. This I found really quite hard as the walk had left me quite tired. But Maisie bounded down, and took a well-earned drink from the beck and cooled her feet. The ascent up the other side is quite steep, but the strange stones laying around made it different, as some looked like sleeping dinosaurs….or made that is just my imagination. Fylingdales was now well in sight, as it had been for some time. But again it never seemed to get closer. It really is the oddest experience. I sadly only saw a diesel train, as it was gets late in the day, as I crossed the railway line heading toward Eller Beck. This was the first time all day that I had really paid any attention to the distance I had covered. I just don’t like to think about how far I have come, or how far I have yet to go. I just walk and take in what is around me. So here upon checking the guide book and realised I had only 7 more miles to go, was so what elated to say the least. Also I finally began to believe that maybe, just maybe I might complete this!
So after a brief stop, we were back on our merry way. Too finally come to Fylingdales after seeing it in the distant for so, very long, is a wonder feeling and it recharged my energy levels, and gave me a great mental boost. This section was a not quite so hard, and coming to Lilla Cross spurred me on again. Lilla Cross is a really beautiful thing, and I would suggest taking a little time to read the inscription nearby. What was the difficult part was Jugger Howe. There has been much work done here to help prevent erosion. It has been done very well, but some of the rocks, and boulders are at very different levels and can be rather tricky to navigate down, and then up the other side. It was a struggle and that is a fact. After completing so far, it was the hardest part for me. The walk to the road at checkpoint 6 was long and I felt quite slow.
I met Alan at the checkpoint 6. I decided that I wasn’t going to stop; I just dropped off my rucksack and with my goal well and truly in sight I had to push on. Again the mast for a while at least never seemed to get nearer. I now had so much more energy, and felt re-energised. I had a huge smile on my face, and felt on top of the world. The stone was then in sight. We reached it!! The feeling was immediate as I reached out to touch it. I had completed the Lyke Wake Wall!!!!

With no blisters, or sore feet, my legs ached the next day for a couple of days, but it was all very worth it.

I had said to my son on my mobile, as I walked across, the open moor, “I will never do this again”. I also said the same words to my husband. If I complete it, is now off my list. But “no” not for me. My husband likened it to having babies. While enduring the labour I would say “never again”. Only to say “I must do this again” after the delivery. I was awe inspired by this amazing, and very challenging walk. To walk the moors with only my wonderful, and loyal dog, to view the sights and sounds, to appreciate the wildness, of it all I cannot wait to return again. In fact if the weather and light allows I am hoping to be back in September. This time from Ravenscar to Osmotherly. I can see how addictive it can become. I was fortunate that I never suffered any ill effects. That is down due to the preparation, for Hadrian’s Walk in June which we completed. I would implore anyone considering doing the walk, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. It is hard, but if you are physically ready it can, and will be an amazing, and rewarding experience. One I will treasure forever, until my legs won’t carry me any further. But the memory of that my first crossing will live with me always.

Thank you to everyone who is connected to the New Lyke Wake Club. I am now I guess officially a “Witch”, maybe with time I can make to a Mistress of Misery!! Who knows but I will be back, and soon.
Perhaps, the club could come up with something for any dogs that complete the walk? Maybe a Devil Hound or something of the like. I am sure that Maisie is not the first, or the last to complete the walk. But something to commemorate their endeavours would be nice.
Thank you again.

Yours with my very kindest regards

Marion Beesley and Maisie