Tom’s Crossing Report, Date: 6th September

Time started: 05:30
Time finished: 19:01
Weather: sunny, 19oC
Conditions underfoot: soggy in places
Route undertaken: Classic Route
Support: Dad

Having supported my Dad doing the walk several times over the past year, and after attending the Mini Wake & Dirge that accompanied the Ramblings series for the BBC being recorded earlier this year, I finally decided to give the walk a shot whilst I was still off from college. So negotiations with Mum started, and she soon agreed to let me do the walk so long as Dad was acting as my support throughout the walk. We booked a hotel in Thornaby-on-Tees so that we could get up later to get to the start rather than driving 3 ½ hours driving from home and having an even earlier getup. So with the room booked we set about getting all the stuff needed for the walk, including some walking poles for me to use, lots of bottles of Lucozade and water and several cans of Pepsi max in the days before the undertaking of the walk. I was determined to make it, Dad had some doubts about me being able to cross successfully and he’d taken the mickey out of me in his Crossing Report from last September.

On the day of the walk we arose at 04:00 and proceeded to McDonalds where we were too early to get a meal off of the breakfast menu, so I proceeded to have chicken nuggets and chips to start the day’s intake of calories, carbohydrates and protein whilst dad made do with coffee and drove to the start of the walk. Before undertaking the walk, Dad proceeded to take my photo with the Olympic Torch which would be travelling across with me for the 40 miles. I started the walk at 5:30 when the sun was just starting to shine some light over the horizon. After starting early in the morning I made decent progress to the surprise of Dad by making it to Clay Bank in under 3 hours (according to Dad, this is good compared to what Brian Smailes says which is around 3 and a half hours).

I continued trekking along the fast miles of the firebreak & railway and made it to Old Margery before 11 am, well ahead of the time Dad said that he reckoned I’d be there by (12pm), where I had a quick lunch and set off waking again. I made it through the boggy section and got to the random millstone near Shunner Howe at 13:10, where I then got greeted by Dad with an ice cream and had a quick refill of Lucozade’s. After the stop I made it to Blue Man in t’ Moss by 14:00. Whilst Dad was walking back to the car at Hamer, Gerry and Julie had seen our car whilst passing and the Gerry went to see if he could find me, however he went searching the wrong way thinking that I had not made it to Hamer yet but they eventually met up with Dad. I met Dad again near Fen Bogs where he had got more ice cream. After eating several ice creams and drinking 4 cups worth of hot chocolate Dad proceeded to get me around the worst part of RAF Fylingdales and I was at Lilla Howe at 17:51.

After getting lost a bit on the moor around Lilla Howe (trying to avoid the boggy areas) I eventually made it to Jugger Howe ravine (where I caught up with a guy called Amos who started 10 minutes or so ahead of me). I was met there by Dad who walked with me and Amos up to the main road before the final trek up to Beacon Howes began. I finished the walk by touching the LWW stone at 20:04 just as it was edging into twilight. More Olympic Torch photos – a new version of Candle Leet for this Walk!! So Dad was proved wrong, I did it. A good day for the Club – 2 new Dirgers, me & Amos (also Dad can now get his Supporters Badge).

Thomas Evans