On a visit from Australia…………

Hi. Being a Boro boy I came over from Australia where I now live enthused by recently completing the Bibbulmun Track (1002km, the length of Britain, in
44 days) to tackle the LWW for the fourth time. I was daunted by the sheer distance requirement of 63km to be completed under 24hours, more than twice the maximum on any day on my Bibb Track walk.

I’m now 55 and last completed the Lyke Wake Walk, for the third time, when I was just 16. First time I was 11.

Anyhow, a school mate of mine, Doug McLean, also 55 now, and who did it together years ago in 1975, took it on and we did it!!

I would therefore like to report a successful crossing by Laurie Brown and Doug McLean from Osmotherly, commencing at 4.30am on May 6th and finishing at Beacon Howes in Ravenscar at 10.15pm on the same day. Total time was 17hrs 45mins.

It was a great weather window with sunshine in the morning and just, initially, a light breeze, though we finished in fog at night. We did, however, get ‘lost’ after Simon Howes (though we both recall following a well marked path) meaning we were way too far south of Eller Beck and facing a cliff of a ravine to get to it, resulting in cutting an entirely new scramble path both down to the beck across the fern bog and up the other side heading directly into Fyling Dales no-go area. I ended up being caught by three rabbit traps! We ended up having to walk back down the main road when we eventually crossed the moorland for close to a mile before we were back on track at the bridge. It was at this point that Doug, insistent until then that we were on the right path, apologised for his misinterpretation of the path location. It was a source of great amusement thereafter though the maps were cons fixated from him. As a consequence, our walk totalled 70.0km!

We walked 93,000 steps smashing my previous maximum of 47,000!!

At the steep ravine down to Wheeldale I really struggled getting down. My knees had just had it going downhill (ligaments either side of my knees on both legs were just exhausted and crying in pain) and I was, for the first time, contemplating quitting. I found the next steep descent on the way to Ravenscar very difficult too but with the prospect of success looming I had renewed wind in my sails and thereafter we flew at 5km/hr, the fastest we had walked all day, all the way to the end.

The bog section stood out as the most testing. Initially I wondered what the guidebook was on about as it was dry and nicely bouncy. However, for miles thereafter it was waterlogged bogs that stretched interminably on and on and on. The change of scenery was warmly welcomed.

I’ve run a marathon, climbed several volcanoes and walked a 1000km but boy oh boy this was a tough, challenging, demanding adventure that was utterly exhausting physically and mentally. It ranks right up there with all those adventures. I was hurting big time at the end but filled with exhilaration and pride.

I’m planning already on my 5th crossing!!

Look forward to hearing from you.


Laurie Brown