Crossing 25th June 2016

We live in Osmotherley so the plan was always to end up at the Golden Lion for dinner so:

The alarm came as quite a shock at 03:00 but by 04:00 there were a total of five bright eyed and bushy tailed lads aged between 34 and 48 years ready to go at the cross in Ossy. We bundled into the 7 seater and toddled across the moors to the Ravenscar Mast. We hit the trail by 05:10 with the weather and wind on our side. The table was booked for between 20:30 and 21:00 so we knew wee needed to get our skates on so to speak.

The first 12 miles was a breeze although I could feel the blisters starting on the right foot and the iffy knee complaining by the stepping stones just before the North York Moors Railway crossing. Ibuprofen and Compede got me through to Blakey Ridge but I do remember constantly asking the other guys; “Is this the boggy bit” over and over as that was the bit I was least looking forward to.

Just before the road at Blakey Ridge, I disappeared up to my knees with a rather fetching squelch at which point I was informed that THIS is the boggy bit.

I had a bit of a battle once we got to the road. I could see the pub, it was there; just there and it looked 10 minutes away. The mind plays tricks at times but it was definitely the pub playing tricks as we schlepped the 2 miles round the road and the pub not only didn’t get closer but did in fact disappear behind us. Still, a welcome 20 minute break, some sardines, clean socks and shoes over a dousing of talc was worth the effort.

Next up, the wonderful stretch of the Cleveland Way with its wide paths that are easy to follow and superb views made the next 12 miles fly by and before I knew what was going on we were at Clay Bank. This is where the torture started. I am a bloody minded sod which is just as well as given the offer of a lift home at that point, my body and blisters would have won the argument and I would have jacked it in. The climbs were hard work for me and I am so grateful to the guys for taking turns in dropping back and keeping me strong. Wain Stones came and went, then Lordstones and the second scheduled break. My son ran up the hill to greet me and I staggered to the grass area and the arms of my wife. A cup of tea, fresh socks, slice of cake and more jelly babies than are good for you later, we set off and I have to say, this was the best section for me. Call it second (or perhaps third or fourth) wind but I kept up with the guys and in spite of the climb into the plantation area, the site of Scarth Wood Moor in the distance gave me all the push I needed for the last push.

We arrived at the Wake Stone at Cod Beck as a group surrounded by wives and children and I have to say at that point I felt on top of the world. 14 hours and 48 minutes after we started I felt great; by 15 hours and 20 minutes Not so great and didn’t even finish my pint and Chicken Kiev in the Golden Lion and had to be helped home up the hill.

Lessons to learn:
1. Sleep the night before – The LWW is made even harder on only two hours sleep.
2. Condition your feet – my wife told me to but I didn’t and the blisters are just awful.
3. Plan the stops – and get one in between the start and Blakey Ridge (assuming you take the East to West route).
Mike Cantelo

Successful East-West Lyke Wake crossing on Saturday 25th June.

Four of us from Osmotherley and a friend from East Harlsey decided to undertake the crossing after some of our wives successfully completed a crossing at the same time last year. For three of us it was our first attempt and two of our group had previously completed crossings in the West-East direction although some years previously, with one of the group last crossing when he was just 12 years of age. Having initially planned to undertake the crossing unsupported, as the date got nearer caution became the better part of valour we decided that the offer of morale support and sustenance from our better halves was too tempting to refuse and so we arranged for support to meet us at both the Lion Inn and Lordstones.

We had decided to complete the crossing in an East-West direction as, living in Osmotherley, we thought the psychological impact of being able to “walk home” would be on our side, not to mention the ability to head to The Golden Lion for a well deserved beer and some good food at the finish.

One of our wives drew the short straw and collecting us all at 4am from the Market Cross we headed over to Ravenscar and the start point. We began our crossing at 5:08am with excitement and a hint of trepidation in our hearts and a beautiful early morning sun at our backs. The first 10 miles or so was pretty uneventful and we made good progress and bumped into a few groups who were making the crossing in the other direction and had trekked through the night! It was at this point that we begun to acknowledge the task we had set ourselves as we passed some rather beleaguered and weary souls who could barely muster a “Good morning”.

We headed on and soon came to the “boggy section” which certainly lived up to its name and gave our feet a good soaking as well a encounters with a couple of adders!! What we hadn’t banked on is the distance still to get to the Lion Inn after the point at which you first see it. Our spirits lifted as we exited the bogs onto the the road near Rosedale Head and could see the pub across the valley and the promise of a hot drink and homemade cake. We quickly realised that my comment of “it’s only about a mile away” was somewhat misjudged as we finally finished the 2.5 miles trudge round the road, arriving at 12:30pm.

After some lunch, a hot drink and fresh shoes and socks we set off again towards Bloworth Crossing. This part of the walk was wonderful with beautiful views, good paths and a steady pace. We joined the Cleveland Way in good spirits and we could soon see the outline of Black Hambleton and thoughts of home. We reached Claybank at about 3:30pm and braced ourselves for the undulating path to come across Hasty Bank, Wainstones, Cold Moor, Cringle Moor and Carlton Bank. Again this was a fabulous section of the route with spectacular views and plenty of people around offering encouragement and family waiting for us at Lordstones cafe with more hot drinks and fresh cake.

We set off from Lordstones at 6pm and set ourselves the target of finishing before 8pm. We were thinking how lucky we’d been with the weather as it was a beautiful, warm evening with blue skies and we’d received messages saying there had been heavy rain only a few miles away from us. By this stage we were all suffering with sore feet and assorted other ailments, but the sight of our families and some fresh food seemed to give us a much needed boost as we climbed onto Carlton Bank and then began the steady descent towards the finish. Spirits were high as we came down off the morning, through Scugdale and into the woods for the final section. The steep steps from the top of Swainby up towards to cattle grid seemed nowhere near as bad as anticipated and we marched on to the stone at Cod Beck joined by some of our wives and children. Irony then struck as suddenly the heavens opened to give us a good wetting (albeit somewhat refreshing) in the last five minutes of our journey!! We arrived at the stone just before 8pm for a total crossing time of 14 hours 48mins.

With a quick photo at the finish we bundled into the cars and headed down to the village and The Golden Lion. We perhaps had overlooked how busy the pub is on a Saturday evening with diners as we staggered in wet and muddy receiving some interesting looks, but to the delight that the table we had pre-booked was waiting for us. After a couple of beers and a meal it was clear that we were all ready for our beds and made the short journey back to our respective homes reflecting on a wonderful, but challenging day undertaken with good friends and the support of our families.

Paul Howlett

Crossing 15th June 2016

By way of background, I’m a 57 year old Type 1 diabetic who, until a year ago, hadn’t walked more than about 12 miles in one go in the last two decades. Then I heard about the LWW, and it was love at first sight ! I’ve spent the last year (on and off) getting ready for it. Was I going to make it easy for myself though ? Oh no. The walk would be solo and unsupported, except for a stop at The Lion, and there would be no overnight rest at half way. So I’d have to carry every last thing I needed. I’d start at Cote Ghyll Mill hostel and end at The Raven Hall hotel and visit the high ground – Scarth Wood Moor trig point, the top of Cold Moor and The Wain Stones – on the way.

Come the day (June 15th) I set out with a 10kg pack in clear, dry weather. Those were the best conditions I was to see. They say the Inuit have 50 words for snow. Well, over the coming hours I said a few choice words about fog. They weren’t nice words I’m afraid. I climbed into a rain cloud above Scugdale, dropped out of it briefly at Lord Stones Café, back in again for the up-and-down over Cringle Moor, Cold Moor, The Wain Stones and Urra Moor, then had a drier, clearer spell (very welcome) from Bloworth to The Lion (very, very welcome !) and round Rosedale Head.

But the fog swirled back in on the steady northerly as I walked from Loose Howe down into the bog. I’ve splashed through that twice before on ‘dry runs’ (ha, ha) and each time I’ve relied on pinpointing Shunner Howe in the distance as my path marker. But now the visibility was 20m or so. I got worryingly lost. I had to remind myself how to use a hand-held compass so that I could work my way, with my GPS position locater, back to the path. It took a while to get the hang of it and it was not a comfortable thing to have to do in real time and in all that peaty water !

After that the fog came (whenever I needed to see where I was going) and went (when I didn’t). Towards the end a different type of fog, from the sea, at Ravenscar wiped out mobile phone signals there so badly that I lost contact with my dearly beloved, who was my safety backup. I walked from just before Eller Beck Bridge almost to the finish stone before she found a phone that could get a signal. Again not very comfortable, given the conditions, the fact that I’d already had a hard slog and that there were still 8-9 miles to go. But enough whingeing ! This was mid-June in England, so spending 14 hours soaked to the skin, walking in and out of an opaque blanket is just par for the course :-). It did mean that my times were not impressive though:

Cote Ghyll Mill 04:45
Start Stone 05:03
Trig Point above Scarth Wood Moor 05:19
Trig Point on Carlton Bank 07:07
Lord Stones Café 07:27
Clay Bank 09:07
Bloworth Crossing 10:14
Lion Inn (arrive) 11:53
Lion Inn (leave) 12:35
Loose Howe 13:36
Hamer Road 14:55
Blue Man i’ th’ Moss 15:32
Wheeldale Road 16:39
Simon Howe 17:21
Eller Beck Bridge 18:00
Lilla Cross 18:55
Jugger Howe Ravine (bottom) 20:00
A171 20:25
Finish Stone 20:57
Raven Hall Hotel 21:16

So the total was 16hrs 31mins elapsed, start stone to finish stone was 15hrs 54mins and with 42 mins at The Lion I was ‘walking the classic route’ for 15hrs 12 mins. I reckon I stopped 12-15 times to check my blood sugar, eat a little fuel and wash it down with a little water, perhaps for around 5mins per stop. The diversion back to the Scarth Wood Moor trig point cost me some time, as did going over Cold Moor and The Wain Stones rather than skirting them on the lower ground. And we’ll draw a veil over how long I spent wandering around in the bog … I think the main reason for my slowness though was underestimating just how much effort would be involved in hauling my day’s food/water/emergency clothing etc up and down the wet climbs in the first 12 miles. Not only did it make those sections slow, but it also took it out of me for the trudging that came afterwards.

Still, as they say, “It’s not about the time, is it ?”. The pleasure comes from completing the course. The sore feet are already easing and the tightened muscles and tendons are stretching out again. An accurate measurement from the GPS record returns almost exactly 42 miles as my end-to-end distance. And if I shut my eyes I can still taste and smell the hot dinner and the welcome glass at The Raven Hall. Aaaaaah …

Graeme Hirst

Crossing Report 18th June 2016

May I please take this opportunity to report a successful crossing that took place on Saturday 18th June 2016.

The day started at 0300 with an unwanted alarm clock. Everybody was collected from various points around Hemsworth, Fitwilliam, Grimethorpe (famous for Brassed Off) and South Elmsall. The start point at Osmortherly was left at 0535 hours, oh why did we leave such a beautiful place.

Some 14 hours later having crossed what I used to call the most glorious piece of country side this side of heaven we reached what can only be described as the most welcome site I have ever seen, a little stone with the words Lyke Wake Walk graffitied onto it by somebody that pre dated Banksey

This totally irresponsible quest was undertaken as a 60th birthday present to myself. (Note to self play tiddlywinks next year). It was also on a bucket list along with Route 66 and cruise down California’s highway 1. All 3 have been ticked there is a chance that 2 out of the 3 may be done again

Could you please advise what “steps” I take now to get the dustbin lid size medal that all successful crossers should receive. Also the name and address of the home anybody who even thinks of doing this walk should be committed to.

Yours in morning

Andy Hall

Sheppee Internationals LWW

A small group of four completed the LWW on Saturday 4th June raising over £1700 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulence in the process. The group was Jane Newby, Colin Rice, Keith Johnson and myself.

We set off at 04.15 in fog that according to the weather forecast would lift later in the morning for a beautiful day. Although it attempted to shine through it never really left us for the full walk. For the fist 10 miles our driver Simon Holmes joined us and set a good pace. We knew that a group from Strensall Barracks York were setting off shortly behind us and we were determined to reach our first check point before them, which we are proud to say we did. Although foggy the first 10 miles was quite enjoyable (especially when we found the toilets open at Lord Stones).

The second section to the Lion Inn was a bit monotanus as we couldn’t see much and we nearly missed the turn off from the old railway line to the Lion inn. At the stop we were disheartened to hear that only 10 minutes down the road the rest of Yorkshire was enjoying beautiful sunshine but our support driver Sally cheered us up with Tea and pizzas.

Over the boggy section we didn’t see a single white marker stone and drifted of course, our GPS however got us to the right spot for the next check point but by this time I’d hurt my knee and boots were rubbing.

The healthy rivalry with the Army continued as a number of their guys dropped out and we were still 4, we walked a little of the way with them past the Blue man stone, however upon losing a couple more member of their team they shot off leaving us behind.

Over the railway line and I was ready to give in my knees were killing me but upon arriving at the checkpoint to find our driver had not yet arrived I decided to keep going. It was 7pm and we were still on course at this point, however over the next moorland section we again drifted off course skirting boggy sections but we came out at the gateway as shown in the book. We walked down the path looking for the second path on the right, but instead came to a righthand bend leading us to RAF Fylingdales. We’d gone to far and had to double back, turned out we’d come out too far down the path and should have taken what was the first path we’d passed. We found it and headed to Lilla Cross but it was getting darker.

On the promise of its only another two miles we trugged on and did the next two hours in the dark using torches. Turned out the two miles was to raise our sprits and didn’t include the last moorland crossing.

When we saw the lights of our support car shining down the path we were so relieved. Unfortunatly at 11:55pm it was to dark to take a picture, we couldn’t even see the mast. We completed the walk in 19 hours 40 mins.

Attached a some of the pictures taken on the earlier section. We kind of forgot later on.

If you would like to use our story please do. We will be applying for our badges next week.


Karen (Witch)

Not Bad for a Couple of old ‘uns – Lyke Wake Walk – Crossing 22nd May 2016

Pat Fowler. Previous crossings; 26/06/92, 02/06/05, 19/06/06, 09/07/10, 27-28/02/11, 16/06/13, 18/05/14, 04-05/08/14, 7-8/06/15
Graham Dixon, Previous crossings; 09/07/10, 27-28/02/11, and 16/06/13, 7-8/06/15.

This crossing germinated during a conversation with walking buddy, Graham, in February. Over a coffee he asked” are we going to do a walk this year?”. I knew what he meant was, are we going to do a serious walk this year, not one of the fairly regular days out walking with a leisurely pub lunch and obligatory pint or two.

After a pause for thought I replied “It would be really good to do the Lyke Wake on my 65th birthday on 22nd May, which would also be my 10th crossing and your 5th”. Graham said that would be good and that was that.

After the usual pre walk fitful night’s sleep it was good to be at the Lyke Wake Stone: photograph taken and taking the first step of the walk at 4.20 am. It was a nice fine morning which was also good. All the previous week the forecasts for the day were predicting heavy showers of rain from dawn to dusk giving rise to a vision of waterproofs being put on and off all day. Only on the previous day had the forecast improved to occasional showers.

Good progress was made on the first section to the breakfast stop at Hasty Bank 3 hours later but the amount of ascent and decent in that early part of the walk always seems to surprise me. It was also a surprise to meet a walker with his Labrador coming across the field just before Huthwaite Green half an hour after setting off. We were to meet only 3 other walkers during the rest of the walk. Anyway, back to food, we had a hearty breakfast of sandwiches, pork pie and Lincolnshire plum bread. You will see that food does feature heavily in this report as it was a relatively uneventful crossing – well relatively!

I always think that the next bit is the easy bit. Still fresh and fortified with breakfast we enjoy 3½ flat miles on the railway line. I know some walkers seem to find the openness of the railway line and being buffeted by wind to be a trial but I think it’s the easy bit. Cutting across from the railway line to Ralph’s Cross it did become apparent that there had been some heavy rain in the last day or two, with wet conditions underfoot, boggy bits, puddles, little streams etc.

Back to the important bit, at Ralph’s cross our intrepid support team had freshly fried Lincolnshire sausages in whole meal baps waiting for us. We are spoiled, aren’t we? Unfortunately we had to decline pudding but advised that it would be very nice if it was available at Hamer.

No surprises in walking to Hamer: wet and boggy but just about managed to keep our feet dry. At Hamer we had our pudding: homemade tiramisu; very nice it was too. Well the next bit is where the walk always seems to get serious. Tiredness is starting to seriously set in, particularly on Wheeldale where the difficult terrain just seems to go on forever.

Just over half way across Wheeldale on a fairly clear but wet bit I heard a thud and gasp from behind and turned to see what was going on. Graham was spread eagled arms and legs akimbo flat on his face in a large shallow puddle. It sort of reminded me of a character in a Dandy or Beano comic who had fallen to the earth from 20,000 feet splat on the ground. Graham slowly pulled himself up to his feet and said, “You should have got a photograph of that.” Then with a look of real concern on his face he added “Oh, my phone. I hope I haven’t got water in it”. With blood dripping from his hand he examined his phone and decided it was Ok. Only then did he check on his injuries: a chunk out his hand, bruised ribs, a bit shaken but otherwise ok. Just in case you are wondering, he had stepped on a stone in the puddle to save walking through it and the stone rolled. Within a minute, having assured me he was OK we were on our way again. At Wheeldale Beck balancing on a stepping stone he washed his wounds but after being bent over with head down and tired of course, it was a bit of a balancing act for him to get back into a standing position.

Oh well, onto Ellerbeck. Graham got his hand attended to by a paramedic, (well his wife), who also very kindly surprised me with a birthday cake which was excellent with a cup of tea. We didn’t have candles as you don’t want to stop too long at this stage of the walk as you tend to stiffen up and then it’s a job to get going again. 65 candles would just have taken too long to light and it’s also doubtful whether I would have had sufficient puff to blow them all out.

After a short break we pressed on. The old legs were getting weary at this stage. It was still very wet underfoot and every step was more of an effort. Eventually we dropped down into Jugger Howes, dragged ourselves up the other side and along the concrete road to the A111. We left our rucksacks with the support team and made our way along the final bit of the walk. I’d forgotten that this is mostly uphill, only gradually but at this stage it’s significant. I also think that it’s strange that the finish at Ravenscar mast is actually higher above sea level than the start at Osmotherly. Doesn’t seem right somehow, does it? Anyway, jubilation, 18.09 pm and we’ve made it yet again. There’s the usual bottle of wine to be cracked open and a photograph to be taken.

The crossing took 13 hours 49 minutes of which 1hour 22mins was taken by the 4 breaks, so actual walking time was 12 hours 27 minutes. Well I do like to keep a record of the time taken, If I didn’t we wouldn’t have known that it’s our fastest crossing yet. Not bad for a couple of old ones. What this means is that with a combined age of 134, we have only just reached our peak of physical fitness, or of course who knows, the peak may still be yet to come!

After a shower we enjoyed a good meal and a couple of pints in the bar of the lovely old Heyburn Wyke Inn finishing with a large whisky. It also just so happened that the music in the bar that evening was 300 Bob Dylan songs on shuffle. For me ….perfect. Sometimes the planets all come into alignment….. and so to bed, a birthday to be remembered.

Section time Real time location Support team travel time
3hrs 0 mins 04:20 Set off from Lyke Wake Stone, Osmotherly 25 mins
05:13 Bottom of steps up to Live Moor
05:31 Large stone cairn
05:51 Trig point
06:08 Crossed road at Carlton Bank
06:25 Viewing point, Cringle Moor
06:42 Dip before start of forest point
07:20 Road. Clay bank
2hrs 35mins 07:40 Leave Clay Bank 40 mins
08:18 Trig point Round Hill
08:43 Bloworth Crossing
09:39 Leave railway track
10:15 Road junction, Ralph’s Cross
1hr 33 mins 10:44 Leave road junction, Ralph’s Cross 45 mins
11:10 Leave road and onto moor
12:17 Arrive at road, Hamer
2hrs 35 mins 12:31 Leave Hamer 30 mins
13:00 Man in the Moss Stone
13:53 Cross over road after Wheeldale Moor
14:05 Stepping stones
14:32 Simon Howe trig point
15:06 Arrive at slip road, Ellerbeck
2hrs 44 mins 15:25 Leave Ellerbeck slip road

30 mins
15 mins
16:10 Lilla Cross
Burn Howe Stone
17:08 Jugger Howes Bridge
17:37 Cross A171
18:09 Arrive Lyke Wake Stone, Ravenscar

Total Crossing time: 13hrs 49 mins
Walking time: 12hrs 27mins
Eating / resting 1hr 22mins
Time log West to East crossing. 22nd May 2016

Direction East to West : Date May 21st 2016

The gang of 6 (Myself, Sarah, Matthew, Megan, Andy and Jack) set of from Ravenscar around 12:20 a.m on Saturday 21st May. The weather was attrocious with driving rain causing walking conditions to be less than favourable.

We trundled across Stoney Marl moor in the pitch black, unfortunately the full moon was obscured by clouds adding to the difficulty, we lost our path a couple of times,
but with the help of gps assistance we didn’t veer very far from the path.

The path across Jugger Howe never fails to knock the stuffing out of you, and in the rain was all quite demoralising but we cracked on to Ellerbeck to meet up with our trusty support, I’m sure their was a strong urge within
the party to call it a day at that point, as we where thoroughly soaked to the skin, but given that the logistics of getting everybody back at the stage would be difficult so we cracked on towards
Hamer – missing out Wheeldale.

Once at Hamer, spirits where still ok, but we where thoroughly drenched, whatever level of waterproof protection we had was bypassed by the horizontal rain.
We stopped and replenished our food and water stores, and pressed on towards the Lion Inn. We made a brief water stop at Blue Man for the customary photographs, looking back
we just looked like a bunch of drowned rats. Underfoot from Blue Man was quite reasonable, a bit spoungy but ok.

Arrived at our half way stop just in time for some extra support from San and Colin, providing a well earned bacon sarny and a cup of tea.
It was also time for a clothes change as well – which did lift the spirits a bit, our wet clothes weighed a ton!!

It was at this point we took on a couple of extras, Vanessa who provided support for the 1st half and a seasoned Lyke Wake Walker, and Jacks
girlfried Phoebe, who had agreed to walk the second half to ‘egg us along’
The railway line gave some of us time to put the headphones on and grind this section out, while my daughter Sarah’s husband Michael had compiled questions on the
‘The Walking Dead’ to keep Matthew (aged 12) and Megan (aged 8) occupied.

On reaching Clay Bank the legs where feeling it a bit shakey, it wasn’t a time to sit to long, so once we where all together we had our refreshments and left for Carlton.
The weather had cheered up a bit, but we had the intermittent showers just to keep us in check, the kids where pointing out places
that I had already taken them on our walks, they knew it would be difficult but they like a challenge 🙂

Arriving at Carlton, the sun was out plenty of people milling about – it was quite a bit different to the first half!! My wife Carol was also their at this point making sure the
kids where fed and watered – it was great just to sit their, but I knew we had that final push through Clain Wood ending with the steep incline up
to the Bill Cowley stone at the top. When we reached that point we where a bit fragmented, but regrouped, paid our respects to Bill
and cracked on to Sheepwash.

When we eventually reached that stone, phew what a relief.


Time: Roughly 18.5 hours (It was never about the time)
Was it hard: Yes, probably the worst conditions I have come across.
Would I do it again: Of course I would, I’m the only one of our group who knows the way – and I get lost sometimes 🙂

Support: Vanessa, San, Colin and Carol
Walkers: Me, Sarah, Matthew, Megan, Jack, Andy, Vanessa and Phoebe

Well done everyone

I am writing to inform you of the sad news of my crossing on Saturday the 21st of May, A.D. 2016…

The decidedly ungodly hour of 3.35am found three of us setting out on our journey from the Lyke Wake stone at Osmotherley. Obviously, it would have been 3.30am on the dot but the photo opportunities at the stone sneaked in and stole 5 minutes of our precious time. Waving a fond farewell to our trusty support driver (heading back in her support hearse to sanity and the civilisation of her cosy bed), and with promises to meet up at the Lion, we headed into the darkness of Quarry Lane. A few light raindrops felt rather refreshing at this point – later on the torrential driving rain was to prove somewhat less refreshing. With the sky lightening quickly, we were a little disappointed not to put our new head torches through their paces for too long. We put that right in the latter stages of our journey, though (oh dear). My main concerns at this point were: would my dodgy knee hold out for 40 miles; would my stomach bug from earlier in the week make a drastic reappearance at an inopportune moment; in which case had I brought enough toilet roll and Imodium; and would I wilt under the weight of the kilos of chocolate in my rucksack?
It’s the little things that keep the spirits up and early on we were heartened by the sight of a giant orange jelly baby by the side of the path. I had two packets of normal sized jelly babies with me. Where can one purchase such enormous babies, we wondered?
Previous accounts had mentioned a phone box at Huthwaite Green. Luckily we didn’t need it as, much like our sanity at times, it had ridden off into the sunset. Beyond the Huthwaite gate we trotted along the well defined path of the Cleveland Way – and how gloriously well-defined the Cleveland Way is compared to the pathless swathes of moor we had yet to meet after Blakey Ridge.
The walk up the “stairs” through the Live Moor Plantation was surprisingly fine – we had heard it was a bit of a killer but us Scots (well, I was the only Scot in our party so “us” is a bit of an exaggeration) are made of stern stuff when it comes to wee slopes. We then spent a fair part of the journey to Checkpoint 1 (and beyond) cursing the paving of the Cleveland Way and its slippy surface. Us Scots aren’t that into paving. We do appreciate and support the efforts to deal with the erosion though 🙂
I had invested in a set of poles but hadn’t really bonded with them prior to the crossing. I spent the first half of the walk alternately waving them randomly (some may have said dangerously), tucking them awkwardly under my arm and generally being irritated by them. By the time I touched the Ravenscar stone I could have kissed them and couldn’t imagine life without them.
Onwards and upwards led to the trig point at Carlton Bank and its stunning views (when the wind eased off for long enough to let us stand up straight and have a look about). The descent from there down to Lord Stones, hammering down on my crunchy complaining knee, was the first time I wondered if I had indeed been deranged when agreeing to this madness. To be fair, I did agree to it under the influence of a few sherries and with the promise of a coffin badge (never could resist a badge) waiting at the end. My nose was pouring uncontrollably, the downward “stairs” seemed interminable and the call of a warm bed and some buttery toast was deafening.
We’d had a mixed bag of weather to start with but up on Urra Moor the mist descended, the rain changed its angle to horizontal and I wished I’d reproofed my perhaps-not-so-waterproof trousers. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a huge hound looming out of the gothic gloom. Obviously the inclement weather wasn’t encouraging other folk out for a walk and we met relatively few people along our route. Actually, this proved to be rather nice because it was peaceful with a real sense of remoteness and it made us all the more friendly to those we did meet.
The long cinder track leading us to Blakey Ridge wasn’t boring as we’d heard (but this was our first crossing). It made for fairly pleasant walking. I felt a slightly surprising wave of euphoria as we headed across the Lion car park towards our efficient hearse driver who ladled out mouth-watering veggie sausage casserole as the heavens opened with rain (again) and the wind howled. Socks were then changed and gaiters fitted as we set ourselves up for the much dreaded bog section. Sadly we lost one member of our team as she elected to stay at Blakey with the hearse and the resolution to cross again another day.
Heading to the bogs with fear in our hearts we found Fat Betty appearing on our horizon. She seemed to have quite a few healthy option snacks so I cheered her up with an offering of a square (just one, mind you – I only had the 3 kilos) of chocolate.
The bogs were fun. At first. Buoyed up by hot food plus a break in the biblical rain and wind and fuelled by some of the Lion’s finest Coca Cola, we bounced cheerily on the springy black surface. Sadly that playful surface soon changed to dead ends of solid-ish ground surrounded by pools of sludge. Back and forth we trudged as we worked our way round the maze of options to escape to the road at Hamer. “That’s the worst of it over now!” my companion exclaimed. Sadly more than once.
The hearse was waiting for us at Hamer again in case we needed dry clothes and it offered up some excellent almond slices which gave us a much needed boost before we headed out across the moor once more. We’d both read accounts of other folks’ crossings and at this point we crossed paths with a fellow Lyke Wake Walker heading in the opposite direction to us. We realised that he was none other than the chap who had written of lifting his Rottweilers over a stile – and one of the beautiful, friendly Rotties was with him. Neither of us much fancied the idea of attempting to lift her, though. So we didn’t.
This was the last human contact we had before the A171. From here on in it was just us and the moors – and of course the Blue Man-i’-th’-Moss. He was easy enough to find but the path to the North Yorkshire Railway proved a little more tricky – the sun came out (I thought Scotland was the only place that did four seasons in one day) and we let ourselves be enticed by the sight of an obvious pathway and for once didn’t double check our position (Ordnance Survey app, I think I love you). The upshot was the addition of an extra mile or so as a result of a surprisingly wild deviation to the right.
Spirits lifted again at Eller Beck because we knew that Fylingdales was only a 5 mile leg. Foolish first time crossers. Fylingdales gave us a repeat of the Bog Maze Experience and for every 10 steps forward we had to retrace 5 back and try another route. The muddy surface was alternately black gunge, beige sludge and super slippy grey clay. Into the mix were thrown clumps of grass cunningly concealing their enormous traps of dark water waiting beneath them. We knew sunset was creeping up on us and with no desire to do Jugger Howe in the dark we did what any self respecting traveller on moors always does. With a quick nod to Lilla Cross, we ran. Now I can add moor running to my list of accomplishments.¬
Jugger Howe in the pitch dark (we didn’t run fast enough) with a head torch was surprisingly okay on the way down. It had a clear pathway – oh joy! A while since we’d seen one of those. Over the concrete bridge and then up the other side. Even that steep other side, compared with the mud maze we’d left behind, was doable – although for the first time I really began to feel the tiredness in my quads. Not bad going, I reckoned, for a late 40s deskbound woman with a chocolate habit. A routine of 26 steps and a pause, 26 steps and a pause (don’t ask me why 26. I have no idea) got us up the other side of the ravine. The cry of, “Where’s the road?” had become a bit of a recurring theme towards the end of each section and yet again we found ourselves wondering if someone was quietly moving the road further away as we neared it. We reckoned it was the same person who’d been moving Fylingdales earlier.

We caught up with the phantom tarmac eventually and met another couple of walkers who’d decided to give the trip to the mast a miss. We ploughed on, though, for the last interminable two miles. My companion suggested we had inadvertently entered hell and would be doomed to travel eternally towards a constantly shifting road. Thankfully a hazy glow of headlights beyond us proved him wrong. The hearse was close at hand and our support driver and our third team member were waiting with congratulations and – crucially – the offer of a lift to our accommodation where lashings of food and champagne awaited. After the obligatory Lyke Wake Stone photos we figured we might as well take them up on the offer.
Fiona Stewart, Glasgow

– we got carried away (not literally, thankfully) and made ourselves some t-shirts to commemorate our crossing:

2 Crossing Reports – May 2016

I respectfully submit a short report detailing my two completions of the Lyke Wake Walk. The first crossing was on 9 – 10 May 2016 in extremely dry conditions. The second was 12 days later on 22 – 23 May 2016 in extremely wet conditions. Here is my tale.
To be honest the Lyke Wake Walk had dropped off my walking radar. I heard about it years ago, but there were bigger and greater walks out there (or so I thought) and so I’d sort of forgotten about it. That is until a friend of mine started posting pictures on Facebook of him completing a reconnaissance. My interest was piqued. How had I allowed this little beauty to escape me? Within a couple of days I found myself sat in my tent in Osmotherley counting the minutes and hours as I waited for the arbitrary start time I had set myself.
The weather had been scorching all week so I expected the bogs to be dry. It’ll be fine I kept telling myself. How many people have died in the bogs anyway? One last look on Google just in case I’d missed one. I have a fear of bogs. It’s not the wet feet or the mud. It’s the sinking in up to my neck and dying a lonely death, with grouse cackling my last rights as I sink deeper and deeper… anyway that’s not going to happen to me because it’s dry.
The tent was unbearably hot and much as I tried to rest I was just too excited. Sod it! I’m off.
So my planned 9pm start turned into 7pm. After a short walk up the road from the camp site I arrived at the LWW marker stone where I took the obligatory pictures and then headed off into the woodland following the LWW / Cleveland Way.
I had 2 litres of water and plenty of food. It was a gorgeous evening with a beautiful sunset. I don’t intend to go through a blow by blow account, suffice to say that the first 10 miles involves a lot of ups and downs. The route finding was easy enough, even in the dark, and around 11:30pm I arrived at Clay Bank. After a short rest I set off across Urra Moor towards Bloworth Crossing. Then came the mist.
There is something spooky about the moors at night. Add a liberal blanket of mist and your mind can have a field day. Stones that appear to move become figures intent on harm. Rustles in the heather, the sound of an approaching madman. Dagadagadagadagg! A grouse takes flight and I nearly embarrass myself. Man up for goodness sake, you’ll be dead in the bogs soon anyway. Thankfully the path to Bloworth Crossing and then on to the Lion Inn is easy to follow even in the mist. At the end of the old railway line I turned left to the Lion Inn. My GPS showed 19.8 miles so I was about half way. So far so good. A 3 mile section of road followed, and just after the turning to Fryup I found ‘LWW’ and an arrow painted in white on the road. It pointed into the wilderness of Rosedale Moor. Now if I’d set off at 9pm it would be getting light by now, that was my plan. As it was, it was still dark. The path looked well worn so I thought I’d give it a go by head torch.
Initially the path was easy to follow and I could pick out the white tops of the standing stones. Then they disappeared. So did the path. It was starting to get light and as far as I could see was waist height course grass growing out of a boggy morass – with deeper pools of standing water to catch the unwary.
I tracked left, then right. I backtracked. So much for it being bone dry. The first tentative steps saw me knee high in bog. As I tried to pull my leg out I could feel my shoe being sucked from my foot. I reached into the gloop and grabbed my laces. With a pincer action I recovered my shoe. Laces tightened I tried again. The art is to balance on the vegetation and walk east with purpose. I was soon making progress. When it became fully light I could see a myriad of trails through the vegetation, where people before me had squelched there way across. Once out the other side I could just make out a white topped marker post. I’d done it! But I vowed never again.
The route finding after this section was simple as the mist had lifted and it was now fully light. I found the two ravines during the last 10 miles hammered my quadriceps. The last one was particularly cruel. I could see the mast where the finish point was from miles away but it seemed to take an age to get there. I eventually reached the LWW stone that marked the end of my walk and took a couple of photographs. I then remembered that tradition is to have a pint in the hotel bar so I trudged down the road to the Raven Hall Hotel. Well it’s tradition isn’t it. Unfortunately I hadn’t realised that this place is posh. The staff were extremely polite but I’m sure they weren’t pleased to see me sat in their bar. I took my footwear off but when you have been bog trotting you tend not to look your best. A couple of pints then a £70 taxi ride saw me back at Osmotherley. 40.99 miles in 16 hours and some minutes. That was tough. Would I do it again? No!
Well when I say ‘no’ I mean… it can’t have been that hard… just one more go. I have a short memory and an understanding wife! One of the benefits of being retired is I am ‘time rich’, so 12 days later I returned to Osmotherley. This time it has been raining heavily so I knew it was going to be a totally different walk. I set off in the rain at 6pm from the campsite. I would hit the boggy section in the dark but now I was in a totally different frame of mind. Bring it on bog, I’m ready for you. I had a similar problem with an irrational fear of ticks. A few trips to Scotland fixed that. But that’s another story. The paths were running like streams with the water coming off the hills. Where I had bounced across the top of the mud, I now sank in the gloop. I ‘navigated’ the bogs in the dark managing to avoid the deep pools and pranced my way across the vegetation. I was soon out the other side.
The stepping stones at the river crossing were now under water, but as I had wet feet anyway, it didn’t matter. 16 hours and some minutes of hard slog saw me at the finish. I had set off with half a mind on walking back as well but I was done for. What was I thinking? No pint at the posh pub this time. I rang a taxi company and after another expensive taxi ride I was back at Osmotherley, where much beer was consumed.
This is a great walk. I didn’t see anyone on the trail during my two crossings and I loved the feeling of wilderness and isolation. You don’t have to walk through the night. A fit person could easily complete this during daylight hours, especially in summer.
Would I do it again? Of course. It’s got under my skin now. Now about this two way…

Mick Ellis

Spalding Lincolnshire.