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