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