Crossing Report 15/16th July 2016

Claire and Tom Chapman, accompanied for the first ten miles by Joanne Thomson and Chris King.

We set off at 10:10pm from Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherley. The sky was overcast which meant no moonlit walking, but otherwise conditions were perfect.

We made good progress up to Carlton Bank. It was just before reaching the trig point on Carlton Bank on our previous crossing that we passed a fellrunner (at midnight!) who was in the middle of a recce run and was headed all the way to Reeth. Just goes to show that however big a challenge may seem, there is always someone that will top it!

We passed Lord Stones just as the campers and revellers were headed to bed and refilled our water bottles. The water tasted a bit odd but I think we drank from the pot-washing tap so no idea if it was meant for human consumption?

The steep pull up Cringle Moor passed without a hitch, but we had to watch our step to make sure we didn’t squash any toads, who were out in force on large sections of the walk that night.

We followed the path along the Broughton Plantation, which was very muddy, but we were grateful for the shelter as it started to rain on this section; fortunately it stopped about an hour later.

At Chop Gate we said our goodbyes to Joanne and Chris and headed onto the last big climb, over Urra Moor onto Round Hill. This section passed by nice and quick and before we knew it we had passed Bloworth Crossing and it started getting light as we walked along the railway path. This section is definitely more interesting when you can see where you are going and there are great views down into Farndale.

The Flat Howe path was good underfoot which led us to anticipate that the bog would be kind to us, and we stopped at Flat Howe for a bite to eat before a quick to take a look at Ralph Cross before continuing along the road until we reached the bogs of Rosedale Moor. Flat Howe had offered false hope as the bogs were about as wet as can be! We somehow passed through the section without getting wet feet but that was a miracle. Had the next snack relaxing in the heather at Shunner Howe before tackling Hamer Moor to go say hello to Blue Man-i’-th’-Moss. We had seen some support vehicles at the Hamer Road so figured that we would soon be crossing paths with a party doing a reverse crossing and soon enough we could see some shapes moving on the horizon. We were delighted to bump into Gerry and Julie who were leading a party of walkers and had a quick chat and catch up about all things LWW related!

Our meeting with them put a spring in our step and this section passed without incident. We had a quick refuel at the top of Wheeldale, as Julie had warned us about the midges down around the stepping stones. I love the views as you descend into Wheeldale and when the stepping stones are crossable it is always an added bonus. The sun was starting to shine brightly and so we rolled up our walking trousers and trudged onto Simon Howe. By now I could feel blisters forming but nothing too troublesome and I was glad I had changed into fresh socks a while back.

We normally manage to just miss sight of a train trudling along the NY Moors railway line but this time, shortly after crossing into Fen Bog we caught sight of a diesel train as it chugged along the line behind us.

The wet bogs meant that we set off on the section along Little Eller Beck with some trepidation but we needn’t have worried, the ground was reasonably dry and we fair bounced along this part of the walk and up to Lilla Cross. With the clear conditions we had fantastic views and the purple-heather clad moors meant that the next part of the walk over to Jugger Howe was especially scenic.

Jugger Howe is a real toughie this far into the walk so it was just head down and march down and back up the other side and onto the metalled road that comes out on the Whitby Road. We were in fine spirits as we headed back up the other side of the road and with the mast beckoning us ahead, we enjoyed the fine weather conditions and moorland scenery. We reached the LWW stone at 2:40pm, exactly 16 hours 30 minutes after setting off.

We rounded the day off in fine style with a meal, drinks and an early night back in Osmotherley, reflecting on another fun crossing. This was my (Tom) 13th crossing and Claire’s 15th, hopefully squeezing in a couple more this year