12 – 13th August 16 – On through the night, and on, and on…

“@XX% it, we’re stuck in heavy traffic and we’ve booked a taxi to Ravenscar for 4:30pm!”…

And so began an eventful Lyke Wake Walk crossing for 3 silly buggers from West Yorkshire.  So, we put back our trip with the ferryman until 5:00pm and set the wheels in motion for what would become a series of not entirely excusable mishaps.      

Landing at Ravenscar Visitors Centre at 6:30pm we were in high spirits, looking forward to our planned arrival in Osmotherley at midday latest, giving us more than enough time for a good rest before some light alcoholic refreshment and a good feed; ahh, bliss…

Best laid plans of mice and men and all that..

Setting off under the gaze of a beautiful glowing sunset at 7:00pm, with the good path surrounded by dense purple heather, it felt almost as if we were walking into a painting of the North York Moors in its proudest moment.  Passing a number of carved symbols in boulders lining the path it does give the sense of a spiritual crossing, making it hard to think of anything else one would rather be doing on a Friday evening.  It was therefore, safe to say that any anxieties we may have had about the walk rapidly disappeared, to be replaced by a sense of companionship and calm. 

Descending the steep ravine of Jugger Howe saw the dying embers of the day passing us by, ushering in what was to become a long night of judgement.  I will say now that we thought we were well prepared, each carrying what can best be described as a small citadel on our backs, with portcullis, court jesters, questionable street venders and cloak and dagger machinations all present and correct.  It is safe to say we weren’t travelling light. 

Head torches at the ready we approached the Flyingdales Moor section and made our first error, completely missing the path off across the moor which kicks out from the military track.  Luckily for us the most observant member of our little group spotted a sign that made clear we were off-piste, so a quick look at the gps was followed by a turnabout and retreat to find the right path – that’s one extra mile we owed the walk.  Things didn’t get much better after that, with the moor proving to be boggy with the path through being almost impossible to discern in the dark.  After a number of pratfalls and incoherent mutterings we stumbled across a walled enclosure which did us proud for our first half hour break.  “Well then chaps, I don’t think we’ll be making it to the Lion Inn for last orders!”

With the path becoming (somewhat) clearer after refreshments the next item of note was to be the trek into Goathland and down to Eller Beck, which saw us once again completely lose ourselves.  This was to mark the start of what was to become a running of the gauntlet that saw us desperately scanning the ground for hidden paths, stepping knee deep into bogs, trailing through chest high heather in an attempt to rectify a further screw up, and generally turning the air a very dark shade of blue.  This lasted right up until we hit the blessed relief of Rosedale Head around dawn.  One may think (as we did) that as long as you keep walking west you can’t go far wrong but be warned, in the pitch black of night with nothing in the way of line of sight, the flaws in this philosophy become all too apparent all too quickly.  All that said, a highlight of this section was seeing all the frogs basking in the occasional glimpses of moonlight bouncing off the rocks (we didn’t stand on any of them!).

The walk along the road and then up the old railway line felt like it had been dialled in just for us and we could all three have kissed the tarmac and thanked the heavens.  Disappointingly we were too early for any breakfast at the Lion, but even so our spirits rose as we trundled along the metalled paths, once more allowing ourselves the thought, “you know what, this isn’t so bad, at this rate we’ll be at the finish for midday, back on track!”

Best laid plans…

Passing a jolly group of fellow travellers towards the end of the track, who were (wisely) going west to east, we passed the time of day and wickedly took some pleasure in informing them that the walk was “a bit boggy”, to which came the reply, “we’ll we’ve got the bogs and you’ve got the hills”.  Hills?  Woah, stop right there, being the idiots that we are and thinking we knew the (coastal) Cleveland Way pretty well, we presumed that it was mild undulations but nothing too strenuous for three pairs of dog tired legs.  Never presume. 

Although we all like to think of ourselves as seasoned hillwalkers, making very favourable training times in the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge and various other training exercises, nothing prepared us for the physical and mental wall we hit as we went up and then down (wash, rinse, repeat) across the hill range of the penultimate section.  The gps seemed to be enjoying itself a little too much, with what appeared to be miles spawning from nowhere as we scrutinised each ‘point’ of a mile.  It is safe to say that collective tempers were frayed, along with any number of ligaments you care to mention.  It is however, worth acknowledging as others have the tremendous views and our crossing was blessed with a lovely day to enjoy them, particularly the delight that is Roseberry Topping.  Also, later happening across the Lord Stones Café was quite literally, a life saver, giving us respite and a chance to refuel before the final push. 

On this trip through purgatory we met a pleasant lady who asked “when are you next meeting your support team?”  Bugger, we knew there was something else we forgot!  After a final slog through the woodland we eventually crawled into Osmotherley on Saturday at 6:45pm having done a total of 45 miles, a mere 6.5 hours later than planned, but thankfully within the allotted 24.  Although we only had the energy for one beer, the fish and chippy was a gift from the gods.

On reflection we all agreed that we were caught out on this occasion.  Through all our focus on physical and logistical prep we overlooked the blindingly obvious; you need to know where you’re going before you get there.           

So, would we do it all again?  In a heartbeat, but never east to west and never through the night.  Lessons for the future are to travel fast and light.  We’d set off from Osmotherley around 3:00am and stop at the Lion Inn for breakfast, before facing the moors well fed and in the comfort of day light. 

Best laid plans…

Tim Wilkinson, Richard Graham and John Graham, a.k.a three silly buggers

Our Passing 12th August 2016

With many thanks to Robin Misra for his excellent Viewranger route. Following it on our phones using the Viewranger app really took the strain out of navigation and allowed us to focus on walking.

Date of passing: Friday 12th August 2016
Mark McDonald and Nicky Bradley

We were staying at Kirby Misperton with Mark’s parents, our support party. Leaving at 12.30 we drove to Osmotherley and got to the car park at the top of the reservoir at around 01.40.
We set off up the lane at 01.45. It was very dark night with no moon, but dry and warm. We didn’t see the LW stone in the inky blackness but spotted our first reassuring LWW marker during stage 1. It was very steamy and warm in woods, with a warmish breeze even on top of Live Moor and Carlton Bank. On the steep slippery rock path down to the checkpoint I resorted to a walking-pole after a bad slip…luckily without injury! I kept the pole throughout the whole walk, and even Mark availed himself of one later; they were invaluable at times when the ground was most uneven. We got to checkpoint 1 (6 miles) at 04.00.

Checkpoint 1 to 2 (4 miles).
The sun started to come up but we missed a good view of the sunrise walking along plantation, and then it was obscured by a large ominous black cloud, which was luckily blown away. We reached checkpoint 2 in daylight at 05.40 and had a brief stop for very welcome coffee from our flask and a quick bite to eat.

Checkpoint 2 to 3 (9.5 miles)
This was a long but enjoyable stage across open deserted moorland, including the highest point at Round Hill, and easy (if windy) walking along
the disused railway track to The Lion Inn. After a butty stop at 08.00, and to phone our support to give them an ETA, we reached The Lion at 09.15. While enjoying a pint of orange and lemonade we refilled our water bottles and restocked with food, courtesy of Mum and Dad support team. We regretfully left The Lion at 10.00 to follow the road to reach the real checkpoint 3 at 10.30.

Trying to get a signal on the railway…typical, a signal failure causes delays!

Checkpoint 3 to 4 (5 miles)
After a road walk in a big loop to almost opposite The Lion across the valley we turned off onto the boggy section. This was wet in places but we were able to work around the worst patches. The dry peat areas really do feel bouncy. We got to checkpoint 4 for 12.15 and had a quick butty break, setting off at 12.35.

Checkpoint 4 to 5 (8.5 miles)
It was a pretty, and familiar, section across Wheeldale Moor to the ravine and stepping stones. The descent was quite steep with rocky steps down to the beck, but the climb up Simon Howe opposite wasn’t as bad as it looked. However, it did then seem a long haul to the North York Moors Railway track, and no steam train to be seen! On reaching checkpoint 5 (Eller Beck
Bridge) there was the tantalising view of an ice-cream van but we were too tired to trudge up to the car park a little further up the road. We arrived at checkpoint 5 at 15.30 and had another butty stop in the empty layby facing the busy traffic, leaving at 15.50.
The first ‘ravine’ at Wheeldale YH.

Checkpoint 5 to 6 (5 miles)
We walked slowly round behind Fylingdales, starting to feel very weary. The trudge up to Lilla Cross was pretty though, and the afternoon continued sunny with a fairly light wind. Looking back, it looked like we had come a long way from checkpoint 5, but we soon realised that we still had many miles to checkpoint 6. Despite upping the pace considerably, we didn’t seem to be getting much closer, and are convinced that this stage is more than 5 miles! Finally reaching Jugger Howe ravine we did the descent as fast as possible, and raced up the far side as fast as our weary legs and the warm weather would allow. The stretch from the top to the checkpoint seemed endless, but we finally got there about half an hour later than the projected average, at 17.55.

Checkpoint 6 to end
The ‘escarpment’ over the busy main road at the start of the final stage was really just a bank. The 2 miles to the mast however were a real final slog, we were sure that the mast was on wheels and that someone was moving it further away. However, we made it to the road beside the mast and the final stone at around 18.35. Making our total time (with 4 stops) 16 hrs 50 mins.

After an hour’s drive back to Osmotherley (many thanks Dad!), another hour or so’s drive back to Kirby Misperton, pizza, beer, and whiskey we slept like babes!

Crossing, Tuesday July 26th 2016

May we please record our Lyke Wake Walk crossing, made on Tuesday July 26th 2016?

‘We’ in this case are Michael Haslam, and Martyn and Toby Whitehead. The former pair are in their 6th decade and increasingly prone to ‘challenges’, the latter is 17 and felt sorry for them!

We set off as the sun rose at 5.15 a.m., and after a minor map reading error, made good progress to Huthwaite Green. Then up the hill to the tops in beautiful rising sunshine, and to the trig point at Carlton Bank. The photo at this point shows all three in great spirits and full of confidence. Descending the path to the road, we found ourselves at Lord Stones café and welcomed the associated facilities.
We continued up onto the top of Cringe Moor, with great views to the sea in the North, and back to where we had walked to the East. Full of energy we elected to climb to the top of the Wainstones, rather than stick to the side of the Broughton Plantation, a decision that we would come to question much later. Still good weather, although perhaps a little windy on top. We made checkpoint 2 by about 8.30 and stopped for a breakfast of slightly squashed croissants and pains au chocolate on the slope up to Carr Ridge.
Fortified, we continued up onto Urra Moor and made good progress on the excellent path past Round Hill to the railway. The first aid kit made an appearance at this stage to repair Toby’s boot which had developed a crocodile like grin.
The railway was easy walking and the weather kind with good views down both sides. But the view south was marred slightly by distant rain clouds. This rain met us as we left the railway to cross the moor to the Rosedale Head road. The path here was vague, but, encouraged by stone piles and a desire to get dry, we strode on. Near the road we first sighted our support vehicles for the first time. What a welcome sight! We made checkpoint 3 by about 12.10.
After lunch and a change of gear at checkpoint 3, we met Fat Betty, and then followed the road until the path across the moor was marked by the road markings and stone. The path was clear, and although we were anxious about this boggy section, it was in fact extremely comfortable to walk on, being spongy and not too wet. The marker stones were generally easy to see, and we enjoyed this section far more than we expected. We met our support vehicle at Hamer, and after a brief stop, continued on.
The path here was not quite so clear, but once on target, we found the Blue man I ‘th’ moss. And followed the rocky path by Wheedale plantation, eventually making the road crossing. For the first time, we were feeling a bit weary, but also still in good form. The path across Simon Howe was steep, but once there, we could see Fylingdales and had a reasonable idea of the distance to checkpoint 5. Turned out it was quite a long way, but we found the railway and crossed up to the Eller Beck car park and our supporters at about 5.00 p.m. Spirits were still high, although fatigue was evident. But only 7 miles to go and we’re still in reasonable shape.
The road here is busy and the bridge tricky, but once across and off the road we made good progress up to Lilla Cross. But conversation was more intermittent now, and all three of us were focussing our energy on moving forwards. But the path East was long and hard and dull! So many stones to step over, and spam much heather. Beautiful in moderation, but across this stage, the path is straight and long and heathery. Did I mention the heather? This stage seemed to go on for ever, and we were actually glad for the change of terrain. The descent into Jugger ravine wasn’t as bad as we expected and the steps out were a welcome change. And so to checkpoint 6, at 8.00pm. By now we were exhausted and must wanted to finish before dark, so we kept going.
The final two miles was more heather, and we were glad and relieved to finish at about 8.40, about 15 ½ hours after we started.
Thanks to the LWW club for developing this challenge and the guidance in the book, which is excellent. I can particularly recommend the talc in socks advice. Thank you.
And mainly thanks to our support team, Michael, Shirley, Melanie, Jessica and Zoe, who had a long day, and provided great sustenance and encouragement.

My Lyke Wake Walk………………..

I started my walk at the camp site in Osmotherley, the time was 2012hrs, Friday 5th August 2016. My son and his girlfriend had driven me up and were camping overnight. The plan was to meet me the following day in Ravenscar. I had plotted a route on my trusty Garmin – all I had to do now was follow it.

I walked up the road past Cod Beck Reservoir to the Start Stone, 2 photos later and I was on my way. All went well along The Cleveland Way, I even spotted a few LWW route markers. Just after 2200hrs, I had to get the headlamp out, it was dark. It was a cloudless, moonless night with lots of stars. It’s amazing how the mind plays tricks on you in the dark, every noise seemed to be amplified and I was convinced more than once I was being stalked. Was it the devilish sheep with their brilliant green eyes or something else I will never know.

All was uneventful until the headlamp started to pack up, and it went into power save mode – 1 hour of battery life left. It still gave me enough light to see the ground in front so I carried on. Along the disused railway line and the path just North of The Lion Inn – I couldn’t see it. I continued uphill along the road, over a bit of moor and some more road until I reached a large monolith. It was about 0300hrs and the headlamp was past it’s 1hour of battery life left. I sat and rested against the Monolith wrapped up as best I could in all the clothes I had under my poncho – I got a bit cold in the end. I closed my eyes for perhaps 30 minutes.

Anyway 0430hrs came along, the sun came up on a beautiful bright day and I started across the moors. I soon warmed up and the excess clothes came off. It was a bit boggy in places but better than I had expected and I managed to pick my through – following the well trodden paths of others who had gone before me. I met a dog who barked at me and then ran off towards what appeared to be a gamekeeper in the distance walking off to the right – we acknowledged with a waved to each other. The path was hard work in places especially amongst the stones on Wheeldale Moor, alongside and past the forest.

My only real adventure was getting lost around Skivick Crag – for the life of me I couldn’t find my way down. I trampled through the bracken down and up again countless times, in the end I managed to pick my way to the bottom only to discover no way across and no way up the other side. I managed to scramble through the undergrowth along the stream bank, ending up right knee deep in a drainage channel for a better word for it before finding a few stones across the stream. The other side appeared no better with more bracken and to my dismay thistles and gauze bushes I scrambled on. In all I was lost for 30-40minutes having gone almost nowhere. When eventually I was reunited with the path it was obvious where I had gone wrong – I think tiredness had got the better of me for a while. Onwards and upwards in any case.

Next into view came RAF Fylingdales a landmark on the horizon. It was just after 0900hrs. I was approaching the Simon Howe Cairn and standing stones and I met 4 fellow walkers going in the other direction the first people I had spoken to in 10 hours of walking. They gathered I was walking the Lyke and congratulated me on getting this far. I presumed they were doing the same in the opposite direction I never did ask though. The path got a little hard to find past Fylingdales and was again a bit boggy – this was the only part of the walk that had no clearly defined path and it was hard going for 30 minutes.

At Lilla Cross the end came into view, a radio mast – I was never more relieved. However this was shorted lived as it transpired I still had a lot of walking on tired legs to go, the radio mast just never got any closer. Over the A171 and up the last hill i got the end the finish stone and 2 more photos, the time was 1148hrs approx, Saturday 6th August 2016 – I had completed the Lyke Wake Walk in just under 16hours. I carried on my walk into Ravenscar and to the old station only to find the cafe was not open, it appeared to have closed. In which case I sat in the shade under the tree and finished the last of my water and food 2 bags of skittles and a sandwich wrap.

My son and his girlfriend picked me up a little while later and we all went for coffee.

• finishing, and;
• walking in the dark -it was brilliant.

Many Thanks,
Peter Louth

The Lyke Wake Walk, David Clay, 24th June 1967

On the night of the 23rd June Alan & I set off from Longleat Crescent at about 7.00 pm to attempt “The Lyke Wake Walk”.

After a good journey from Nottingham and a steak on the way, we arrived at Osmotherley at 11.00 pm, a little late due to some misdirection on the map reference.

After pitching our tent, we went to bed immediately, feeling we must have as much sleep as possible. At 3.30 am we were awakened by a swarm of midges who wanted an early breakfast.

We both awoke with complaints of how little sleep we had had, but judging by the snores I heard, I was a little doubtful about “you know who”!

5.00am and we met up with the other members of “The Oread Mountaineering Club” who we were accompanying on the walk. Then at last on our way, a little discouraged by the fact that we had to walk two miles to the “start”. 5.35am we walked around the “trig point” which was the start and giving it a last pat for luck we’re on our way.

Keeping up a fast pace we covered the first four miles in good spirits with the furnaces of Stockton on Tees always in our sight. Slogging on after three and a half hours, it became obvious that we were not going to be able to keep up the pace of the main group. So it was “down rucksacks” and we enjoyed a hot cup of tea and some of Jo’s “bacon butties”.

Greatly refreshed we pressed on up the long slow haul of a disused railway line. This was a 4-mile climb, but to two “fast tiring” walkers it seemed like 14. At the end of this section, whilst lying exhausted on the grass, a kindly lady took pity on us, and put us on the right track for “Rolf’s Cross”. 12.00 and we reach the first checkpoint, feeling quite good with a third of the walk behind us. Half an hour after re-starting we had one of our many set backs, partly because we were misdirected from the checkpoint. As a result we became lost in the middle of a peat bog. After floundering about for some time we spotted a group of school children and their teacher, who we were to meet again several times. So, tagging along behind, we carried on following a track, which ran due east for about 5miles.

Then once again “fate struck a cruel blow”, for, as we topped a rise, we saw our support wagon. Only to discover it was “enroute” to the next checkpoint, and we still had 5miles to go. At this point we became depressed, not knowing for sure where we were, but to our relief we reached the next checkpoint. There, refreshed by a cup of tea and a few words of encouragement from the support group ladies, we began to feel a lot better.

Twenty minutes later “knee deep in Elastoplast wrappers”, we had our first sight of the man who was to be our travelling companion for the rest of the walk. Jeff, as we later learnt was his name (also a member from our group), was staggering utterly exhausted, looking like a refugee from the Sinai Desert. After a rest and several cups of tea he was feeling much better and decided to continue the rest of the walk with us.

Alan and I were also feeling much better by this time, so off we set for the next stage at 4.30pm. Just before this whilst still in the “prone position”, we were passed by the teacher and her party who informed us that they “were only children”. This did not help our egos very much, but as Jeff was still very tired we set off at a fairly slow pace.

The main thought in our minds at this stage, was, could we reach Fylingdales Moor before nightfall. With regular stops for tea and chocolate etc., we weren’t feeling too bad as we dropped down into Ellerbeck Bridge with the giant “golf balls” of the early warning system towering above us.

7.00pm and we were nearing a place called Ellen’s Cross-, when fate struck another cruel blow, as fog and rain came sweeping in from the east. Stumbling on, the rests became more frequent mainly due to “our friend Jeff”. Dropping down into a valley we found a stream and decided to follow it. This was our big mistake, as the path disappeared and we found ourselves sloshing about in bogs and marshland. After about an hour we decided to go straight up the hill striking due east again. Then through the mist, we approached a stone edifice and I jokingly said to Jeff that we were back at Ellen’s Cross-, whereupon he sat down and began to cry!

After giving him a drink and convincing him that it was just my twisted sense of humour, we pressed on. At the top of a rise we could hear the sound of cars in the distance, so, encouraged we walked on and at last found the road. It was now 10.30pm and as we struggled into the final checkpoint, fate struck another cruel blow, for there was no one there to meet us. Jeff by this time was in a near state of collapse and we were in some doubt as to what to do next. Our teacher friend then appeared out of the blue to tell us that some of her party were missing. The park ranger had been alerted and the moor was being searched.

The way to Ravenscar looked very hard, but both Alan and I felt we had to complete the walk no matter what. Although concerned for the safety of the children we decided to carry on. As it happened our worries were unfounded as all the children had been safely counted in.

Then followed the longest two miles of our lives, with our new friend staggering along, Alan suggested we carry him, my reply is not printable. We had now reached the point where we dare not sit down, in case we couldn’t get up again, so we leant on fences for a few minutes rest.

1.30am and we at last see the Ravenscar sign after taking two hours to cover the last two miles. The problem now was to find the campsite. Bighead said it was further down the village, but as usual Alan was right and we were looking at it. I can only say in my defence that we were told the site was on common ground and that our tent would be erected for us.
We at last found our kit had been neatly stacked outside so that we would not disturb anyone.

2.30am completely shattered, Alan put Jeff to bed and made some tea, whilst I struggled with the tent, all in the pouring rain. Once the tent was up we eased our tired bodies into our sleeping bags and two seconds later we were unconscious. Needless to say we were the first up, packed and ready to go before any of the party had even stirred. So with time on our hands, we strolled into Ravenscar, where we had a cup of tea with a friendly couple and their 12-year-old son. We were told that the boy had just completed the walk and wanted to go to the fun fair at Scarborough.

Summing it up, we were pleased to prove we could do it, but never, never, ever again.


1) Alan dry shaving in the car on the way to Scarborough.
2) Seeing the look on Jo’s Mum & Dad’s faces when
they saw us.
3) Eating the two largest fish ever caught in the
North Sea.
4) I wonder what happened to Jeff.