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.