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