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!