Lyke Wake Walk April 15th 2017

Dirgers – David Allen, with Matthew Holt and Claire Baker (honourable mention to Billie the Springer Spaniel)
Having recently taken up a spot of running, and being something of a keen Lyke Wake Walker, my sister in law Jill had decided it was high time I complete a running crossing of the LWW. Before I had the opportunity to object, it was on my diary and “have less of yr bellyaching!” She’s like that, Jill.
I’d not felt anxious about a LWW crossing for some time, but by heck I did for this one… No matter – with my brother in law Matt, mate Claire and Billie (Claire’s Springer Spaniel) leading the way, off we popped.
A word about Matt and Claire: last year Matt completed the Hardmoors 110 and Claire is in training for the same event this year. No pressure to keep up then!
We were supported on the day by Claire’s hubby Jono, an experienced facilitator of crazed folk competing in challenge events and a man who on his dying day ought to be canonized as a saint.
We started strongly – I was feeling very fresh and rattled through the first few miles with ease. With great shock I realized we had passed the trig point on Carlton Bank in under an hour. Conditions were beautiful, with clear skies and a most gratefully received tailwind that blew me right across the tops. Not before too long I dropped down to meet Jono at Clay Bank car park. I was running ahead of Matt and Claire at this point but was under no illusions that the balance of power would shift at some point in the not too distant future.
Through Bloworth Crossing and onto the drudgery of the old railway track; with my head down and keeping a decent pace I overshot the left hand path over Flat Howes and rather disappointingly found the Lion Inn within view. No matter, we pushed on, meeting Jono for a refreshment stop on Blakey Ridge, and continued on our way, leaving the tarmac for Rosedale Moor on 3 hours and 55 minutes.
The bogs were as dry as a bone, save for one or two squidgy bits, with Claire finding herself knee-deep on one occasion. By the time we passed Blue Man there was much fatigue in the old legs, and just in time for the section I had been dreading… The rocky path across Wheeldale Moor; horrible when walking, so trying to trot at pace down the path, and utterly cream-crackered, was a very tough stretch. I very nearly went flying on several occasions and the never-ending foot stubbing took its toll. It’s somewhat difficult to avoid these rocks when you’re “running” without lifting your feet from the ground! By this point Matt and Claire were mere spectres in the distance and I was very happy to see Jono’s car on Wheeldale Road. Pancakes were washed down with flat coke and off I popped once again, having got the worst of it out of the way… Or so I thought!
After crossing Wheeldale Beck and yomping back up t’other side, I tried to pick up the pace again on the level terrain on Howl Moor, but it was really very hard work indeed. I found myself thinking I wasn’t going to get through it and all manner of negative thoughts crept into my mind. Luckily, matters improved after Simon Howe with the descent to the railway track and Fen Bog. With gravity as my co-pilot, my mood lightened and such defeatist notions were banished. Jono was nowhere to be seen at Eller Beck Bridge so we pushed straight past Fylingdales. I dropped to a walking pace for a mile or so here, but after passing Lilla Cross I got shifting again for the trot down Burn Howe Rigg. Jugger Howe came and went and before long I happened upon Jono, Matt and Claire just before the main road. I barely stopped for pause and cracked on towards the mast. Keeping something of a jog going for the final mile and a half I was delighted to reach the LWW stone at a canter… 8 hours and 13 minutes after starting.
I found myself often thinking about a gentleman by the name of Louis Kulscar throughout yesterday’s run. Louis is a stalwart of the Lyke Wake Walk, having completed some 180-odd crossings, including some barefoot and as the legend has it, actually running backwards on one occasion! Louis was the star of a TV documentary on the walk from back in the early seventies, racing along the route with great power and determination; he is a warm and wonderful soul who lights up the annual Wakes and though I am barely fit to lace his boots, I took great inspiration from the man and thank him for the support he unknowingly gave to me yesterday!
Moving times:
00:25:56 Scugdale
00:56:54 Carlton Bank
01:39:32 Wainstones
01:51:49 Clay Bank car park
02:27:50 Bloworth Crossing
03:37:53 Blakey Ridge
03:55:56 Rosedale Moor
04:31:51 Hamer Road
04:46:00 Blue Man I’ Th’ Moss
05:15:15 Wheeldale Road
05:54:58 Eller Beck Bridge
07:10:49 Main road
07:31:29 End