West to east crossing 1st July 2017 (Bring Me Sunshine)

On a works night out in September last year, after a few drinks one of our group mentioned that we should do the Lyke Wake Walk. This was something that I had vaguely heard of, and that at that point in the evening seemed like a good idea. When I chatted with Katrina about the walk, it soon became clear that she knew less about it than I did, which itself was some achievement. By the end of the night, we were all in and were trying to muster up support among our colleagues. It was only when I woke up and googled the walk the following morning that the scale of the challenge took shape.
However, we were not to be deterred. We were a group of social care workers who had a recently started up a rambling group and at that point most of the group could manage 10 miles without passing out or being sick. What could possibly go wrong on a forty mile endurance walk across the North Yorkshire Moors! We set a date for the 1st July 2017 and started our prep. By Easter we had 23 committed souls aged between 21 and 58. Our local Go Outdoors store was raking in business and our local chemist had had to order in compeed in bulk.
Starting at 3.30 on the morning of 1st July, we all set off from the LWW stone at Osmotherley heading eastwards, hoping to see our support crew at the various checkpoints along the way and to be joined by colleagues who did 10 or 20 miles stretches with the main group.
The collective spirit was amazing and the shared experience will help form friendships new and reinforce those not so new.
There were no serious injuries on the walk other than the total abandonment of dignity
which you get with no toilets for 40 miles! It certainly answered the less frequently asked question as to whether or not it is just bears that s**t in the woods…
I’m sure we all had our own personal challenges along the way; whether those were making our way through pain and fatigue, overcoming the sheer relentlessness of it all, remembering the alphabet, or in my case trying to maintain some sense of dignity whilst falling arse over elbow. My admiration goes out to each and everyone of the group, with particular mention to be made of Adam who completed the last 11 miles in role, completing sketches from the Ministry of Silly Walks. Twenty of the 23 starters finished the walk with the last of us coming home in 17 hours.
Thanks also to the support team, who provided welcome relief at each check point and supplied us with fuel and good humour.
To everyone who planned, practiced, fundraised, laughed, joked, encouraged, guided, shared advice, compeed and ibuprofen, sang or provided light relief by falling off chairs – thank you; not least of which was Lynn who herded us with remarkable good grace throughout the weeks and months leading up to a day I am sure none of us will ever forget, until a time when forgetting the LWW is the least of or problems.
Whether you are young of body or just young at heart, it is a significant achievement by anyone’s standards.
Respect to all who have ever completed the LWW

The people who completed the walk are:
Lynn Richardson
Katrina Newby
Dianne Shires
Claire Collins
Al Rodger
Dave Williams
Steve Bardsley
Martin Crompton
Andy Sleigh-Munoz
Dale Darby
Adam Burton
Janice Judd
Neil Morrisroe
Bill Dyson
Carl Kemp
Ian Pearson
Oxana Goncharova
Jo Rawnsley
Gill Parkinson
Andy Rawnsley
The people who did parts of the walk are:
Gemma Reilly
Zoe Lloyd
Fiona Martin
Nathalie Kayij
Rebeca Sinclair
Marianne Pearce
Kristina Phillips
Vickie Orford
The support crew were:
Geoff Rodger
Hazel Harwood
Mark Harwood
Janice Hubbard

Pie Club On Tour 2017 – Lyke Wake Walk in loving memory of Barney (the Labradoodle)

01st July 2017
I am pleased, nay I am proud to report our successful crossing from Osmotherley to Ravenscar. I would like to think that this was just the first of many trips but I am not sure the rest of Pie Club will quite feel the same way! 

We’ve talked about doing this walk for years and as keen beer drinking pie eaters we needed the exercise, however the thought of walking much further than any of us had ever walked before was I must admit daunting. The final must do, nail in the coffin so to speak motivation was delivered in April when we suddenly lost our ten year old Labradoodle – Barney. I decided to carry his ashes with me – for spirit, motivation and ‘one last walk’. 

Having read numerous accounts, blogs and taking account of the time that we would like to finish, we decided that we would set off just before dark and make just 4 stops. We were too late with our barrow to book any reasonable digs for the finish line so instead turned to our families for support. A group ‘WhatsApp’ chat was opened up to relay messages to the group before and during the walk which later proved valuable to anticipate etas. We did a reasonably flat 20 mile practice walk which ended with umpteen pints at the finish to help digest and do some more ‘planning’. Psychologically we were prepared!

We had all checked the weather but knew that we had to be prepared for everything and wanted to ensure that we had plenty of supplies in terms of food, water and clothing at every stop so everyone (could have) had a ‘pack 1,2,3 & 4’ positioned along the way. As a final preparation some of the group did a little 9 mile recki walk just 3 weeks before (this would replicate the first 9 miles to Clay Bank [573 035] that we planned to do in the dark) in theory to allow us to walk this first section in our theoretical sleep. A quick check with the moon phase confirmed that just 1% would be visible for a very short amount of time. We were in for a dark night, but we had a plan and everyone knew roughly where we would be and roughly at what times. One last itinerary check: head torch, hip flask. Good to go!

Friday 30th June 2017: Nothing screams preparation for a long walk like a full week of work and the prospect of no sleep for the next 24 hours! Mark managed to grab 20 minutes on the trip up but the rest of us were too excited. We dropped a car with supplies off at Clay Bank then headed to Osmotherley where we ditched Mark’s 7 seater and took the obligatory start photo at the LWW stone (opposite the car park) in the last minutes of daylight 10:10pm. A little over an hour later and we had the red light of our head torches lighting every step. Just as well because the tree roots and the gullies were plentiful. 

A quick march on with our torches now on full beam, dry but sticky from the muggy weather we were making good use of our camel packs and plentiful snacks. We arrived at stop number 1, 9 miles in at Clay Bank and checked in with our WhatsApp group at 01:50am. The support team had already checked in their arrival to Stop 2 and were putting their head down in preparation for an early start. It later transpired that they had set up camp at ‘Charring Cross’ and didn’t stand a chance of getting any shut eye, thus compounding the feeling I suppose that we were ‘in it together’.

15 minutes later and socks changed for some, we headed up for the last big climb and out across the drizzly cold tops where at least one member was beginning to regret their lack of clothing options. Heads down, light now creeping in, we convinced ourselves that we could smell the bacon and it’s not even half past four. Ahead of schedule, we hesitated to phone ahead and prepare Paul & Pauline, thankfully we received a welcome message from them at 5am to say that the kettle was on & boy were we ready for it! We bypassed the closed pub and my feelings were fleeting between elation having made it half way to bugger, we are only half way.

We approached the junction at Rosedale Head just before 5:30am. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we were welcomed by what looked like an oasis in the baron moorlands – two camper vans, extended horning and loo area. Feet off, talc on, bacon butty in hand, cup of tea (and a porridge pot if you wanted it). We were in heaven! Taking our time to restock water supplies, clothes and snacks we were well refreshed and had a good spring in our step raring to crack on and face the longest section. 

The next stage went on and on and on. Relatively dry, the landscape was very kind and we only had to negotiate one or two large sections of bog. It wasn’t long before we could see the sea and by 9 o’clock our next support stop was checking in ready and in position. A very brief stop on the moors to tend to one members feet with the life saving compede (posh plasters), sticks now supporting half the crews aches and pains but we were still positive. We passed a couple of groups at stepping stones really struggling with their feet, accompanied by one youth bragging that his trainers were great and he had no blisters! Our crossing was relatively quiet considering this was just after the longest day of the year.

We arrived at Ella Beck Bridge ahead of our scheduled 11:30am and were welcomed with our packs and Pot Noodles ready for our final feed and motivational sock change. Little over 8 mile to go and we all claimed to be in fine fettle, our regular and plentiful feeding and watering had made good the 7000+ calories expelled. We perhaps spent a little too long at this stop as we began to stiffen up, but it was worthwhile seeing trainer boy hobble by moaning about his sore feet (we’ve all been there).

At 12:25pm we reached Ella Cross and we could see the finish. Yes you can see the finish, but I am sure you will read countless accounts of how this distance remains for an eternity and it does! We were beginning to think of reasons why it wasn’t getting any nearer? Maybe it’s one big in joke that only LWW members are privy to, maybe it moves somehow? 

Eventually we made it! Marching on to the finish we were met by the entire support crew, ice cold beers in hand and huge applause. The obligatory finish stone photo with Barney’s ashes and the pie club flag before we sat down for our ceremonious pies at 2:20pm. Mission accomplished, we reflected on our achievement’s in a slightly surprising 16 hours and 10 minutes finish time. 4 hours later we were all home safe, blisters popped and our pjs on. By 7pm our families were sharing pics of sleeping beauties (apart from crazy Davie who went on a 47 mile charity bike ride) and finally we could retire fro the night (with ibuprofen).

I hereby request the honorary status of Witch for the walkers: Adele(37); Lis(45); & Michelle(38);
Plus the unmistakable title of Dirger for the walkers: Mark(49); Dez(45); David(44); & Davie(44);
Our very own magnificent seven that would be nothing but a pitiful group of hopefuls if it wasn’t for our superb support group (ages omitted): Paul & Pauline; Rich; Pam & Neil; & Dan;

Darren Parker

Unsupported E-W Crossing Report 23-24 June 2017

A Bulgarian friend of mine, Nadya, now a resident of Nottingham, has been walking in the UK for a few years and was looking for a walking challenge. I, having been born in Middlesbrough and therefore having grown up visiting the North York Moors, suggested we attempt the legendarily cruel Lyke Wake Walk. I say ‘legendarily cruel’ despite my Uncle insisting he completed a double crossing in under 24 hours in the 1960s. I have my doubts about the state of his memory, and indeed his sanity, but that’s a whole other story.

We decided that we’d do the walk in two stints breaking the journey with some sleep at the Lion at Blakey. We were joined by Chris, Nadya’s boyfriend, who is also one for a challenge. We are all relatively fit, so did no specific training. While this was a reasonable approach for my two friends who are in their early 30s, as a chap approaching his 50th, my feet did not seem to agree come the end of the walk.

We used Brian Smailes excellent book as a guide and I also purchased the OS maps. We did the walk as follows:

Preamble part I: the night before.

Nadya and Chris attended the ballet at the Playhouse in Nottingham and soaked up a bit of culture. I attended the Trip to Jerusalem pub in Nottingham for 8 unintended pints of bitter and witnessed an angry gentleman of the street getting aggressive with passers by over the death of a nearby duck. It was a night of contrasts.

Preamble part II: Friday morning and the journey to the start.

We travelled up in Chris’s car and parked near the Golden Lion where we ate a superb meal and drank a lovely pint and reassured ourselves that the walk would be no trouble. We then ambled to the starting point, a trek of about 2 km that I would come to regret, somewhat, a few hours later.

Section 0-1: Lyke Wake Stone – Lord Stones (6 miles)

14:07 – 16:20 (actual 2h 13h / target 2h 00m)

We set off at a brisk pace in nice conditions and decided to utilise my local knowledge, so I was map holder. Within 30 minutes we were lost. At this point Nadya reminded me that I had downloaded the OS map onto my phone and we relied on modern technology to double back to the path and crack on. Good job I was with younger people. As a consequence of this mishap we were behind schedule at the Lord Stones. This was compounded by my insistence on buying an ice cream for nostalgia reasons combined with our ill advised attempt to locate the glider club which appeared to have flown elsewhere. We couldn’t locate it. We decided that the Lord Stones would do as a checkpoint, took a photo, took a slug from our hip flasks, and pushed on.

Section 1-2: Lord Stones – Clay Bank Road (4 miles)

16:20 – 17:54 (actual 1h 34m / target 1h 30m )

We hit the hills. I started feeling quite chipper at this point and decided to race some OAPs to the top of the Wainstones. I won. This was my finest hour. I savoured this epic victory as the weather closed in. We soon passed half way to half way so Nadya insisted on celebrating with a nip of whisky (she wasn’t an alcoholic until she assimilated in the UK), and we soon found ourselves at checkpoint 2, so we took a snap and had another nip of whisky to celebrate.

Section 2-3:Clay Bank Road – Rosedale Head [via The Lion Pub] (9.5 miles)

17:54 – 20:48 to the Lion; from the Lion 05:23 – 05:51 (actual 3h 22m / target 3h 05m)

We pressed on, Chris leading the way and now chief map holder after my embarrassment early on. I regularly checked the phone app to ensure his map reading skills were sound. His map reading skills were sound. As we joined the disused railway tracks my mood darkened with the weather and Nadya and I cheered ourselves up with a good old moan as Chris continued to set the pace with a smile on his face. Now then, I like pubs, but I’ve never been more overjoyed to see one as when the Lion honed into view. We recorded the time, took a piccy and had a slug of whisky, and I whinged about my feet while Nadya gave Chris a piggy back to prove that she was the best. Congratulations Nadya, you are the best.

[The Lion: 20:48 – 05:23 (rest time of 8h 35m)]

We dried out and ate one of the huge portioned meals at the Lion, and they kindly supplied us with a packed lunch in lieu of breakfast. We drank a beer, toasted our achievement and retired to bed. Chris thereupon suffered severe cramp in his calf. He didn’t moan about this once during the remainder of the walk thus proving himself to be some sort of borg.

Having dragged ourselves back into action shortly after sunrise, we got moving feeling sore and stiff, but in beautiful sunshine, and confident of completing the quest in under 24 hours. We were soon at checkpoint 3 where we saw the first evidence since we had begun trekking of other people also attempting the mammoth feat. A helpful chap from the support team for a more organised bunch informed us of some improvements to the route that we were too disorganised to have previously registered.

Section 3-4: Rosedale Head – Hamer Layby (5 miles)

05:51 – 07:38 (actual 1h 47m / target 2h 00m)

We carried on at a good pace and enjoying the sunshine until the turn off near the Fryup sign which heralded the start of the peat bogs. We were afeared of the bogs on account of not knowing just how boggy, and therefore slow going, it would be. Thankfully the lead up to the walk had been dry and the blogs only slowed us marginally. We emerged from the bogs a little damp but still on schedule.

Section 4-5: Hamer Lay-by – Eller Beck Bridge (8.5 miles)

07:38 – 10:41 (actual 3h 03m/ target 3h 00m)

We stopped briefly at the checkpoint for me to change my socks as my feet were starting to feel like they belonged to someone else. After a quick photo and exchanging a few words with some other organised groups who were resting we cracked on.

As we crossed a stile at a wire fence my muddy boots caused me to slip and, concerned that I may break my ankle in between the steps of the stile, I hung onto the fence for what seemed like an eternity as my fellow travellers at first were concerned but soon found my predicament hilarious. Once I untangled myself we continued down the ravine with the prospect of our packed lunches egging us on. Alas, this pending bounty caused me to rush down the ravine resulting in my muddy boots once again failing me and dumping me on my bony backside on the rocks. Once again the laughter rang out. The only thing damaged was my pride and we were soon tucking in to our sarnies by the stepping stones.

Once we got moving again, a few quick calculations had us concerned about our progress. This turbo charged Nadya, and Chris had no problems keeping her pace. I dragged myself along behind admiring the backs of their heads the whole way. I could tell that Chris was smiling and Nadya was not. Good. A yomp across the moor had us back on schedule and we reached checkpoint 5 as planned.

I once again changed my socks as my feet were now getting raw and the act of bending to tie my laces induced cramp in my abdominals forcing me to straighten my torso and release my grip on the laces. Repeated attempts resulted in the same sad retreat. Fortunately Nadya stepped into the breech and thankfully the Bulgarian bow is as sturdy as its English cousin.

Section 5-6: Eller Beck Bridge – Jugger Howes (5 miles)

10:41 – 12:52 (actual 2h 11m / target 1h 40m)

We now felt like we cracked it but the 5 miles quoted in the guide looked an awful lot more on the map. We made haste at an excellent pace but a combination of fatigue, a lack of stimulating scenery and the fact that the progress being reported by our GPS watches did not seem to match the reality of our progress saw our heads drop. Nadya and I were suffering by now but our robot companion marched on relentless. I started to consider whether he was more of a Terminator or android. After what seemed like an eternity across now rocky ground we spied a radio mast: our ultimate goal of Beacon Howes we concluded. As we neared, we were puzzled by the absence of the A171. As it dawned that the radio mast was not Beacon Howes and so the climb that faced us was not the last of the walk, we started to panic that we may not make the 24 hour deadline. This happily gave us an adrenaline boost and we bounded up the hill like new born lambs with the sure footedness of mountain goats. Finally we spied Beacon Howes and the A171 and when we reached the checkpoint we celebrated by returning to the hip flask trail.

A warning to others: this section seemed a lot further than billed and our GPS watches suggested that it wasn’t just our imaginations. Then again, perhaps we took the long route?

Section 6-7: Jugger Howes – Beacon Howes (2 miles)

12:52 – 13:29 (actual 0h 37m / target 0h 30m)

We were now convinced that we had it cracked with over an hour to do the last two miles. Nadya was suffering with her stomach thanks mainly to the supersized pub food portions and my feet felt like the skin had all dissolved away, yet Chris (or was it Robocop) continued with a smile on his face (I could tell by looking at the back of his head as he set the pace). Meanwhile, Nadya and I were fuelled by our collective pain. Finally, 23 hours and 22 minutes after setting off, we got to the Lyke Wake stone. We celebrated by finishing our Whisky and posing for some photos thanks to a random support person. We all agreed it was too hard and we were crazy for doing it.


The plan had been to rendezvous with Cheryl, my partner, at the nearby Ravel Hall Hotel, but it was too long a walk to contemplate (15 minutes) so I called her and requested that she collected us. She has never looked so beautiful. She then immediately became more beautiful when she went to the bar at the Ravel Hall Hotel and returned clutching a round of beers. We all then agreed it wasn’t that hard after all and we should do it again.

There followed a quick horror show as Nadya first showed her blisters, I displayed the parts of my feet formerly occupied by blisters and now simply red raw flesh and Chris polished his metal feet. We then made haste to Whitby for some well earned fish and chips and a belly full of ale.

Final totals: walking time including checkpoint breaks 14h 47m; rest time at the Lion  8h 35m; elapsed time 23h 22m.


Three weeks later I have three black toe nails but my blisters have subsided and I would happily do it all again.

PS: Does this mean we are now 2 Dirgers and a Witch?

– Mike McManus
– Nadya Marinova
– Chris Morrison

Lyke Wake Walk crossing report June 9th 2017 John Holden

West to east crossing
John Holden, Graham Hunt, Andy Bennett, Paul Crossland & Ben Wright.
Back up team: Ross & Julie McFarlane

…… Well the story starts with a like-minded group of us, after yet another round of golf, in the 19th hole of course; someone suggested a challenge, bearing in mind the age group ranged from 32-67 and did anyone fancy doing the LWW. “It’s flatter than the 3 peaks we did the other year”, John said. Little did he know!!!

So, we started training doing short walks building up to the final one at 21 miles. We walked through very muddy fields, in long wet grass, on roads with some long inclines several steep hills, but, was it to be enough? Another group member Ross (the intelligent one) said he would act as back up and promptly said his wife Julie would help, he’s generous like that.

Graham and myself decided to walk the first section to get a feel for it, the wives came along and off we went. The starting stone was soon found and we were away up the hill walking along Scarth Wood Moor then through the gate following the Cleveland Way and down through the wood but we couldn’t find the cattle grid. So, came our first lesson, we had walked with the guide book and no map so consequently got lost right at the beginning. So maps and compasses were bought and much map reading took place.
We decided to walk in June which should allow us the most daylight hours and hopefully good weather, setting off at 20:00 hrs.

On the afternoon of June 9th the back-up team picked us all up with a comment from Ross “are you all going for a walk or a 3-day holiday?” anyway food, water and a change of clothes were loaded into the minibus and off we went.

On arriving in Osmotherley at the little car park opposite the starting stone we got out and started getting ready, nearby was a car with a friendly young family in it, they were not from the UK. We could see them watching us, “are you tourists” the man said, which sounded highly hilarious coming from them! When we explained what we were doing his face said it all!!

Off we strode, the customary photos took place around the stone then before we knew it we were up the hill onto the moor and walking down to the cattle grid. Even though it was 8 o clock at night we were not the only ones out and about as when we were going up the steep incline after the moor plantation, a group of people could be seen behind us but not for long and they soon overtook us going at such a pace, we wondered if they could keep that up as they said they were going all the way! The first two sections took place relatively straight forward and it was lovely warm night. A nice night for a stroll.
It was supposed to be a full moon that night, but the cloud formed over the moon which didn’t give the help through the night we thought we might have had and out came the head lamps. The third section came and went without much bother, mind you seeing the signs warning of snakes and ticks made you think and as we had then completed 20 miles realised we had got to the half way mark, everybody felt pretty good and problem free.

At check point 3 the mood was buoyant as we set off to the boggy section. It started to rain at 05:10 hrs just before we left the road to go onto the bog. I should tell you I think we had picked the wettest week in June for years. Walking on the peat was great in the beginning it was so spongy, if this is the bog we thought we will soon be through it. All to soon the ground became wetter and wetter almost impossible to cross without getting very wet, less and less clumps of grass could be found and we ended up walking in parts with water over the tops of our boots.

We reach check point 4 all completely soaked. Socks were changed but blisters had formed so repairs had to be carried out, drinks and food replenished off we went again. Thinking only 15½ miles to go, needless to say, we were still in good spirits albeit weary and set off on the next section of 8½ miles. The dry socks immediately got wet through due to the first mile being still a wet bit of bog then we come to the stony path and this really took its toll; tired legs slipping and sliding. Never the less even though it felt like forever we eventually came to the ravine and despite a few tumbles Paul even bent one of his poles, he looked a bit like a downhill skier it was very slippery, The river loomed ahead, it was flowing fast and the first few stepping stones were under water causing some concern. First person across Ben slipped up to his knees, never mind, feet already soaked on he went, up the steady incline to Simon Howe then down the long descent to the railway line what a shame we missed the train passing by 15 minutes. Very soon what a relief check point 5 was in sight and back up waiting. we arrived at check point 5. What a sight our back up team had bought us bacon butties from Pickering they must have had a half a pound of bacon in them what a treat.

By this time everybody was carrying out some form of body repairs but only 7 miles to go, we said “what a breeze”. Section 6 now and its never stopped raining by the way and underfoot was very slippery by the stream. This was the only area we seemed to miss a turning and had to detour up to Lilla Howe cross, but it only added maybe 15 minutes on. We carried on up to the Cross but now heavy cross winds were causing the rain to arrive horizontally. Water proofs were holding up very well, pity I couldn’t say the same for boots. Will this section never end, it seemed to go on forever.

We only stopped for 5 mins at check point 6, everybody was keen to finish the last 2 miles, however this felt like 5!! We needed to go steady now as one team member had slipped on the ravines and pulled something but he bravely carried on. Gradually the mast got nearer and nearer and suddenly it was all over 40 miles across the North Yorks Moors after 19 hours and 50 minutes’.

What a lovely feeling standing around the finishing stone having photos, everybody had completed the challenge. What a great team and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our great back up crew.

Well done to everyone!!

The minibus took us to a nearby pub where we were staying for the night, the plan was to have a couple of hours rest and a hot bath but even all good plans fail as when we went to check in you had to go into the bar and the rest well you can guess.

Crossing Report – 7/8 July, solo and unsupported Claire Chapman

When my husband Tom decided to enter the Lyke Wake Challenge race with our usual partner in crime Dave Allen, I must admit to a bit of jealousy – I only started running in April this year and so am nowhere near that kind of challenge. But having done 20 crossings (walking, the last one just a week before this!) I thought maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt a solo. After all, there would be loads of runners about and people at support stops should I get into trouble.
Tom and Dave dropped me off at the start stone near Osmotherley at 9.45pm and headed back to Dave’s for some much-needed sleep. It was still light and I felt great. Until I descended into the trees and it got dark. At that point, I really questioned what on earth I was doing, I don’t have the best sense of direction and I watch far too many horror films! Passing some walkers going in the opposite direction and then a couple having a massive drunken argument at Lord Stones, I felt more confident – I was still alive!
The disused railway track felt shorter than usual, and I was even able to give some directions to some first-timers. Passing them, I had a real spring in my step as I got onto Flat Howe. Luckily I had my GPS with me (how did anyone cope without these magical devices?) as I was aware that the path seems to appear then completely vanish! The sun came up and the views across the moors were amazing.
I always like the road for a bit of variation in terrain and before I knew it I was on to the boggy section. Having crossed just a week ago, knew it would be a little bit damp but not as horrendous as I have seen it, and despite a little variation off the path, I reached Shunner Howe with no difficulty. Eating breakfast there with the sun shining and the grouse warbling was delightful. Being completely alone with not a soul in sight felt utterly uplifting and, I have to say, spiritually fulfilling.
I pressed on over the next section towards Blue Man I’ the Moss, passing him with no slowing, but the slog to Hamer Road felt utterly horrible. Loads of puddles and kicking every rock beneath my feet led me to utter several expletives to, well, no-one. I was even pleased to have the descent down to Wheeldale Beck and back up to Simon Howe. Here, I admired the view again, and enjoyed the sunshine for a while.
On I pressed to my next goal, Lilla Cross. I love it there, and Eller Beck didn’t give me too much of a challenge. I passed a lovely old farmer repairing his fence at Fylingdales who told me all about the different strains of sheep in the area.
Lilla Cross always marks the ‘you’re nearly there’ point for me, and with this in mind I felt really good. I had a fabulous conversation with the bees buzzing round the beautiful purple heather on the way to Jugger Howe, and even enjoyed going down and up (I usually hate that bit!)
Crossing the A171, I felt amazing! The last walk up to the mast and the finishing stone was much quicker than it usually seems. Solo, unsupported crossing done in 14 ½ hours! I must have been quicker than anticipated as I didn’t see any runners or supports.
I then drove down to Raven Hall Hotel to await the arrival of Tom, Dave, and a couple of other runners from the Quakers Running Club. I had plenty of time to have a cold drink and enjoy the views. At the finish line, I was delighted to see Gerry Orchard finish accompanied by the ever-supportive Julie. We sat chatting in the grass before Tom arrived in the excellent time of 9 hours 9 minutes, Dave not long behind and then the Quaker lads. As we drove off back towards Osmotherley, we passed the amazing Nick Carter, having completed his 30th Lyke Wake Challenge in 30 years. Awe inspiring.
I never tire of this walk. It’s one of the most life affirming and confidence building experiences I can think of. I might even do the challenge race next year if my running improves sufficiently! See you again soon LWW!

Lyke Wake Walk East West Crossing Report 01st July 2017

I’ll not forget Simon Ogier’s bold statement: ‘I think we need to have another go at the Lyke Wake Walk next year’ in a hurry – although I’ve only myself to blame for agreeing with him, must have been something to do with a reasonable amount of red wine that had been consumed earlier that evening in December 2016!
Our previous crossing was completed in 2005, so it was indeed high time we visited our old friend (and foe) once again. As motivation for the walk we decided to raise some funds for the charity Epilepsy Action in memory of our colleague Carlos Arroyo, who passed away in May 2016 following an epileptic seizure.
Having previously crossed West to East and been faced with a lack of facilities and an interminable drive back from Ravenscar, the decision was made to cross in the reverse direction, as whilst this meant a long drive from Simon’s home base in Ripon at daft o’clock in the morning, it would at least get us closer to home at the end of the day.
We considered camping in Osmotherley, but as Simon and Alison kindly offered to put everyone up for the night we decided to stay over and aim for an early start.
After the day’s work was done the team travelled up to Ripon to settle in for the evening which included a quick trip to the ‘One Eyed Rat’ in Ripon – proper real ale pub well worth a visit. Gavin decided that he needed a little more Dutch courage than most and ploughed his way merrily through a bottle and a half of red wine, much to everyone’s concern for his ability to get up in the morning!
Nonetheless we managed a relatively early night and set alarms for 0230 the next morning which arrived way too soon. A steady drive over to the stone by the radio mast at Ravenscar to arrive at 0440 arriving in low cloud/sea fret and chill breeze. One of my colleagues Paul Morritt lives in Burniston and had expressed an interest in meeting us at the start, which he duly did with a much appreciated flask of coffee in order to set us up for a good start.
Timings as follows:
Start Ravenscar/LWW Stone 0501
Eller Beck 0740
Wheeldale 0850
Knott Rd First Stop 1140-1210 – much needed sandwiches and refilling of water bottles. I will add at this point that I don’t remember the section up to this point being quite so boggy – I must have blanked that bit from my memory. My boots at this point seemed to have developed the ability to absorb and retain water which is far from ideal on a walk of this magnitude!
Lion Inn 1255 – weather now much improved, sunny and breezy
Clay Bank Second Stop 1630-1700 – much needed application of blister packs and a change of wet footwear (certainly on my part) and the application of suncream for Ryan (a little late in the day)
Cod Beck/LWW Stone 2040hrs – just one short sharp rain shower to contend with as we headed up on to Cringle Moor. Extremely glad we had walked this section as a practice recently as the path down to Scarth Nick seemed to go on forever!
Overall time 15h 40mins, a brilliant effort by everyone and well deserved condolences to the following:
Gavin ‘Just one more glass’ Bellerby – excessive consumption of red wine on the evening before the walk yet managed to power through and complete the walk
Danny ‘Tusken Raider’ Serrano – unique choice of headwear
Ryan ’Lobster Legs’ Dunning – lack of sun cream had a spectacular effect on Ryan’s exposed legs
Simon ‘New Boots’ Ogier – practice walk two weeks before necessitated purchase of emergency new boots (Second Crossing)
and myself Ian ‘Lead from the Back’ Anderson – this is definitely a marathon not a sprint (Third Crossing)
Many thanks to Alison, Rachael and Eleanor Ogier and Lisa Cooper for much needed refreshments, sandwiches and support driving, Paul Morritt for meeting us at Ravenscar, and Adam Shubber for meeting us in Osmotherley to transport our weary York contingent home.

Crossing report for Becca and Andy White, Tracey Jinks and Andy Mitchell, 1st July 2017.

Thank you for a wonderful walk.

Here is the crossing report for Becca and Andy White, Tracey Jinks and Andy Mitchell made on 1st July 2017.

It all started out as such a good idea.  We travelled up from Gosport to recapture Andy’s youth; brought up on the Moors he was the only one of us who has previous attempted the Walk, let alone completed it.  Nerves started to set in when we dropped off one of the cars in Ravenscar the night before.  It was still early in the evening but visibility was terrible, down to about ten metres and the warnings of changeable weather proved to be accurate.  The car journey to our hotel in Northallerton seemed to take an age and we got our first view of the climbs we would be attempting in the morning. Had a lovely meal in the Golden Lion Hotel where we started to discuss the following day and decided to have a peek on the forums for any recent tips or comments on the boggy bit.  After reading them we decided to make our start time even earlier – now 04:30. After a few hours’ sleep (Northallerton High street is not the quietest place on a Friday night) we arrived at a full car park at Cod Beck Reservoir. Parked up in the next one and got ready to begin our epic trek.

Start photos were taken at the stone and then we headed on up the road at 04:35 waving goodbye to the car as it disappeared from view, wondering how long it would be before we would see it again. After a few nervous minutes of getting to grips with the scales of the maps/GPSr we eventually found a well-marked Cleveland Way and got going on the path.

A pleasant first few miles walking through the woods had Becca trying to teach Andy M some basic woodlore.  We passed the memorial to Bill Cowley and thanked him for a lovely day so far.  5.7 miles in we had our first climb out of the way and we had the first pit stop at Lordstones which was sadly shut as we were so early, even the toilets, which had been an unexpectedly welcome sight.  The day was warming up, layers were stripped and feet attended to. We set off again over the crags but the visibility was poor and we felt like we were missing out on some beautiful views.  At the bottom of the following ‘up and over’ we decided we had had enough of short stabby steps up and down the ‘staircases’ and went for a pleasant stroll through the woods.

The next stop was after 9.7 miles as we got to the beginning of the relatively flat bit at the top of the Walk.  We met a few other walkers here, some doing the coast-to-coast and a couple of brothers overtaking us on the LWW.  We soon set off again and as we waved goodbye to the Cleveland Way we joined the dismantled railway and got lots of local knowledge from Andy W.  There were differing views on the dismantled railway path: those of us with GPSr and waypoints could see where we were heading and felt like we were getting somewhere; those without felt it went on and on expecting every corner to be the last; then there were some that were enjoying the lovely flat path where we didn’t have to check every footstep.

The sun was out now and we were fast approaching our decision point: do we go to the pub?  A unanimous “We’re not walking further than we have to!” meant we left the path and followed the LWW marker over to the road.  We had our next stop here 17.3 miles in and took lunch, tea and a pork pie from Castle Howard for some.  After a bit more foot care we set off again wondering what we will find in the boggy bit.  Half an hour later we found out as we started to follow the boundary markers. Two approaches were taken here, one went for sandals, one went for pocket wellies.  Both were very happy with their decisions.  And for some the boggy bit was the favourite part of the walk. It wasn’t as bad as we feared but kudos to anyone who attempts this in the dark.

Another break was had on Shunner Howe at 22.1 miles.  Some more messing about with shoes was done here as we thought this was the end of the boggy bit.  It was the end of the worse of it but it carried on in parts for another six miles (it finishes at Simon Howe, not Shunner Howe).

We now came to the final lumpy bits.  It was very exciting when we got to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck – it looks just like it does on the YouTube.  A slog over the hill and we made it to our next and final stop at the tracks (30 miles in).  We assumed that the last train had gone by, it was 18:15.  And so a little horror was felt when the whistle was heard a few minutes after a comfort break was had near the line.

There was a navigation fail at Eller Beck by Andy M.  The marked map showed a route to the north of Beck and an unnecessary and unwanted few hundred metres was added to the walk.  After another map consultation, we followed the beck to find a crossing point of Eller Beck.  Those of us with longer legs managed to find it.  The shorter two had to be caught as they jumped the water on some very tired legs.

The final leg now.  The mast came into view as we past the cross and morale was lifted.  The final steep steps down and up to cross Jugger Howe Beck seemed a little cruel, especially the down on some aching knees, but we are now only a couple of miles away from the end and collapsing.  It was a steady gradient up to the end.  We watched a beautiful sunset and after 38.5 miles and 17h 22mins at 9.59pm just as the last light was fading we were done.

The I Spy book purchased the day before was accidentally left in the hotel so now we had to play the list game: “The four of us went on a walk across the North York Moors and we saw: alder, elder, sycamore, oak, willow, green beetles, dragonfly, millipedes, wasps, caterpillars, spiders, bees, frog, toad, butterflies, moths, bunnies, sheep, cows, a goose, lapwing, gulls, crows, robin, chaffinch, and vibrant purple heather.”

We had the post-walk photos at the stone and then headed back to the car.  As we approached we heard an alarm and feared the worst.  Andy W ran down to the car to find that the alarm was somewhere else. Now to see if the legs work well enough to drive.  Driving back to the reservoir to pick up the other car we saw the silhouettes of the climbs from that morning and it felt like an eternity ago.

In summary, we were very lucky with the conditions but still, we set off at dawn and finished at dusk on the longest weekend day of the year.  The weather was ideal, overcast at the beginning with a refreshing tailwind at the end.  The day before had atrocious visibility and the day after was very hot.

Lyke Wake Walk – 11 & 12 JUNE 2017 Anita Thompson

At 54, it’s been a long time coming, but after years of being “too busy” and putting it off, the plunge was taken and the room at the Lion Inn booked in February of this year. I had to do it now, couldn’t cancel and had 4 months to work my way up to the challenge. I’ve always loved walking and living so near the North York Moors has been a blessing, it truly is God’s Country. What could be more life affirming, more joyous, than taking 24 hours away from everyday life and rambling across this wonderful landscape? I’d be following in Denny & Kenny, my uncles’ footsteps, literally, on one of their favourite treks of the 60’s and 70’s – Denny completing one walk, then turning round and doing it in reverse, according to just one family legend.
I have always puzzled over how people can do 40 miles in one go and been constantly amazed at some of the stories of how it was done, especially given the weather seemingly always being harsh at some stages, even in midsummer. Triumphant tales of man over nature, was I up to it? I had decided that maybe not, 12 miles previously being my limit. But, keen to carry on the family tradition, tried to think outside the box. 40ish miles, with 24 hours to complete it – infinitely more possible with a break in between, I was sure I could do it in two 20+ mile stages. So it was decided. Maybe this might help anyone who thinks, like me, that they can’t do it in one go, so they won’t do it at all. That would be a shame, so with 24 hours to crack it, why not use them all??
Setting off, full of beans, at 12.50 on Sunday afternoon, the weather was perfect. Sunny, but lots of fluffy white cloud cover and a breeze. I’d worked my way up to 23 miles in one go, so I knew that stamina wouldn’t be a problem – a few climbs and descents en route to Blakey, yes, I was going to enjoy this. I’d decided on a solo crossing, with my hubby and doggy checking in with me en route. I realise this isn’t recommended, but in my case it was just what I wanted to do. I’d practiced my hill climbing, so getting up above Swainby and along the top of the Cleveland Hills was not so difficult, with nice dry conditions underfoot and the Cleveland Way well signposted. A little teeny bit of rain didn’t dampen my enthusiasm and the magnificent views along the way made for a great start to the trek. That was about it however for the joyous experience of “rambling”. As the wind got stronger, so the numerous ascents and descents along the hills became trickier and my ideas of a gentle ramble along flew away, along with my hat. I hadn’t counted on so many steep ups and downs, the downs slowing me up considerably, as I tried not to lose my balance and crash down to the bottom.
I sailed alongside the Lord Stones Café and scrambled up the next hill. The wind was by now really strong and I had to shelter behind the wall at the top to avoid being blown off. Spectacular views, but I hoped there weren’t any more descents or ascents ahead until checkpoint 2 at Clay Bank. Hah. Each brutal descent bashed by the wind was matched by another slog on all fours up another “mountain”. This wasn’t so much fun anymore and at one point, halfway up a slope, I really thought I couldn’t go any further, the wind was pushing me so much. I asked Denny & Kenny, sure they were watching over me (probably laughing), to help me through. So they did. The wind that seemed determined to push me over now pushed me forward instead. Losing the path a little, meaning I did a little rock climbing (don’t, just don’t look down..), I made it to Clay Bank, just one more death defying descent to get me there, knowing that after this it was plain sailing all the way to Blakey. Do people really do this for enjoyment I wondered?

I’ve walked the path from Clay Bank to Blakey lots of times before, so rather than find it a little boring, I love it, especially as it’s heavenly flat and with the now gentle summer breeze tickling my rather red face. I reached the pub tired, but happy and ready for a hot mineral salt filled bath, a few cheeky ciders and a hearty tea after 7 hours of “rambling”.
I worked out I would need to leave the pub at 4am to stand a chance of making it to the end by 12.50pm on Monday, so that’s what I did. The pub kindly left me some milk and cereal out to set me off to a good start and it was lovely to see the sun rise and light my way. The weather, as it always is around there, was misty and chilly, but at least it was dry. I knew this was the boggy part, but again, having done it before, was prepared for that and initially it was OK. Heavy rain the previous week however meant it was indeed a boggy, up to the knees in mud section and needing my wits about me to try and find the least muddy way through. The only saving grace – no hills around these parts… The path is more difficult to locate after checkpoint 4, but again, I had done this bit before, so chugged on making good time. No big hills (hurrah), but rocky rocky paths taking up all my concentration and would do for the rest of the day. A bit of rain appeared of course but I cracked on towards the Roman Road and then – what a shocker, the steep descent to the stepping stones. I realised then why the walk is not a waymarked long distance route, it is seriously hardcore scary! Joyous ramble? What was I thinking??!
Still, I was still on course to finish on time, but only just I reckoned. No time for hold ups, so I marched on and over to Fylingdales. Here, I lost the route, jumped over the beck at least twice and wept a bit as I realised I was lost and was probably going to miss my deadline. I really did not want to go through all this again to achieve my goal. I was wet, muddy and flagging – I needed my uncles’ help. There, in the shape of my woolly companions on the moor, who seemed to be standing on a path above me, it came – I was literally shown how to get back on track. If I speeded up a little, I might, just might, be able to do it. It seemed to take forever to get to Jugger Howe and I was dreading it for miles before, as my book had said how steep the ascent was. But, by the time I got there I could smell victory and was up those steps like a rat up a drainpipe. I can bloody well do this! I jogged for 50 steps and quick marched for 50 steps until I reached the A171. No time for checkpoints, and with my uncles seemingly stopping the traffic I marched straight across, onwards and upwards – it was tight, but I just knew I could do this!! Where the sudden burst of energy came from I still have no idea, I’d been on the road now for almost 9 hours and here I was, jogging to the finish line!! 12.46pm Monday, legs gone, a little cry, but I’d made it – thank you, Denny & Kenny, this one was for you – and my pedometer somehow recorded 45 miles!

Crossing 30th June / 1st July 2017

After a message sent on a whim back in January this year, and a couple of ‘meetings’ held in a licensed meeting house, we found ourselves at Osmotherley, and the starting stone of the walk at 9.30pm on a gloomy and mist-laden evening. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and we set off in good spirits.  Only a few metres in, we veered off and into the ferns.  We soon realised our mistake and got back on track.  The excursion meant that one of us lost our water bottle.  Nevertheless, after this early setback we quickly got into our stride and found the first checkpoint without further incident, even though the steep ascents and descents were made more difficult by the weather.

We continued in the mists through the Broughton Plantation, which was particularly muddy, but out of the wind.  Finally, after just missing the permissive path, but getting back onto it, we arrived at checkpoint 2 for our first rendezvous with the support van.  We tried to keep to the suggested walking times and found that, although challenging, they were possible and we reached the bottom of Hasty Bank at 1.15 am.  A short stop and we were off on the long leg to Rosedale.  Joining the old railway track, the wind kept up, but we clipped along and made good progress. By the time we passed the Lion Inn, the light was returning and the first signs came that the mists might clear although we missed the shrouded Ralph Cross and Fat Betty.  The road from the Lion to Rosedale Head was longer than imagined, but the van made a welcome sight and we were half way there, all present and correct.

We marched towards the infamous boggy section in light, as an unseen sunrise after 4.30 came just before Ralph Cross. Fears were allayed and a relatively trouble-free passage was made, thanks to some excellent guide work.  We passed a second group on the road before turning off along the county boundary – an unsupported couple who were also walking west to east.  We had previously played leapfrog with another group between checkpoint 2 and Round Hill.  The waterlogged ground continued with us all the way to the next checkpoint, where sock changes and more food were a welcome break.  This was a pattern to be repeated for the remainder of the walk, as the recent rains had left their mark on the pathways.

We continued through Wheeldale and Howl Moor under clearing skies, with the sun eventually starting to break through the clouds before we managed to trudge our way to the end of this section.  It certainly felt the longest, even though we kept on track without fault.  The dip at Wheeldale Lodge was hard and this, coupled with the seemingly interminable haul to Eller Beck, meant this was a tough leg.  The meadows at the approach to the checkpoint looked pretty in the sun, and we all started to feel the heat. It was through this section we met a team walking east to west, having obviously started out early in the morning. We crossed the railway line and found the main road in glorious sunshine, after 10.00.

Taking the standard route from Eller Beck, as it was the most direct, we found the guidebook was accurate, and the paths were sodden.  Having negotiated the bog, this penultimate stage didn’t feel daunting, as we had got so far, and were on the downhill stretch, figuratively speaking.  We all took a breather at Lilla Cross, and found the path to Jugger Howe much firmer.  However, the final ravine was a challenge to tired legs and sore feet, and a short stop at the top of the other side meant a final push to checkpoint 6.  We had planned to press on to the end but the heat of the sun, arriving around noon, persuaded us a quick rest to take on more water made good sense.

The final short leg, albeit with the seemingly moving mast – it wasn’t getting any closer – was in bright sunshine and, with the mists of the preceding night fading into distant memory, was eventually completed and we all made it to the easterly stone marker.

We did manage, more or less, to stick to the walking times as offered in the guidebook.  Breaks were slightly longer, but we completed the walk in 15 hours and promptly headed off to the Falcon for a well-deserved drink and meal.

Double Crossing Lyke Wake Walk 12 – 14 June 2017.

I respectfully submit a report of my double crossing of the Lyke Wake Walk 12 – 14 June 2017 in under the 48 hour time limit. I never thought I would be typing these words; I completed two one-way crossings last year and the prospect of turning around at Ravenscar and walking back again filled me with dread. It’s funny how these things can eat away at you.

So on 12 June 2017 I left my car in Osmotherley and walked the mile or so up the road to the ‘start’ stone. On my previous two crossings I had set off around 5pm and walked through the night. This meant I hit the boggy area, just after the Lion Inn, at first light. The downside to this is the pub is closed as you walk past it in the early hours. On this trip I really needed the pub to be open as I was relying on it for some refreshment – Ok I like a beer. So with this in mind and a bit of a plan in my head I left the stone at 2:16pm and headed off towards the Cleveland Way.

I won’t bore you with a minute by minute account of my crossing. There are plenty of other accounts here for you to get a taste of what to expect.

I reached the Lion Inn before closing time and sank a few pints and a couple of bags of peanuts. As you can gather, I am no athlete. I left the pub at closing time with the intention of walking to the start of the boggy area and grabbing an hour or so sleep while waiting for first light. It was a beautiful starlit night as I headed out of the pub and up the road.

I hate the boggy area. I don’t like crossing it in daylight so there is no way I would venture into it in the dark. So I can offer no explanation as to what happened next. Instead of stopping where I had planned to, I switched on my torch and headed off across the bogs. I was soon out the other side, soaking wet, muddy, but happy to have pinched a few hours. I knew I would have to sleep, but just not yet.

I reached Ravenscar at 10:23am some 20 hours after setting off. I was pleased with this time as I was well within the 24 hours. I had not pushed myself as I was mindful I still had 40 miles to go.

I was out of food and out of water so had to walk down into the village to stock up. I could have done without this extra mileage but had no option. I spent a fortune in the Visitor Centre and gorged myself. I was good to go. Well actually I felt miserable. The thought of walking all the way back again was horrendous. I decided to have a couple of pints in the Raven Hall Hotel to cheer myself up. That’s better! So around midday I set off back towards Osmotherley.

I hoped to reach the Lion Inn before closing as I knew I would need fluid and food. The walk by now was a painful slog. The sun was beating down and I was sweating buckets. My lack of sleep was catching up with me and I found myself stumbling as I fell asleep whilst walking. I reached Lilla Cross and grabbed 30 minutes sleep. I continued my trudge. I never reached the Lion Inn before closing. At 10:30pm I was still 3 miles away with no prospect of making last orders, so I made the painful decision to stop and get some sleep. I grabbed an hour and a half in my bivvy bag in the shadow of Fat Betty. No sooner had I closed my eyes than my alarm was waking me. I was out of food and water and still had 23 miles to go. As I walked past the Lion Inn it was all in darkness. I wandered around the side of the building and found an outside tap. I filled my bottles and drank a belly full.

The walk along the old railway line was an amazing experience. Despite my sleep I was hallucinating wildly. Rocks were turning into creatures, I saw a lady walking her horse, a bandsaw, snakes and various other figments of my imagination. It became so bad that set my alarm for 30 minutes and sat down on a rock for more sleep. This seemed to do the trick and I was soon making some progress. The Lord Stones Cafe was just opening as I passed and a full breakfast with a couple of cups of coffee was a lifesaver.

The final few miles were not as bad as I thought they would be. The food and drink at the cafe really helped. I reached the ‘start’ stone at 12:08pm. 84.5 miles in just under 46 hours.

I have now had a couple of weeks to reflect and this was a great adventure. Although I have presented this as a bit of a slapdash affair, I did carry full emergency equipment including a bivvy bag, sleeping bag and SPOT GPS tracker.

Stay safe out there and watch out for bandsaws.


South Lincolnshire.

Mick Ellis