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.