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