East to West crossing on 22nd July 2017

I think it was just before Christmas that we got talking about this walk – my dad, David and one of my sisters, Jennie, had done the walk before. So naturally my husband, Tim, and brother in-law Jonathan heard the call of a challenge and said ‘we’d quite like to do that’. And so it became that our team-sheet started as 5 – dad, Jennie, me, Tim and Jonathan… and after asking at least 20 other people if they wanted to join us… the team-sheet stubbornly stayed at 5.

The date was set as 22nd July as the weeks before were busy – Jennie was on a girls trip to Ibiza, mum and dad had back-to-back weddings and then we had my brother’s graduation 2 nights before the walk – it seemed like excellent prep for what promised to be a gruelling trial (last time Jen and Dad both lost a few toenails).

The weekend arrived and we were all bit shocked to find that we were going ahead with our commitment. After a long week of work we mustered on the Friday night at Davina and Jonathan’s house for pasta, fish and chips and route/stop planning. Davina, mum and Steve (Jonathan’s dad) gamely agreed to be our support crew – and thank goodness they did – they carried no fewer than 7 extra pairs of shoes, 8 extra pairs of socks, 1 baby, 2 dogs, 18 litres of water, 25 sandwiches and 3000 biscuits.

Against advice from Tim we set our alarms for a leisurely 3:40am in order to start the walk at a slightly-later-than-planned 5:40am… but after arriving with some apprehension in the pouring rain at the reservoir carpark we were off!

The first 10 miles went off without a hitch as we all enjoyed the beautiful scenery and regularly exclaiming at how it was ‘only’ 6am, 6:50am, 7am and ‘why aren’t we in bed’. We were happy and upbeat as we met our support crew around mile 9 and were all pleased to review our state of dehydration by confirming who had and hadn’t made a loo stop yet. Off we set again and the rain closed in, by the time we made it to the Lion Inn we were soaked to the bone. 3 mountains of (really good) chips, a few sandwiches, coffees and sweets later, we were slightly drier and back on the road about 13:30.

By mile 24 we all acknowledged that the mood had become a little sombre, the 20-30 mile stretch seemed supernaturally long (maybe the chips were a terrible idea after all), and we all wondered out loud as to whether:
a) Anyone had actually died carrying a coffin along this supposed coffin-carrying route
b) Anyone had done their duty and on return to Osmotherley found another person in need of a wake (the sighs of frustration)
c) Whether it would be preferable to be cremated or buried rather than inflict this pilgrimage on anyone

We reached the Goathland viewpoint area and were happy to be fed, watered (and medicated – thank goodness for ibuprofen) again by our support crew. We all agreed that staying still for more than 60 seconds meant seizing up so after a bit more ‘foot admin’ we got back on our way. Off we went into the marshes where we immediately acknowledged that the trench foot we had been suffering since the downpour was here to stay; we would all just have to worry about our rotten toes later.

We did a final mini stop as we crossed Scarborough Road just as the light completely faded. The final stretch was done under torch light and completed at marching pace with only a few half-hearted debates about who was in the most pain, before we finally made it (in the pouring rain again) to the finish stone –  such relief!!

In our morning after debrief (around a fry-up) we all declared the walk to be punishing and exhausting and a really great day. It’s day 2 of recovery now and we’re all walking gingerly around our respective work places wishing we were at home in our slippers, or even, dare I say it, still out walking..
In tribute to our walk, and the fact that this Ed Sheeran song was stuck on a loop in Tim’s head for at least 30 of the LWW miles, here are some photos of our day.

Our walkers were:
David Wilbraham (for a 3rd time- he did the walk in his 40th year, 50th year and this year he turns 60!)
Jennie Downing (nee Wilbraham, for the 2nd time)
Jonathan Marchant
Tim Snaith
Annabel Snaith

Crossing from 1968.

I  would  like  to  register  with  you  my  Walk  details.

My  card  reads  

 Mr  T  Bannister, crossing  24  February  1968, time  17 Hrs  20  mins,  west  to  east,  issued  by  The  Chief  Dirger Potto  Hill,  Swainby,  Northallerton.
“Condolences  on  your  crossing” 
…..are offered on the  card!

PS  I  am  now  76  yrs  of  age  and  have  hung  up  my  long distance  walking  boots! However  I  can  still  remember  my  walk.  6  of  us started  out,  only  4  finished and  there  was  snow  up  on  Fylingdales,  by the  RAF  station.

I  had  to carry  a companion  for  the  last  half  mile  or so because  he’d  collapsed. I knew  that  if  I  didn’t  make  the  last  bit  then  both  of  us  would  probably  have  perished  in  the  dark,  so  I  was  assuredly  motivated!

No  mobile  phones nor  nanny rescuers around then!


Tony  Bannister

The Astill Family v. The Lyke Wake Walk – Crossing Report from May 14th 2017

Happy to report the successful and pleasurable crossing on May 14th 2017 of myself (Rachel, 24) and my dad Neil (54), well supported by our mum/wife Suzanne, who bravely faced the notorious Yorkshire roads alone. Based on the excellent advice of a past report from this page, we had downloaded the route on the ViewRanger app (thanks so much to publisher Gary Fox!), which played a brilliant role in reassuring us that we hadn’t gone astray. Highly recommended to anyone about to undertake the challenge.

We also made good use of Dad’s Garmin watch which we programmed to bleep each mile, helping to steady our pace both mentally and physically.

Setting off at 4:15am, our head torches didn’t shine for long as within half an hour we had left the darkness behind. Despite the steady rain and grim conditions on the moor, we were able to get a good pace going and met the support car at Hasty Bank just after 7:30am.

After a half hour’s rest and a hearty breakfast of flapjacks and Jammie Dodgers, we were back on the track. This leg of the journey passed quickly too – we hit a marching pace along the old railway tracks, distracted by games including A-Z of cars (W was a struggle) and the first line of hymns (very difficult – not recommended (and apologies for the singing)). The sight of the Lion Inn set our stomachs grumbling prematurely… little did we know what a long slog down the main road loomed between us and our lunches. Thankfully we were met with inviting deck chairs and a hearty feast prepared by Suzanne (accompanied by flapjacks and Jammie Dodgers).

40 minutes later we were sufficiently fuelled up and heading off apprehensively towards the dreaded bog territory. Unbelievably we escaped unbogged! Only a slight diversion was needed, but the path was otherwise terra firma. This boosted our spirits and kept us going strong till our 25 mile checkpoint at Hamer. It was 2.15pm now, 10 hrs into the walk and energy levels were going the same way as the depleting supplies of flapjacks and Jammie Dodgers.

Once niggling twinges were fast becoming significant sufferings; we began using our walking poles at this stage and certainly felt the benefit. The miles began to feel twice as long as before, not least because the battery in Dad’s watch gave in at 29 miles, and the thought of the finish point seemed dispiritingly out-of-reach. The hymn-singing was turning to prayers and the promise of a pasta dish and a hot drink at Eller Beck was all we had to spur us on. Indeed, our spirits were elated as we mounted the climb up from the steam railway to the inviting sight of the support car awaiting us – imagine then our horror as our much-anticipated refuge reversed and drove away before our helpless eyes and flailing arms. Unfortunately, we’d underestimated our ETA and, deciding she must be waiting in the wrong place, Suzanne departed to try and track us down. To make matters worse, there is no phone signal in the 7 mile vicinity of the army base and we had left our carrier pigeon at home. We were forced to consume our emergency supplies (a jam-free Jammie Dodger) in desperate hunger as we waited in hope of her return. Thankfully – just as we’d given up hope and were strapping on our rucksacks to depart with sullen spirits – over the brow of the hill to the right, our golden chariot reappeared, brimming with sustenance and Suzanne. However, the difficult Yorkshire roads had taken their toll by this stage and, somewhat harshly, we received a much frostier reception than previously. Having taking a considerably longer stop than scheduled, we got back on our way as quickly as possible.

This leg again felt much longer than anticipated, and a real hard drag over unchanging scenery. Even a few rounds of the Name That Tune Humming game only marginally lifted our spirits. The steep descent then ascent up the ravine was an unwelcome strain on our fatigued muscles. It seemed like the final checkpoint would never appear, but once it did – only 2 or 3 miles from the finish – we caught our second wind. We sped off on the final stretch to the telegraph pole, where we happily finished at 9:45; 17.5 hours after our departure and just before darkness fell. We were very pleased with the time as we’d expected to finish nearer to twenty hours. A good nap on the journey back to the caravan in Osmotherley preceded one of the best night’s sleeps of my life!