Crossing Summer 2017

I seem to have missed the requirement for this to be submitted within 28 days of completing the crossing…or did I misread and it’s 280 days…?
Anyway, here’s my tail of a summer crossing, towards the middle of last year.

At the beginning of the year (2017), my buddy Adrian had suggested doing the Lyke Wake Walk (and another event, the Yorkshire 6 Peaks) as charity events and I foolishly said yes!
The Lyke Wake Walk was aimed at raising much needed funds for Adrian’s friend Andrew, who was in the advanced stages of motor neuron disease. Joining us on this trek were other friends of Adrian and Andrew – Tim, Louise and Simon and also another buddy from the 6 Peaks walk, Stuart.
I drove over to Adrian’s in York from home in mid-Wales on the Friday evening and woke to my alarm at 04.00. Stuart arrived from Wetherby shortly after and our support driver Julian (Adrian’s brother) pitched up at around the same time. Adrian disappeared off to collect the others and Julian drove us to Cod Beck Reservoir, near Osmotherley, where we all met up and prepared to go.
I was prepared to cripple myself in a relatively new pair of boots (although they had already crippled me once over the Yorkshire 6 Peaks (Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough, Whernside, Great Knoutberry Hill, Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell in 2 days)), but had a handy battered pair of trainers waiting in the support car, just in case! We bade farewell to the Pagliaro brothers (Adrian had a bad knee which kept him from the first hilly section) and set off down the road to the Cleveland Way signs which pointed us to a no access sign….I wouldn’t say we ignored this, but in our confused early morning brains, we thought it must be some form of mistake and went that way anyway….a few hundred yards later on, we met the official path and carried on, officially. Climbing through the woods, we exited onto moorland hillside with tremendous views towards Teesside. This first 9 mile section proved to consist of lots of ups and downs, made easier with the wonderful views to the north. The sun was blazing, despite it being early morning, and we knew we would have our work cut out on this beautiful summer’s day. We stopped for a first breakfast by the curious seat and topograph dedicated to Alan Falconer on Cringle Moor and I made a solo detour to the summit cairn, a few hundred metres away, catching up with Stuart who was chatting to a couple of lads on e-mountain bikes (cheating in my book – they should be peddling!). Stuart and I then caught up with the rest of the group in the col beneath the Wainstones and chatted with an American Coast-to-Coaster. At the Wainstones, we met another group who were proudly proclaiming that they were doing the 35 miles of the White Rose Way – we didn’t tell them that we were doing more! Up and over Hasty Bank, we met Adrian and Julian and stocked up on supplies. My boots weren’t too bad after 10 miles, but I decided to switch to trainers as I felt the beginnings of some rubbing.
Adrian joined us here and we climbed as a complete group over Urra Moor to Round Hill, where Adrian, Stuart and I took the detour to the summit. From here, we chatted with more American Coast-to-Coasters and followed the old railway line around the head of Farndale to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. Julian came up trumps here and had chips and beer waiting for us to enjoy for lunch in the sunshine outside the pub!
Nothing lasts forever however, and we had to replenish stocks and set out along the road to Rosedale Head, spotting a baby adder aiming to play with the traffic as we passed (no, I wasn’t going to pick it up!). We cut the corner of the road across the head of Rosedale, across various moors with various quality of path (we had been treated to flagstones on the Cleveland Way section and a good hard surface on the former railway lines). The group was starting to spread out by this time, but we regrouped when I spotted a fully grown adder, a long way from the road this time! More moorland crossings lead us to the next checkpoint, where Louise unfortunately had to retire and we saw a solo LWWer who looked set to retire too (I wonder if he carried on?). A sharp drop took us down to Wheeldale Beck and then an equally sharp climb took us over Howl Moor to the next check point, where Julian claimed to have been flashed at by a passing female motorist!
The evening was now closing in as we climbed past RAF Fylingdales (a distant target for some time now) and full darkness came on over Fylingdales Moor. Headtorches were necessary on the uneven track and a few minor navigational challenges were overcome by reference to the GPS.
At the Jugger Hows checkpoint, Tim and Simon reluctantly dropped out, leaving Adrian, Stuart and myself to climb at some pace to the end, a further mile and ¾ on.
Finishing was blessed relief! My feet hurt and I’d gone through 8 litres of water in the 29 degree heat of the day. Of the 6 walkers only Stuart and myself managed the full Lyke Wake Walk.
Julian drove Stuart and myself back to York, flushing a badger en route and then Adrian and I shared a beer back at his place to celebrate a successful, but very long day!
We finished the 41 miles at 00.30, some 18 ½ hours after setting off.

Despite the tardy effort of mailing this report to you, does this entitle Stuart and me to become Dirgers?

Thanks and best regards,
Chris Thornton