Crossing Report. Saturday 23rd June 2018. Time taken 13 hours and 38 minutes.

Crossing Report. Saturday 23rd June 2018. Time taken 13 hours and 38 minutes.

Walkers: Bevis Cox, Julie Moorby, Mary Waterfall
Support Crew: Ben Guy, Alex Newall


The Start                                                                      Only another 39.9 miles to go

We set off from home at 4.00, our support crew picking us up with a car laden with supplies. Alex had prepared a Yorkshire quiz for the journey in an attempt to awaken our fuddled sleep weary brains, (Bevis had been out partying all night, oh to be young enough to party then walk 40 miles.) The quiz highlight was Bevis’s answer to Ilkley moor bar t’at, being on the moor without your bath mat. He’s a Yorkshire man he should have known the answer.
We pulled into the carpark in Osmotherley touched the start stone and were off by 5.30 am just as the sun was rising over the hills, ready to meander up the first few climbs of the day. As we tromped up Carlton Bank, we came across a large group of charity walkers spreading out down the narrow path, moving slightly slower than we were. To pass them we almost had to jog up the hill and we were very amused when they shouted to each other to move out of the way, as some “Speedy Speedsters” were passing. We certainly wouldn’t have viewed ourselves as that and we never jog up hills on long walks, but the jog kicked in some adrenaline and we carried on at a good pace.
We ignored check point one and made good time to the second checkpoint, arriving at 8.25 to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and Alex grinning and asking, “What took you so long”? We laughed as our legs were still going strong at this point. After a brief stop, talc on hot toes and change of socks, we changed boots here. We had walked the first half of the walk a few weeks before and Bloworth crossing had been hard on the feet, so we wanted something a bit more padded between our toes and the cinders. Little did we know that much of the second half of the walk would be hard on the feet, there are some very sharp rocks on this route.
We set off towards Round hill and the highest climb of the day, still feeling strong and our feet in good order. We hated Bloworth so much that we were pleased to have read on the updates to the route that we could knock a chunk off the crossing, because the old path across the moor had reopened. We trudged along the crossing keeping out a sharp eye for the turn up towards Rosedale Head. There is a LWW stone in the ditch, painted yellow marking the way, which we found after we had turned onto the path. Now, you would think having mapped this new path on our phones we would have managed to walk what is in effect a straight line upwards without much trouble, unfortunately two paths start from the same point and we took the wrong one. We went right instead of left along, a rarely walked path, so lots of scratchy heather and walking with knees as high as possible, through squishy bogs, (we would probably have looked like drunk Charleston dancers to anyone watching.) We saw the standing stones leading up to the road in the distance through a heat haze and cursing loudly set off towards them. I think we still felt that this turn off, had been worth it though.
We arrived scratched and covered in black streaks at Rosedale head at 11.30 to more freshly brewed coffee, and sandwiches. We changed back into our walking boots, more talc and fresh socks then set off with a spring in our step towards Fat Betty. Oh, the temptation to jump into the car and cut out the tarmac section as the support crew gaily peeped their horn on the way past. Fat Betty is amazing, we didn’t realise that people left offerings here for other weary walkers, plasters, fruit, moleskin, so dug into our pack to look for something suitable then set off down the road towards the next turn off by the looming standing stone.
We approached the bog section with trepidation, but as there had been very little rain they were mostly dry, (the odd squelchy section still caught us out through.) As we walked along the channels, we were in awe of anyone tackling this when the bogs were full. The bogs baking in sunshine were a pleasure on the feet as we bounced along the springing turf. We had a quick check in at Shunner Howe with the support crew but as we hadn’t needed to do any wading, we still had dry feet and set off towards the Blue Man in’t Moss. A quick touch of the stone and we were off again towards Howl Moor and Simon Howe.
Ow, ow, ow, is all we can say about this section, those rocks are sharp, and so close together that your ankles get a good work out. We had been looking out for Adders, desperate to see some, but I think Bevis must have been sleepwalking at this point, (partying catching up on him.) He let out a piercing howl and jumped several feet in the air when he disturbed a sheep in some bushes, thinking it was an Adder. Lots of rib pulling about Adders not being the size of pythons followed and the laughter set us up for the steep descent of Simon Howe. I slipped on the way down and popped my shoulder out, Bevis and Julie were both nearly sick, as unfazed I popped it back in, but I have been doing this since childhood.
We set off upwards to the next checkpoint, (the ascent much easier than the way down,) which we reached at 4.30. That section had been hard going and Julie and I now had blisters under our toes, strange how you can ignore them after the first few steps though. Last change of socks, more talc, (bliss on sore toes) and words of encouragement from the support team, who by now were fetching and carrying anything, we needed from the car. The next section seems far longer than five miles, we still felt ok but Lilla Cross, seemed a long way off. The path from the cross to Jugger Howe seemed to stretch on forever. Oh my, when you see the path up the other side of Jugger Howe it really takes some motivation to descend into the bottom. I had been walking about 500 yards behind Bevis and Julie on the last section and however fast I tried to walk, they never got any nearer or further away. I am sure they had hatched a plan to coral me up the steps as one set off in front and one behind, (probably worried I would slip again.)
We reached the last checkpoint and dropped our bags in the car, then set off towards the Radio Tower and the finishing stone. I think we had a new burst of energy here, as it did seem easier walking than the last few miles. As we approached the end of the path Alex and Ben were whooping and waving and had covered their car in congratulatory bunting, and were holding up Witches and Dirger placards, which really cheered us on to the end. We touched the finishing stone at Ravenscar at 7.08pm, sunburnt but with smiles on our faces, 13.38 hours after we began.

The Finish

Would we do it again? Who knows, we are seasoned walkers and this was a hard slog. Quite frankly, only laughter gets you through the tricky bits.
Bevis Cox
Julie Moorby
Mary Waterfall