Crossing Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June 2018

Dear Sirs

I hereby wish to report a solo and unaided crossing by myself over Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June. Having parked in Osmotherley I left the car, reaching the stone and setting off at 19.10, having already completed a couple of miles. A beautiful sunny evening, although still a little too warm. I’d been going up to North Yorkshire regularly over the past couple of months to train and familiarise myself with sections of what I thought was the whole route, but somehow still managed to discover portions I’d missed.

Clear skies and a full moon meant I saw out the brief hours of darkness wearing only shorts and a T-shirt. Once past the Lion Inn (joined by a soundless owl gliding towards me along the other carriageway), having left the road I finally donned a fleece while I sat and ate my breakfast of cheese sandwiches with homemade plum chutney. There was a cloud inversion to watch while I rested, the clouds rolling down into the valley behind me like a fast moving glacier.
Although the boggy section was probably the driest it had been in years, I persevered until I found a patch of ground where I was able to sink in the bog above my knees. Never let it be said that I tried to avoid a difficult crossing. Things were good, but the weather was heating up and I thought I had easily beaten the task, until I came to Fylingdales Moor. I have crossed this patch of ground three times now, the clear and direct path marked on the OS map just doesn’t exist, at least not near checkpoint 5 on the road. After my training run I endeavoured to keep to the stream on the left, only to lose the path again and in my now tired and seriously overheated state, had a complete sense of direction failure and ended up scrambling through energy sapping heather, having to use my walking pole to beat the heather before me to scare away any sleeping adders. A gamekeeper didn’t bother approaching, probably thinking me some poor blind fool who having come this far, would find his way eventually. I have to say that with the midday heat and exhaustion setting in, if my wife who was coming up to join me that afternoon had arrived, I would have been very tempted to give in and ask her to pick me up. She was still lazing about at home in Sheffield though, so with the help of the GPS on my phone (I’d reached the fence where the gate should be to Ella Cross, but had no idea whether to turn left or right), I eventually after about an hour and a half found the path, and gratefully sat a while in the shade of the cross while I emptied my boots of bits of heather. I think the radio waves from Fylingdales MOD station must have addled my brain.
I am not prone to blisters but they now appeared to make the journey awful. Having finally spotted the mast and with Grouse Hill caravan park left behind, I reached and crossed the road only for the mast to completely disappear! Was it a mirage? Was I lost yet again? No, the mist had come down at the last minute, not close enough to the ground, but enough to conceal the mast and play tricks with my now nearly deranged mind. It did not reappear until I was almost upon it. I reached the mast and the stone at 14.15, a 19 hour crossing far longer than I’d anticipated, but a crossing none the less.
Luckily I’d had the foresight to park my caravan at the small Smuggler’s Cove site just down the lane in Ravenscar, but those last two hundred yards were the longest I’d ever walked. I had a mug of tea and a big bowl of porridge to replace lost carbs, followed by a good sleep for a couple of hours before Mrs G arrived and thoughtfully woke me up to see if I was dead. Remarkably, apart from one blister and sore shoulders from carrying all the water I’d needed in a very heavy rucksack, recovery was swift and the intention never to walk anywhere again, ever, was quickly replaced by a feeling of achievement and wondering which long distance footpath I could tackle next.

Having suffered what I am sure must be the requisite amount of pain for a crossing, I therefore respectfully request membership of the club.

Kind Regards

Mr David Glentworth