Crossing Report: Saturday 16th June 2018

After parking my car in the Sheepwash car park at the head of Cod Beck Reservoir, the first problem that faced me in this attempt at completing the Lyke Wake Walk was deciding on and locating the starting point. The route description provided at refers to a Stone at grid reference 470994. I could find no stone of any significance at that point, so resolved on starting from the stone inscribed “LYKE WAKE WALK” at grid reference SE467992 and also taking in what some consider the official start of the walk: the Ordnance Survey trig point at SE459997.

I started off at about 5:45 in fine weather thinking that I would have plenty of time to complete the walk in daylight. Here comes my first lesson learnt: just because I’ve previously completed a 40 mile challenge walk in southern England on well made up paths in 12 hours doesn’t mean the same can be achieved over the North York Moors, so don’t dawdle, keep moving!

The weather remained fine until I reached the Lion Inn, and it was about then that I heard distant thunder, and shortly afterwards there was a brief shower. Soon after passing Shunner Howe, I could see another storm approaching, and quickly found myself walking through heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning. My second lesson learnt was to check that waterproofs really are waterproof; my supposedly waterproof trousers certainly weren’t, but fortunately the storm soon passed and the weather remained dry for the remainder of the walk.

For a long time I could see RAF Fylingdales in the distance, and for a long time it didn’t seem to get any closer, but eventually I passed it, though it was about then that I realised I wouldn’t complete the walk in daylight. With just about sufficient light not to need my head torch, I was approaching the final trig point at NZ969011 when I was halted in my tracks by a sound I haven’t heard in many years: the churring of a nightjar, which was sitting on top of a bush close to the path; I stopped to listen for several minutes. At about 10:45 pm, 17 hours after starting, I reached the trig point, and then continued to the Raven Hall Hotel, the bar of which is apparently the traditional end point for the walk. I expect the bar was closed by the time I reached Ravenscar, but I didn’t investigate as all I wanted to do by this time was find somewhere to pitch my tent and get some sleep.

The following morning, fortunately feeling refreshed, I was faced with getting back to my starting point. Retracing my steps didn’t seem appealing, so instead I walked the 9 miles into Whitby along the old railway track, caught the train to Battersby – a pleasant hour long journey – and then walked the remaining 12 miles back to my starting point by the shortest and easiest route I could find.

David Tyers

******* Please note, David is quite correct. The start shown on our website map is incorrect. I will get that sorted as soon as possible. Thanks for pointing this out *********