Lyke Wake Crossing – Sunday 24 June 2018

Potential witches – Wendy Wadsworth and Michelle Dorgan
Driver/Cook/England football score updater – Lisa Carter
Statistics: 17 hours total time
15 hours walking time (as per Strava)
18 pee stops
Weather – sunny, dry with no wind (except as a result of eating too many flapjacks)

The alarm woke us from our pitiful sleep at 3am on Sunday morning, we packed our bags and had a quick breakfast and we left our ‘driver’ asleep in bed and headed off into the early morning light with a beautiful dawn chorus ringing in our ears.

We left our YHA at 4am and had a 2 mile walk to the start of the Lyke Wake Walk so we reached the stone marking the start of the walk at Scarth Wood Moor at 4.30am

The Explorer maps combined with the fact that I had read the Lyke Wake Walk Guide by Brian Smailes and gone over the route many times over the last few months made the journey more straight forward with only a few wrong turns.

The route to the first check point at Carlton Bank was very pleasant with a lovely walk through Clain Wood (remember the path off to the left beside the two seats or you will continue into the wood) and along the road at Hollin Hill to the long climb up through the wood to Round Hill, Gold Hill and along Carlton Moor. (The telephone box at Huthwaite Green had disappeared but there is a little post box) The dawn mist lifted and the view from Carlton Moor was magnificent. It was starting to warm up so our layers started to come off one by one.

The route to check point 2 displayed more views of Middlesborough and Guisborough and far across to Roseberry Topping in the distance. It was a hard slog up to Kirby Bank but an enjoyable walk on the path alongside Broughton Plantation. A lot of trees had been logged and the stone steps beside the wall were very difficult to see and we missed them so we went along the wide track to the road and saw check point 2.

The route to check point 3 (and our only official stop on the walk at the Lion Inn) was quite arduous. There were a few people on this route to talk to – walkers, mountain bikers and some lads on motorbikes racing past sending up a dust storm so strong we had to cover our mouths and nose to stop us coughing– and it was a lovely walk to Round Hill. The area around Blosworth Crossing was stunning.

The long disused railway track seemed to go on forever however and we were desperate to see the red roof of the pub. We did see large patches of beautiful cotton grass which were pleasing to the eyes and so soft to touch.

We eventually saw the pub and took the little path to the left hand side of the pub and met our awaiting support team (Lisa). A toilet stop and a coke for me and a cider and cheesy chips for Michelle! I only allowed half an hour to refuel and stock up on water and snacks, enjoy a respite from the burning sun and replace blister plasters and socks!
After saying goodbye to Lisa we continued along the really busy road up to Rosedale Head and stopped to take photos with ‘Fat Betty’. Other people had left fruit and snacks on ‘Betty’.

We continued along the road to the small car park in a little layby and took the path on the left to cross the ‘boggy’ section of the walk. As it had been so dry over the past few months, this area was quite dry and only a small number of bogs which could easily be crossed by either jumping across stumps of grass or just walking across. We crossed straight over the road to Hamer Bridge (checkpoint 4)

The track continued to Blue Man I ‘th’ Moss and we took the path straight on keeping the Wheeldale Plantation on our left. This path was very difficult as it was narrow and very rocky underfoot which slowed us down a great deal and sapped our energy.
We eventually crossed a small road and over a stile which reminded us to be wary of snakes and headed down the steep ravine to Wheeldale Beck which we crossed using the stepping stones and ascended up the other side, following a track to Simon Howe’s circle of stones.

We could see Lilla Howe in the distance and the military area of Fylingdales but were they getting any closer? Our tired legs carried us onwards.

We eventually came to the railway line where we crossed the little bridge which brought us out into a field of butterflies. There was a budding butterfly enthusiast who proceeded in showing Michelle the uncommon blue butterfly species.
We crossed the very busy A169 and reached Ella Beck Bridge. Continuing over the boggy area of Lilla Rigg we reached Lilla Howe. It took every ounce of our mental determination to keep walking. Our conversation was limited and so too was our water supply. Our feet were aching from the hard ground and the sun had almost completely sapped our energy but despite this we kept going.

Continuing over High Moor we reached the infamous Jugger Howe ravine which I had read so much about. It was much worse than it looked on the map and I had to drag my body down the ravine to Jugger Howe Beck to cross the little bridge and ascending the path opposite. From here you could see the cars on the main A171, Stony Marl Moor and the beacon signalling the end of the walk.
After crossing the main road and up the embankment the other side, we proceeded to walk along the track one foot in front of each other with our sights set on the beacon in the distance. Half an hour the book said, 30 minutes the book said! But it seemed a lot longer than that. We eventually reached the Lyke Wake Stone and finished the walk at 9.30pm with dusk gradually descending upon us. ‘Never again’ Michelle said. ‘Not for a while’ I said with a smile.