Towards the end of last year, 3 ladies of a certain age decided a challenge was a good idea for 2019 and a plan put in place to attempt the Lyke Wake Walk.
A date was sorted and a volunteer was found to act as our support crew. We reccied the whole route in 2 halves, the second half from the Lion Inn on a quite horrendous wet and foggy day in February!
Bogland could not be this bad in July, surely!

The Lyke Wake day finally dawned, last Tuesday and we all met, full of nerves and excitement, at Lyke Wake Stone near Osmotherley at 8.30pm. Ann, Chris and I were waved off by our fabulous support on a perfect, warm, dry and sunny evening.


We soon reached Huthwaite Green, and a cheery wave from our support and headed up through the woods, enjoying a beautiful sunset before walking along the top of Carlton Bank as night fell, still just in a tee shirt – a rare experience in North Yorkshire.

The Bilsdale Mast was ever present during the night accompanied by the wonderful experience provided by the incredible sight of the partial eclipse of the moon, gradually altering and changing in colour from pink to orange before emerging as a full moon to see us through the night.

By the time we reached the trig, it was colder and we stopped to put on a fleece and our headtorches before dropping down the steps and a welcome cuppa at Lordstones.

Quickly on our way, we made good time across the next section, despite having to hop over numerous toads on the path. Nattering well and giggling a lot, as we all seemed to keep tripping on stones (relatively unused to headtorches as we are), checking the one at the back was still there, we were soon at Clay Bank and more tea and some food.

Now it was up onto Urra Moor, onto the railway section. Once up on the moor, we made excellent speed on the super, level ground. So much so that we reached our turn off for Ralph Cross ahead of schedule, unfortunate because it was slightly tricky navigating in the dark! Fortunately Chris had recorded our reccied route on viewranger and we kept on track, albeit rather steadily.

Just a short walk up the road to be greeted by our support, for a boot and sock change, coffee and a bacon buttie at 4am! Wonderful and much needed because we were about to face the dreaded and notorious boggy section! The rumours that it was dry proved true and we positively bounced along on the peat, it was a joy for the most part with only a wet toe to show for it.

By now it was warming up at speed, the moors were stunning and we had them completely to ourselves, bliss! Miles and miles of emptiness just for us!

By now, it was becoming hot and we were all drinking by the gallon. Before long, we reached the approach to Eller Beck Bridge, with its mean little down and up over the railway. Full support greeted us at the check point and we had a rest, a foot soak, a sit down and some food, before setting off for the final push!

Following a good trod, we were soon up at Lilla Cross, where we had a quick break to fuel up on junk (what a great excuse a long walk is to eat what you like). The next section started well but soon turned into the worst part of the walk, the track has been recently laid with big stones, awkward and potentially trippy to walk on. We tried to walk on the edge of the heather which was better until I nearly trod on an adder! Slow progress but the famous mast, marking the end, was in our sights. The only trouble being that somehow it never got any closer and almost seemed to be disappearing down and away from us!

We had all been dreading Jugger Howe ravine with its endless, tricky steps down to the bottom and steep, leg sapping steps up the other side, to the extent that we had silent agreement not to mention it until we got there! Goodness me, we all found it much easier than we remembered and what a joy it was to see friends and family waiting for us along the track to our final check point.

Just 2 miles to go! Wow, but…..arghhhh…’s uphill, a long slow climb all the way. First though, we had to cross the busy A road with tired legs and foggy brains!

What joy to arrive at the Lyke Wake Stone and a wonderful glass of Prosecco , which went straight to our heads!

We did it! Tired but happy! 40ish miles of North York Moors in 18 ½ hours! Who knew we could walk that far?
Henceforth may Ann, Chris and I have permission to be known as The 3 Witches?