Crossing report 12/13 August 2020

Having completed eleven previous LWW’s – starting in 1975 and the last one eight years ago, I was persuaded, in a moment of weakness, to guide my tenth party across. This party was to consist of my daughter Zoe, her friend Lauren and my niece Melanie and were all “newbies”.

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Starting at my ‘usual’ time of 11pm at Sheepwash, the night was still muggy from the near 30 degree heat of the day but the weather forecast proved to be correct. The mini heatwave was scheduled to finish one hour into the walk to be replaced by hill fog, cold northerly wind and significant dampness.

Wrapped up and suitably dressed all was good and for the rest of the walk we saw only 3 other people. First checkpoint was Ralph’s Cross where my long-suffering supporter wife Gill arrived dressed for the heatwave that had most definitely finished up on the tops!

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Progress was normal – usual aches and pains – and always in the never-ending mist. The long trudges over Wheeldale and Fylingdale seemed as interminable as ever. One thing that surprised me on this crossing was the lack of distinct path in places. Was this due to a lack of boots in these strange Covid times? I’ve certainly not come across this problem in the past.

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Steady progress and reviving tea and cakes from our supporter saw us arrive at the finish at 4.20pm. Having had wet feet for a significant part of the walk I was able to actually tip water out of them at the end. New boots required! I was very surprised to see the step count logged at 82509! No wonder my hips were aching! I was very pleased that the newbies all managed to finish in what were not ideal conditions. Well done!

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Andrew Thornton

Crossing Report 30/31 July 2020

Living close to the North Yorkshire moors, the Lyke Wake Walk is something that becomes part of life, through stories of success, pain and woe from those who have tackled it and those that have failed. Despite having walked various section of the route, the end to end crossing is something that sat on my ‘to do’ list and like the moors themselves, it is a challenge that has equal beauty and menace.

A few weeks back I found myself sat around the dining table with Jess, my youngest daughter, and discussion turned to her planned week off and I suggested the LWW. Never one to turn down a challenge, Jess quickly jumped into planning mode and we managed to fit in a couple of extended walks as preparation.

Fast forward to 7pm on Thursday 30th July 2020 and with nervousness and excitement we placed our hands on the flying Ant covered LWW stone close to Cod Beck. The earlier rain had cleared, the temperature had picked up (23c according to the car) and the wind had dropped to nothing. We started our challenge.

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Good and fast progress was made over the first few miles, through the woods and fields following the Cleveland Way. Live and Holey moor were soon dispatched and we dropped off Carlton Bank to Lord Stones to a buzz of noise as families enjoyed a soothing socially distanced pint outside in the warm evening air. How lucky they were.

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Cringle Moor was next and the views to the west were spectacular as the sun gave an adieu for the day. We also passed a gentleman walking slowly towards us – reading other reports we are sure it was Mr Johan Toxopeus and chapeau Sir for your determination, we both hope that your foot and ankle are recovering.

With darkness encroaching we scrambled through the Wainstones and dropped off Hasty Bank to the road below. A quick break followed, some food and drink and head torches were donned as we started the climb to Round Hill. The red lights of the Bilsdale transmitter contrasted against the dark sky and half moon.

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We soon found ourselves on the plateau wondering when we would see the next soul. Past Blowith Crossing and onto the railway section, easy going with a clear sky and occasional breeze that brought waves of warm air up from the valleys below. Looking ahead we saw some lights in the distance, two walkers? a vehicle? It would remain a mystery, but we did come across a tent pitched by the side of the track. Only a few sheep, lots of frogs and some enormous caterpillars and moths were other things that were seen.

Resisting the shortcut to the Lion Inn, we joined the road at the top of Blakey Bank and reached the Lion around 2am. After refilling water bottles we continued up the road, the haunting lights of Bilsdale still visible. With the sky fully dark the stars were amazing, trying to walk with my head tilted back resulted in me drifting to the right and into Jess. “You’ve done it again dad” was something that was said quite a lot!

Fat Betty was lit up in headtorches and we reached the part I was fearing the most…Rosedale Bog. This was a first for me and navigating in the dark meant our paced slowed as we took our time. This was a sensible approach as we tested the ground and worked our way through the marsh. We exited with dry feet – we were both very pleased with that!

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Twilight approached and we crossed the Rosedale Road before stopping to watch the sunrise close to Blue Man-i’-th’-Moss. Refuelled we pressed on past the never ending Wheeldale Plantation to the road and then down to the stepping stones. Despite the dew in the valley, the temperature was starting to rise and the next section past Simon Howe to Eller Beck was tough going. Another break was needed and with tiring feet and legs we pressed on past Fylingdales up to Lilla Howe.

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With the destination in sight and with hazy views down towards Scarborough Castle, spirits were lifted but the long, stony and now hot, slog down to Jugger Howe tested our resolve. I also started to count the number of lizards I saw – I gave up as there were so many, not something I expected to see to be honest.

With Jugger Howe completed we pressed on towards A171 crossing and despite the Radio Tower seemingly never getting larger we reached the LWW marker stone. In total we walked for 13hrs and 40mins and our challenge was complete.

Alan and Jess Hugill – Ingleby Barwick

Double crossing 31st July – 2nd August

Apologies if I get place names wrong, as I am not too familiar with them all.

I completed a West to East crossing last September and was feeling reasonably good at the end. So when I received an email talking about a double, my mind went into overdrive. A couple of days later I had signed up. Covid meant that training was slow to start and living in the world’s flattest city of Kingston Upon Hull didn’t do me any favours when we could finally get out for a walk.

Fast forward to 31st July…… Planned on a lie in, as I had taken the day off but was awake with jangling nerves at 8am. This gave me the opportunity to convince myself throughout the day that I wasn’t capable of this challenge. Anyway at 7.30pm my walking buddy Julie (who I had cajoled into joining me) and I were driven up to Osmotherley.

After a short wait in the Queen Catherine pub we found ourselves at the start stone and at just before 10.30pm along with our 10 fellow walkers and 2 guides for the first couple of sections. The thunder storms had cleared and the weather was perfect, if not a little too warm for some. We set off a a steady pace conscious of the mileage ahead. Daylight broke just after 4am whilst we were on the railway section and head torches came off around half an hour later. Good progress was made and after a hearty breakfast we made our way onto the bog section.

Now it is this section in particular that I’m really value walking with guides. I know the bogs aren’t nearly as bad as they once were but these guys know the terrain like the back of their hands. I escaped with dry feet! During the next section Julie tripped on a rock but didn’t seem to be hurt….. at the time! Progress continued to be well made and before too long we were having our final pit stop at Eller Beck before pushing on for the last 8 miles to half way at Ravenscar. I had started with a couple of blisters which were tended to. We reached the mast at 2.45pm and the sun was fairly strong by then.

A bit over 16hrs for the first crossing was about right as we knew fatigue would hit and the second half would be slower. After another short stop which included a change of shirt and yet another sock change we set off feeling buoyant that we were always getting a step closer to the end. During a descent in the Wheeldale area something gave in Julie’s knee. We reallised that she had damaged it in her fall earlier in the day. She struggled with walking down hill, which isn’t great when you’re 30 plus miles from finishing over the North Yorkshire Moors. Anyway, we carried on at a reduced pace and made it to Eller Beck for the second time. Julie was really getting a lot of pain by now and I persuaded her to have some ibuprofen and painkillers. We bumped into some walkers we had met in Osmotherley the night before who were nearing the end of their crossing and we gave each other much needed encouragement.

Now the next section is my least favourite due to the rocky terrain and crossing it for the second time in the same day wasn’t the highlight of the trip. About half an hour before darkness fell I decided to take a couple of caffeine tablets as I knew that the lack of light would increase our tiredness. It paid off and we carried on into the night. As darkness fully descended we entered the bogs for the second time with much more trepidation than the first time. By now, we were right at back of group but yet again our guides did a sterling job and got us through unscathed. The railway was a welcome relief for Julie’s knee due to its fairly flat nature. However the steep climbs at the end down really took their toll on Julie. By this time I was carrying her pack and supporting her down hill. At the checkpoint big decisions needed to be made, to withdraw 10 miles from home would be devastating but could she carry on? Well, this lady is made stern stuff. So after ditching her rucksack, some very strong analgesia and a huge delve into her reserves we decided to see how the four miles went to the final checkpoint. It was slow going but slowly by surely we were getting closer.

We carried straight on at the last checkpoint as we were both starting to sieze up due to the slow pace and were joined by a fantastic guide who would stay with us to the end. Just before 10 am we made it onto the road up to Sheep wash and the finishing stone. At the time we didn’t tell each other we were both fighting back the tears as it started to dawn on us that we were going to finish and we had achieved something pretty special. After 76.25 miles, 9 pairs of socks each, lots of various tablets and many laughs along the way, we had done it. We were now Lyke Wake Walk Double crossers and that will never change. Special thanks need to be made to Brian, Mick, Ian, Chris and our cooks and drivers whose names regrettably escape me. We would have never made it without you. When I finally climbed into my bed on Sunday afternoon I had been awake for just over 54 hours but it had all been worth it.
Finally, would I do another Double? NEVER!

John Dixon & Julie Kaiser

Some three hours after completing their crossing………………… the skies opened providing a “wonderful” deluge………………………… good timing!


Crossing report from Johan Toxopeus, Bilthoven

Crossing report from Johan Toxopeus, Bilthoven, The Netherlands, 73 years old, solo, unsupported, East to West.
Thursday July 30th.
Weather: cloudy, 5 hrs of rain.

A remarkable report on pure determination through adversity


Careful planning and a good condition are essential for a successful crossing, especially for elderly people crossing solo unsupported. My condition was ok I thought. Last year I did my second successful crossing (see my posting for June 27th 2019). For planning I took Thursday July 30th, because that day the forecast was 17 degrees C, clouded, not too warm and dry, ideal walking weather. That turned out to be a great mistake. I started at 03.45 am in Ravenscar in the dark.

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After about 15 minutes I sprained my left ankle terribly with a loud crack, very painful, but after a few minutes I was able to endure the pain and stand on it again and hobbled on with plenty painkillers during the day.

At about 07.00, near Eller Beck, it started to rain as a next unpleasant surprise.

The sections over the moors and bogs were very wet and it rained continuously up to about 12.00 hrs. In this section I met the first human beings of the day around 11.30, two brave other walkers going the other way also shocked by the weather forecast. No others till the Lion Inn. I fell a few times in the muck when slipped resulting in a blue eye obtained from my spectacles hitting the face. Around 13.00 hrs Fat Betty and at 13.30 hrs the Lion Inn where I booked a table the day before (COVID rules), exactly on time. At the entrance, however, I bumped my head, being a tall dutchman, severely against the old and solid ceiling beam, resulting in a blooding wound and headache (there is a clear sign on the beam ‘mind your head’ I saw later). A pint of Wainwright bitter, lasagne, sock change, more painkillers restored faith again. I hardly could get my left shoe on because of the swollen foot. After one hour rest, I started my second and easier lap. It was dry, clouded, much better walking conditions and an easy path over the disused railway. However, my pace was much slower now, being very afraid of ruining my ankle even further.

At 18.00 hrs I sat down on the bench of the unfortunate Robbie near Hasty Bank. Very slowly now I proceeded to the end, with a nice coke at The Lords café and cheered by my whole family via the app. At 23.00 hrs rather tired, with a half closed blue eye and limping I arrived at the parking lot where I parked my car the day before. Great crossing, great fun, but I am afraid that my family forbid me to do this ever again on my own for a fourth time. I drove back in 1.5 hrs to my Ravenscar B&B. Back in my room with a stiff whisky, I was horrified with my own left foot, it looked terrible, swollen and completely dark blue from severe haemorrhage. The next day it looked even worse and I could hardly stand on it and back home the other day my general practitioner noticed severely torn ankle ligaments. She could not understand how I could have walked with that for 62 km!, haha.

Should there be Lyke Wake Award for Gallantry?