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