Friday 23rd July in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Dear Sir,

It is with deep regret that must report the crossing of three unfortunate souls, Rob Thorpe, Malcolm Walker and myself, Chris Bunney, on Friday 23rd July in the year of Our Lord 2021.


After a robust last supper in the Golden Lion Hotel, we duly made our mark in The Book of the Dead in The Queen Catherine, where much dutch courage was imbibed, by both crossers and mourners.

After an all too brief, fitful night filled with nightmares and visions of angry souls (I stubbed my toe on my partners bed waking her up and incurring the wrath of the Senior Mourner), four of us stole into the night at 03:30 leaving the hearse at the reservoir to be collected at a more godly hour by the mourners.

In black drizzle we touched the stone at 03:57 and descended into hell (actually a plague of mozzies – which we didn’t expect). Our fourth potential dirger, Andy Bottomley tripped over his shoe laces in the Coalmire Wood falling full length but no blood spilt, thankfully. We started the ascent of Round Hill as the night was giving way to a ghostly dawn, swathed in mist and low cloud.

We passed Lordstones, where all was quiet and picked our way through Wain Stones before arriving at Hasty Bank where we were greet by our mourners. Unfortunately not with tea or coffee as they had risen late and only just arrived at the stop before us, siting an over indulgence the previous night. Stiff upper lips all round and an adjustment of footwear etc, before striking up for the old railway line,

The weather had settled into a warm, oppressive, but overcast aspect – very much like us. By the time we got to Bloworth Crossing, Andy was lagging, a flaring up of an old rugby ankle injury was apparently to blame. Matters had not improved by the time we turned off the track up to Ralph Cross and thankfully he did the right thing and pulled out the Webley, or rather said he would call it a day and be joining the mourners in the hearse at Ralph Cross.

Your correspondent had been setting a good pace and we were distraught that we would only be a band of three for the second part of the purgatory, but Andy would slow us down and we were happy to be rid of him (insert evil smiley emoji here)

We gratefully inhaled hot drinks and sausage sandwiches by Ralph Cross and it bucked us up no end. We set off at a jaunty pace on the road, giving our best wishes to Fat Betty as we passed. Heading off the road we were in trepidation of the evil bog to come.

Our fears were thankfully unfounded and recalling the words of the late lamented Brian Smailes, we bounced across the peat with glee, then chastised ourselves at our merriment.

We caught up with the mourners at the road after Shunner Howe and refreshments were partaken. Our former fourth sufferer was now giving us encouragement but with a smug expression that betrayed his relief that for him at least the pain was over

We caught up with the mourners at the road after Shunner Howe and refreshments were partaken. Our former fourth sufferer was now giving us encouragement but with a smug expression that betrayed his relief that for him at least the pain was over.

I had detected no signs of tiredness or strain in Rob, indeed he seemed as fresh and chipper as he had at the start and I had begun to wonder if he was a robot. Our unhappy band set off again for an appointment with The Blue Man, who we all thought was looking a bit faded and sorry for himself and vowed if we ever passed that way again we’d bring a pot of blue paint and a brush. We paid our respects and pushed on. The track became very rough and tiresome, just like Malcolm’s language.

As we approached the road, before Wheeldale Beck we encountered a sheep, on the track, on its back. Sheep have flat backs and are unable to right themselves if they end up upside down. We managed to turn her over and get her back on to her feet, but she would take some time to recover – time we didn’t have – so we headed off hoping she would be all right and that our good deed may help us get out of purgatory sooner

The sun showed his face as we struggled up to Lilla Cross but the stoney trek down to Jugger Howe was indeed torturous however Malcolm led the way having miraculously got a second wind – or just wind.

After hearing the horror stories of Jugger Howe in truth we didn’t find it too bad and we were soon at our final support stop confident by now that we could pull it off. Half an hour later at 18:30 Rob, Malcom and I touched the stone in relief and jubilation


In fear of getting lynched I suggested that we carry on to The Raven Hall Hotel for some “refreshment” which resulted in a lively debate but I am please to report we staggered down into the village and sat on the lawn, at the hotel, pints in hand somewhat incongruous with the guests dressed in morning suits and posh frocks for a wedding that had taken place earlier that afternoon.


We were tired, sweaty, but very pleased with our achievement and I humbly ask that we are now granted the status of Dirgers for our efforts.

I hope to lead another set of unfortunate souls in a crossing next year, if I can summon up the will.

As a footnote, pun intended, I had considered “doing” the Lyke Wake Walk some 40 odd years ago when it was in its heyday but thought I was too unfit. This successful attempt came about due to a drunken zoom session during lockdown mulling over things that we should do when it was over.

It just goes to show that with a bit of practice, determination, planning and good company what three fellows in their 60’s can achieve.

I hasten to add my thanks for our wonderful back up team, The Mourners – Gillian, Wendy, Sarah and Maggi who will be repaid in heaven but for now will have to be content with a magnificent dinner at Mademoiselles’s in Whitby we had on the Saturday night.

Yours in memoriam,

Chris Bunney

Crossing – 29th September 2021.

As a group of 6 people (5 walkers and 1 supporter) we did the crossing from Osmotherley to Ravenscar on Tuesday 29th September 2021. We travelled up from Leicester on the evening of the 28th, had an amazing meal at the Golden Lion and then managed to get a few hours sleep, before waking up at 02:00, to be ready at the start for 03:00.

The weather was kind to us. The rain was torrential on our drive up, but it was absolutely perfect for us on the day. There was a very slight drizzle first thing in the morning, but after an hour or so, it was dry and daylight appeared just as we came out of the ‘forest’ part of the walk.

We followed a GPX route that was 40.83 miles and it guided us spot on from the stone on Osmotherley to the end stone in Ravenscar.

Our support vehicle met us at our first checkpoint [Checkpoint 2 (a layby)] and then we met at The Lion pub, Checkpoint 4, Checkpoint 5 and then the end.

Morale was very high for most of the walk. We had taken a walkie talkie each so that we could keep in communication when we naturally started to spread out, but the general rule was ‘If the person at the back, cannot see the person at the front, then radio in for them to slow down to allow us to close up a little’

The crossing too us around 17 hours as we were waiting at The Lion for quite some time for the support to arrive, and then our final Checkpoint (near the RAF base) was a longer stop as we needed to change footwear, gear up for the darkness (again) and ditch our bags etc, so we could get it done as quick as possible.

The stretch to Checkpoint 1 was done in (more or less) complete darkness. A headtorch is essential and it is a little treacherous in places. Steep steps and very exposed areas where you can see the city lights, but not too much more. I didn’t take walking sticks, but a couple of the group did, and they were really useful at this point. When we were in radio range of the support vehicle (after a few hours of walking) his voice was the best thing to hear. It was on nice to be able to see a fresh face, get some food, recharge, refresh, change socks and then set off for the Lion Inn.

The walk to the Lion Inn can be a little soul destroying as it is a long path and you can track along the headland exactly where you ae going to have to walk. The path is fine, it is easy to walk, relatively flat and even in the wet, I imagine it would be fine with only a few puddles. You then see the Lion on the horizon and again, it is the nicest sight, as you know you are then virtually 50% of the way through. Another change of socks, and footwear, before setting off again for what is the most difficult part of the walk – Just to note, up until this point, we were walking in our trail shoes, but at the Lion, changed into our ‘proper’ walking boots, and also ditched our bags (so we were travelling as lite as possible) as we knew that the bog was coming!

We tracked the road for a couple of miles before then heading into the bog. And the bog is a bog. Wet, peaty and arduous. We are a fit bunch of people, and this was where the niggles started coming in. Tight hips, ankles etc. We therefore decided to liven things up by playing a classic game of ‘Sh&g, Marry, Cruise’ – It passed the time and boosted the morale. In total, this was about an 8 mile stretch, but we weren’t hanging around as we knew that we only had limited daylight remaining.

The final stop (at the RAF based) was a good one. We had a team talk, changed footwear again, unloaded anything we didn’t need in the bags, but also packed the headtorches as we knew we would be needing them again to complete the crossing. You can (just about) get away with trail shoes here, there is a little boggy section but it is OK, and then the rest of this is pretty much steps and path, and then a straight line to the end mast!

We started as a team, and we finished as a team.

I would strongly recommend using a support vehicle if this is the first time you have done it, as there are no shops etc on the route. And when we got to the Lion Inn (the only thing en-route), it was closed as we got there too early.

Synergy Personnel Services

  • Connie Towl
  • Gavin Dilkes
  • John Ghent
  • Sam Goddard
  • Tom Westbury, and
  • Trevor Short was our Support Driver

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