Crossing Friday 19th August 2022. Dave Draper and Alun Denbury

I’m sad to say both myself Dave Draper and Alun Denbury completed the Lyke Wake Walk on the 19th August 2022.

Start time: 0344
Finish time: 1844
15hrs crossing time

The day started positively with a moonlit walk along the Cleveland way section. Lots of wildlife including owls and badgers. The beady glowing eyes of fields of sheep certainly gave some entertainment.

The sunrise was fantastic, drying the damp from the path. A quick pace was held past the Lion and onto the start of the peaty section. This is sadly where the monotony set it! Miles and miles of heather, stone and peat!

Thankfully the heather was in full bloom, the path very dry and the constant darting of lizards kept you awake!

The long drag back up to Flyingdales saw the bulk of the blisters starting! Our mood decreased… our feet sore!

Hoping, but knowing otherwise, that this climb was the last one. The site of the antenna both comforting and worrying when reached the top.

The descent to the final stream crossing was sombre! A quick stop and some sweets gave us a boost up the last sharp climb. The long slow climb to the end was the last barrier to completion! Our moods lifted and this drove our attention from the foot pain!

We thankfully reached the end post a few seconds under the 15hr mark! We were proud of our time, but couldn’t wait for our beds.

A great achievement….but a painful memory of the crossing!!!


Dave Draper and Alun Denbury


Lyke Wake Walk Crossing Report. 11th August 2022.

With regret, I have to report the crossing of three unfortunate souls on the 11th of August, 2022. This Walk had been long planned memorial walk, with two of us spreading our father’s ashes, and it was with some concerned that we eyed the weather forecasts that seem to creep up and up as the day came closer.

The group consisting on the Paul Shurman, Emma Baillie, and Conor Eaton-Smith departed the car park near Cod Beck Reservoir at 2:30 am on the sub-optimal foundation of one and a half hours sleep.

The early going across Live Moor and Carlton Bank was good, the temperature a cool 17 degrees, and we made the passage in darkness, only potentially disturbing the peace of the moor by shouting “Gully” periodically. We met our very able support, Rachael Chaffer, who furnished us with tea, coffee, and porridge.

At this stage spirits were high and we headed up to Busby Moor and Hasty Bank – enjoying the sun rise over Teeside, and belting out “Radio Ga Ga” as we passed through Blowwoth Crossing. The sun was getting up as we headed down the dismantled railway – not losing too much morale as the route followed the contours as we reached the Lion. Stopping for much needed pints of Pepsis’ and ice, sandwiches and scampi fries we felt refreshed and ready to move on, feeling sure that we had broken the back of the route. Alas this hubris was swiftly rewarded by the 2000 W Sun lamp that would be our ever-present companion for the next 10 hours.
The Sun mostly definitely had it’s hat on and was definitely coming out that day. On the march from the Lion, the sun was oppressive, and we tried to cover the road portion of the route quickly as possible. The bogs were spongey and generally kind, albeit One did manage to place a right foot in the wet stuff, which managed to be quite refreshing. We met our stalwart supporter just before Hamer, and trying to find any shade we can, 3 bodies taking cover behind a Ford Fiesta, and what was becoming a startingly regular occurrence, refilled our water supplies and did personal admin.

Blisters treated, and mainlining a combination of Tangfastics, Candy Kittens, and Maoam, we then set off across possibly the most miserable part of our crossing across Wheedale Moor. With no clear direct path, we carefully picked our way through the heather, cursing the stones and turns which seemed to prevent the team from every getting a head of steam. When we finally made it to Eller Beck, we were in pieces, taking what shade was possible, which appeared to be inside the wheel arch of the faithful Ford Fiesta.

After downing drinks, refilling water, taking on salt in the form of crisps and peanuts, finally have a quick cry we set off on the last 8 miles or so. Passing RAF Fylingdales, which hadn’t demoralised us as much as we had thought – our sore feet took us to Lilla Howe, where we rested in sight of the radio mast, which would prove to be a spectacularly unfunny joke, as it would dip behind hills or appear to get smaller, but never, ever get any bigger. The path to Jugger Howe was torture on our tired feet, and much of the time was spent trying to avoid the metalled path where possible.

With one last push, we conquered Jugger Howe, with the sun just starting to abate its fiery gaze, and with a few tears again, soldiered on to the trig point, with only one close encounter with the A171, as one should really look right as well as left before crossing.

Finally we reached the Trig point by the radio mast at approximately 20:15, put on some definitely natural and not at all forced smiles, and then collapsed for a few minutes, bitterly regretting the assertion made at Eller Beck that we’d be able to walk the extra mile to the Raven Hall Hotel.

Emma and Conor scattered their Father’s ashes overlooking Robin Hood Bay, and then the group hobbled their way back to the hotel, negotiating by phone with the Kitchen to ensuring that there were hot chips, sandwiches, and ice cold Pepsis available, for an Ice Cold In Alex moment, a film which the author was disgusted to find out that the rest of the group hadn’t even been aware of it…
Two special notes – if it was not for Rachael Chaffer, the crossing would not have been achievable on that day. Her constant support and encouragement were essential to getting our three weary bodies to Ravenscar, alive in any case. For an indication of how hot it was, the group between us, drank 22 litres of water. Secondly, Paul Shurman, who is only too happy to admit to having done no significant preparation for the walk, struggled gamely on, despite the heat and the distance, showing true grit and determination, and managed to get all the way to the end, and then fell asleep in the bathtub.

With this successful crossing report, we request the membership of the LWW Club.

Sorrowful Regards

Conor Eaton-Smith

Crossing 06th August 2022. Dirgers: Stuart Hodgkinson, Ed Paxton, Stuart Wilkinson

After a lengthy and complex logistical exercise to leave a car at the end of the walk, and to deposit a small cache of provisions where it would be probably needed later in the day, we started out from the Osmotherley end car park at about 7am. An obliging passing walker took a snap for us, photo-bombed by his dog.

Conditions were perfect, warm but not overly hot; and after a dry spell the going underfoot was firm even in the boggy bits. The first quarter was a complete joy for all – varied walking with great views towards Teeside to the north, happily chatting away and all feeling good, the miles just slid by easily.
However, reaching the old railway line was a definite transition point. Whilst it makes perfect sense for railway engineers to hug the contours of Farndale Moor, for us walkers weaving left and right of our intended direction so much of the time felt frustrating. The compacted cinder was quite hard on the feet; and we were very relieved to reach the comforts of the Lion Inn at around 1pm for a much-appreciated lunch in the garden.
I munched thoughtfully on my baked spud looking ruefully at the tiny white cheese grater in the distance, RAF Fylingdales, wondering how far/how long? Setting off for the first mile or so in completely the wrong direction was also a tad irritating, but we soon loosened up and struck off into the seemingly infinite moorland. At this time of year the heather was all in flower and to be fair, it looked glorious for mile after mile.
The old cliché was true, Fylingdales never seemed to get much closer – looking like a giant trig point teasing and beckoning. Ed and Stuart H had both wisely prepared for the LWW by doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks in the last couple of weeks. I had done no prep and was winging it on the day. The constant pounding on my feet was beginning to hurt more and more, and I gradually slowed and started falling behind. Crossing Wheeldale was my definite low point. I’m starting to suffer and there’s still over 15 miles to go. But then I remembered I’d got some paracetamol in my first aid kit and stopped to dig out a couple of painkillers. Once they’d kicked in they definitely helped, and I was able to pick up a better pace again.

The day before, we had questioned the wisdom of secreting a package near a sensitive military base. But on reaching Eller Beck bridge we were very glad of the bag containing some bottles of water, cans of tuna, nuts and dried fruit for an impromptu feed station. Evening was drawing in, the midges were up, and whilst refuelling we discussed the route ahead and whether a sensible course of action would be to bale out at this point. The quitting options were not great logistically, and by my reckoning we only had about 8 miles left to go, with a warm clear night ahead of us. So we agreed to saddle up and press on.
Thankfully the navigation was clear and easy as the light faded, and the terrain became more forgiving. 10k left to go = two park runs was a nice virtual milestone up on Fylingdales Moor. Somewhere down below near Whitby we caught sight of a fireworks display to serenade our progress. We left off the headtorches for as long as possible to use night vision, but in the end they became essential. Even the half-moon had set by now. Walking endlessly into a small whitewashed pool of light in the silent darkness was a faintly zen-like experience, punctuated by checking progress and course on my phone.

With great relief, we finally reached the finishing post at just after midnight. 15 hours 17 minutes of walking time; about 17 hours in total. I’m writing this a day and half after we finished, and my legs are still stiff! But the sense of accomplishment is great, and the mutual support among fellow adventurers is a big part of what makes life so wonderful. Well done guys – you are the best of friends.

30.07.2022 Crossing Report…One Foot In Front of the Other…Repeat!

I would like to report the successful crossing from Osmotherley to Ravenscar, by myself Michael Elliott, and my best mate Shaun Richards, on 30th of July 2022.

Shaun and I are not your typical athlete types who I imagine usually take on this challenge. I think it’s fair to say we are both built for comfort not speed. We weren’t really walkers although we did hike a bit when we were kids. We are both 41 now! A very rare positive of the Covid pandemic was that we started meeting once a week for a walk, when rules allowed it. They were a good chance to catch up, have a chat and get some exercise. These walks were usually only about 3 miles, but they did start creeping up to 5 or so. So how did we go from this to successfully completing the Lyke Wake Walk? Well I’m blaming my mother in law!

During February half term me and my better half Catherine had had a great day hiking from Ravenscar along the cliff tops to Robin Hood’s Bay where we ate our pack ups, then headed back to Ravenscar along the old railway line. A lovely walk of about 8 miles or so. The next day we happened to be having lunch at the in-laws Steve & Sylvia, and we were telling them about our walk. Sylvia said “That’s very impressive….but you know we have done the Lyke Wake Walk…”. The seed was sewn.

At our next weekly walk I brought it up with Shaun. He was keen. Before we knew it our weekly walks were spent mostly discussing the LWW, when we would do it, what we would need to prepare, what time we would set off and most importantly what would we take in our bait!

We planned on doing some decent hikes to prepare, but as mentioned we are novices, not exactly great with a map and compass, we decided the best training would be to break the walk down into sections and do each section so we would know where to go and what to expect when we eventually took on the full LWW. If any other novices are reading this, I would really recommend doing this as it was great preparation.

Our first practise walk was from Osmotherley to Clay Bank car park. This 10-mile section is surely the hardest section of the walk and almost killed us. We were exhausted when we finished, safe to say the big climbs had really taken it out of us! The full 40 mile crossing seemed a long way off!

We trained for it over a series of weekends by also walking from Clay Bank to The Lion, then The Lion to Ellerbeck, then Ellerbeck to Ravenscar. Then we did Osmotherley to The Lion, and then The Lion to Ravenscar. When we didn’t have as much time we also did a couple of walks from Lord Stones Cafe over to Clay Bank and back just to get the climbs in the legs and try to demystify the hills that had terrorised us on our first practise! These section training walks were great prep but the admins of driving to end point, leaving a car there then driving back to the start, then repeating it when we finished was a bit of a chew on.

We had decided that we would take on the LWW on Saturday July 30th. Two weeks before this we had another hike from The Lion to Ravenscar. This turned out to be a scorching hot day. When I got home I was shocked to see the biggest blisters I had ever seen, one on each foot. The next few days I could hardly walk, they were so painful. It meant we had to cancel our last 2 planned training walks. The blisters didn’t seem to want to go and I was getting very worried. It was really looking like we were going to have to postpone.

However, we were doing this to raise funds for two charities that were very close to our hearts, Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Encephalitis Society. We were over the moon to have raised £2,500 thanks to the incredible generosity of our friends, families, and colleagues. We’d had so many well wishes and support that we just had to go for it!

On the day my Dad very kindly picked me up at 5am then we picked up Shaun, and after lots of chat about how we had hardly slept the night before, he got us to the start stone for about 5:50am

After the obligatory photos by the start stone we were off, starting with the climb straight up to the top of the moor, we were a bit shocked about how tough we had found this, lots of grumbles about how pointless this bit is, why couldn’t we just walk along the road to the gate by the cattle grid!?

We soon got into our rhythm though and were very pleased that we managed the next big climb without stopping or needing oxygen!

We were lucky that the weather had been great for all of our practise hikes, but today we had run out of luck. We hadn’t even thought about or discussed walking it in the rain but on the day it pretty much rained for 39 of our 40 miles! This slowed us up a fair bit through the day as the rocks and stone paths were all very slippery meaning extra time and care had to be taken. Amazingly though we only had one fall during the day but a fair few near misses!

The training paid off as we got through the difficult Carlton Bank to Clay Bank section without too much trouble, helped by a quick stop at the Wainstones for one of Catherine’s legendary homemade chocolate chip cookies! Around this time, we also got a lift thanks to a couple of voice notes from Shaun’s lovely kids Bethan & Samson “Come on Daddy you can do it, just another 15 hours to go!” Another 15 hours? E the cheeky little scamp. Turned out she was an excellent judge!

We negotiated the very slippery descent down to clay bank, over the road and straight up the steep climb up Carr Ridge on Urra Moor. We rewarded ourselves with a quick ham bun stop on the bench at the top. We then got a bit of pace up on the old railway line section to The Lion. We predicted we would get to the Lion about 2pm but we got there at 1:30pm, we were really chuffed with this.

Luckily my Mam & Dad must have had faith in us because they were already parked in the car park waiting for us, Catherine was also with them which was a really nice surprise. Just as we were saying hello my brother John and 11-year-old nephew Jack pulled into the car park too to wish us well. Seeing them all and getting their support gave us such a boost! My Mam is the ultimate feeder and had brought a mighty feast along and it was really great to have a cup of tea! A kind passer-by took a photo of us altogether which will be a nice reminder of the day and the great support we had. We ended up stopping for about half an hour here which was probably a bit longer than we had planned but it was just so nice seeing them all we didn’t want to dash off. Just as we were about to get going again Jack said to me “Uncle Mike you should run the last few miles!” bless him, he had more belief in me than I did, I was fully expecting to be crawling the last few miles.

Refreshed we set off again, giving Fat Betty a wave as we passed by. The next section is not my favourite, through the peat, it had rained so much we were dreading this part but to be fair it wasn’t as bad as we expected and we got through it ok.

Next onto the Blue Man i ‘th’ Moss. We were starting to think he had gone for a day out as we were sure we would have got to him sooner, leading to us repeating the catchphrase of the day “I don’t remember this bit being this long!” We did get to him eventually though, a quick pic with him then a
little break on the rock beside him while we devoured the excellent Cornish pasties my Mam had given us. The heavens really opened now and it tanked down. We were used to being rained on by now though and just kept on scoffing.

Next my least favourite section, down through the steep ravine through the by now soaking bracken to the stepping stones at Wheeldale Beck. It was a treacherous descent and by the time we got to the bottom my boots were soaking. We crossed over the stepping stones and that horrible boggy bit. Then the climb up the other side that I hate. Shaun seems to always fly up it though and he took the lead up here giving me lots of encouragement.

We each have a climb that we really hate and this is mine. Shaun’s is one of the lung busters in the section between Carlton Bank and Clay Bank. We kept ticking the climbs off though, we reckoned there are 7 really big climbs and we kept counting them down. When we got to the top of this one it was 6 down 1 to go. Through all the training and on the day we had the motto “One foot in front of the other and repeat!” this mantra kept us going through the day!

At the top I reluctantly had to take my boots off and get some dry socks on. I had not wanted to take my boots off at all but I had to. Sadly, part of the bandages keeping my blister plasters on also came off here but needs must.

We ploughed on towards the railway line comparing our aches and pains “Oof my right knee has just started to hurt, that’s a new one!”

Crossing the road at Ellerbeck we were pleased to be now starting what we knew as the 4th and final section.

This next part through Fylingdale was the only part where things went wrong. This was the third time we had walked this section, the first time we did it perfectly, the second time we went off course, and this time we did again and we aren’t really sure how. The first time we had joked about the military staff shooting us for getting too close to their base. We were now starting to think this wouldn’t be such a bad thing!

We had taken a different route the last couple of times and had convinced ourselves that we had gone miles off course. We tried going back along a fence to take us to where we thought we needed to be before realising this was also wrong and we had to go back where we had come from. By now it was starting to get dark, it was still raining, we were tired and probably weren’t thinking as straight as we should. We were confused and this was probably the only time our heads started to drop a bit. We decided to keep following the road/track that we had at first thought was taking us in the wrong direction. We reasoned that if we followed it, it must take us to a road that we could walk along it until we got back to where we needed to be.

We followed the track, it turned a corner and to our absolute delight and amazement there was the fabled five bar gate! The joy and relief at seeing it was immense! The buzz of it freshened up our legs and we were off again! We had lost quite a lot of time here but we were now back on track! We crossed the road and up to Lilla Cross. We took advantage of the brief moment of the rain stopping to take a quick pic of the nice sunset behind Lilla Cross.

We plodded on but it was now getting really dark. Shaun had been in pain with his Achilles all day and now also had a tight calf. We really hoped it wouldn’t go this close to home and luckily it didn’t.

We had wanted to delay stopping to put on our head torches until we had got up the other side of Jugger Howe ravine but this wasn’t an option. We got our head torches on and kept on going, one foot in front of the other and repeat. This section seemed different in the dark, we started wondering if we had gone off course again and somehow missed the ravine?! “This section seems longer than I remember!” but we got there. A quick swig of Lucozade at the top then we began the steep descent which was pretty tricky in the dark and wet (you guessed it, it was raining again!). We made it to the bottom without breaking our necks which was a good result. We crossed the little bridge and began the last of the really steep climbs. The first time we had done this it had really taken it out of me, but I had been delighted that the second time we had got up it no problem even having a laugh at where some joker had written “Ravenscar 20 miles” on one of the steps. This time we were going up in the rain and it was pitch black, which was maybe just as well as it meant we couldn’t see how far it was to the top!

We did make it to the top though and it was a relief to know that all the big climbs were now behind us!

Crossing the moor road (A171) felt great as we knew we were now well and truly on the home straight! We ploughed on at a surprisingly decent pace in search of the mast, which we started to think had also been moved!

But then there it was! We picked it up with our torches! What a feeling! We were almost there. Our good mate Benny had agreed to pick us up, he had spotted our torches and turned his car lights on to guide us home!

And there it was, the end stone! We had made it! What a relief and what a feeling!! We had a quick pic by the stone then piled into Benny’s car. He had very kindly brought us some cans of lager (and a load of cakes), we were going to have them by the stone to celebrate but by now the rain was so heavy we had to have them in the car instead, it didn’t matter, we had done it!!

We finished at 11:20 pm. Including our breaks and little unintentional detour we had done it in about 17 hours 25.

When we first talked about doing this we had aimed to do it in between 18 and 20 hours, then as we did more training we dared to dream of doing it between 16 & 17 hours. In the end we were really pleased with our time considering our injuries and the conditions, but to be honest we were never that bothered about the time we did it in, we just wanted to complete it and we were really proud of ourselves that we had!

I’m in no position to give anyone advice on how to do the Lyke Wake Walk but if I can give any advice it would be this, try to walk it with your best mate! We had really spurred each other on and kept each other going. Without having to say anything we had taken it in turns leading and setting the pace, this doesn’t sound much but it actually really helps. Most importantly we had a great laugh all day, at some points we were laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. It made a change from the hills making it hard for us to breathe!

Big thank you to everyone who sponsored us, helped us, and wished us well. My Dad and Benny went above and beyond with the lifts at either end of the day, my mam provided excellent supplies at the halfway point, and our support squad who came to cheer us on at the Lion, it was all a massive help!

I’m so glad that we did it! Writing this the next day, my feet are in bits and I can hardly walk, would I do it again? Absolutely not. Well not for a while anyway…