The Beauty Of This Barren Paradise

Its 2.30am, I am lying in my tent wide awake contemplating what the next 24 hours has in store.  Wondering whether 40 miles is perhaps a little too far, and whether I have been little too optimistic. Buoyed by crossing stories on, I make my way to the start point at Osmotherley for a 4.20am start, for today I am to become a Dirger.

I get off to a great start (3.5 mph+) up the first bank, and am greeted by thick mist and an army of sheep at the summit, which would become a mainstay of the route. It starts raining heavily. My trousers dampen and eventually become sopping wet. The start I would have liked? No. But only 38 miles to go…

I soldier on, up and down the Cleveland Way, with only passings of Highland cows for company. The thought of panoramic views over Middlesbrough keeps me going. Three hours pass and I pass my first fellow hiker. ‘It’s a wet one isn’t it’ he says. I arrive at the view point, only a thick sheet of mist lays before me.

I eventually reach the cinder track, the mist clears and the rain stops alas. I dry off rather quickly and make solid progress reaching the half way marker at the Lion Inn in 7 hours. Here I spot many sunken, weary faces. Were they as mad as me, I wonder?

Next was the ‘boggy section’ and boggy it was. Whilst rather boggy, it was also rather enjoyable. Albeit it was May, my condolences go to those crossing in the winter months.

To Fylingdales I flew via the picturesque ravine and stepping stones. These were hard miles which followed as the miles started to pass less frequently. A railway, a MOD base, a waterfall. These all kept my mind wandering as I wandered on.

As the walk drew to a close, I had nothing but adulation for it, and the beauty of this barren paradise. I marched on past the Lilla Cross and through the last ravine. The sun finally came out as I marched onwards towards the magical mast, finally reaching Ravenscar.

8.00pm. What a challenge. What a day.

Jonathan Sharp, 33, Scarborough