Crossing The Yorkshire Desert

I’d like to report a crossing of the fantastic Lyke Wake Walk.

Start time 9.55pm 16th June 2023
finish time 7.15pm 17th June 2023

21hrs 10 mins
Unsupported crossing: Barry Cooper & Chris Kitson.

We arrived in Osmotherley around 8.30pm on Friday 16th June packed the rucksacks with the essential supplies after a last minute decision on footwear we set off to Cod Beck Reservoir,  maps and guide books in hand.
After a brief photo call and we set off at 9.55pm on what was a beautiful summer evening, we walked till 11.45pm. Plan was to bivvy bag out on Carlton Moor and get an early start. We settled down looking at the bright lights of Middlesbrough. We misjudged how cold it would be so hardly any sleep was had and we were up an at ’em  at 4.15am.
A slice of Donna’s quiche and a glug of water and we were off for an epic day. We cruised over the Cleveland hills stopping around 7am to apply sun tan cream as it was scorchio already.
Next stop was breakfast on Round Hill around 8 ish. Just before the old railway line Chris’s feet fell out with him, blisters, the curse of any long distance walk. Remember the last minute footwear decision – luckily he brought his sandals. It was a game changer when it could have been game over.
We trudged down the railway line meeting a school teacher who was waiting for her pupils to get to the next checkpoint. We made Rosedale Head at about 10am. The first 5 kids from Scarborough College passed us at this point and disappeared off in the distance.
Glaisdale Moor and Wheeldale Moor will forever be known as “the Yorkshire desert”. It was hot, really hot and unlike many crossings not a sign of water or boggy areas. Here we spotted an Adder sunbathing on the peat paths – we held back while he moved on his way.
We really needed to find some water to sort our feet out. Luckily Wheeldale Beck answered our call, feet repairs done re fuel and 15.00 on the clock. We reached Simon Howe, saw Fylingdales and thought the end was in sight – how wrong we were.
Simon Howe to Lilla Cross was a real slog, feet and engine were holding out, shoulders from the heavy rucksack now starting to scream. We reached Lilla Cross and saw the beacon in the distance – we both looked at each … “that’s miles away”. On we battled what we really need now at 37 miles is Jugger howe ravine a steep descent then climb.
We did it – at the top a lady says “Only 2 miles to the Beacon”. Spirits lifted, we picked up speed crossing the A170 and on to Stony Marl Moor at this point Chris said “I think we’re gonna do this” – perfect timing with the end in sight.
We reached the final stone at 7.15pm, mission accomplished. What a day out.Congratulations to Chris for making the crossing 75% in sandals that took some will power. Never had a pint of cider & a Double Maxim tasted so good.
Has to be one of the toughest walks I’ve done.
Regards Baz Cooper