Hail & Lightning – A Summer Crossing: Anne Singleton

Adam Race, Anne Singleton, Susan Hollis, Dave & Katy Reed, Bangers & Dave Willey

A mixed team from local firm, Les Race Builders. Raising money for Prostate Cancer UK.

The morning of the 15th July 2023 finally arrived with a 2.30am alarm for us all. A journey to the office to find Adam (the boss) putting a motivational video on Facebook, encouraging people to sponsor us (which they did) and what looked like luggage for 20 people going on their summer holidays. Everyone knew the forecast wasn’t great so there was plenty of changes of clothes, especially socks, towels, shoes etc. Fortunately, we knew we had a fantastic support crew with Les & Tina Race transporting all our gear & food to each checkpoint & to the end.

We arrived at Osmotherley ready to start at 4.08am. A bit of cloud but getting nice and light. One of the team had been getting fit at the gym and by swimming, but not much in the way of outdoor walking, so straight up the hill for him came as a bit of a shock. The ground was wet from the previous days rain. Everyone was excited and relieved to finally get started and there was much hilarity from the typical on site builders banter to get us up the first few hills and a lovely sunrise. We set off at a good pace and saw deer in Coalmire Plantation. Downhill to checkpoint 1 and a group was close on our tails. We never saw them again after checkpoint 1! Tea, bananas & flapjack for breakfast! Accidentally came across some camping toilets just after the checkpoint which was an added bonus. The cloud had started to come in on the top of Cringle Moor so we chose the lower route rather than the height of Wainstones. We saw some other people at high level but they soon disappeared into the mist! Very slippery descent down to checkpoint 2 by which time we were ahead of our schedule. More tea and other fantastic treats. Quarter of the way done in just under 4 hours.

A hard start to the next stage especially as the wind was getting up. We knew this would be a long and potentially tedious stretch especially following the old railway line. Weather was still ok at this point. Actually saw people for the first time. Two overtook us who had set off about 40 minutes after us but didn’t have the same luxuries at checkpoints. We would see them a couple more times on our respective journeys but they only finished about 1/2hr ahead of us eventually. We also met a large group heading the opposite way to us. They were also doing a charity walk but only half distance from Blakey Ridge to Osmotherley. Good job maybe as there were people in Crocs and white trainers! Looked very unprepared for the weather! A cheer was raised as we first saw the roof of the Lion Inn which meant nearly halfway and we were all still going strong. Sadly, the rain & hail started and we were very wet in a few minutes. This checkpoint at Rosedale Head was very welcome and we probably spent a little too long here.

We knew the bog was to come and with the weather not improving we set off with some trepidation as to just how wet this section would be. Some of us had done this section in early June and it was almost totally dry. Sadly not today, though it could have been much worse. By the next checkpoint (Hamer) we felt we had been sandblasted on our right hand side from the hail. The lightning was getting quite concerning as well.

Although not an official stop we had an extra stop at the next road crossing (Wheeldale). We needed to dry out! We were met by a BBQ in the back of a van. What more could you want? Umbrellas trying to protect the food & the support crew were almost turned inside out by the wind. More friends turned up which was great. Running repairs to feet were carried out and sausages enjoyed by all. This extra stop was most welcomed, but probably cost us some time. Down to the stepping stones was very slippery and slow for a couple of us but we powered on and the sun did come out for a time. We could see Fylingdales in the distance and the main road and knew we would be joined by more friends at the next checkpoint on the A169 (very busy road) so this kept us going. We heard the train as we approached the railway crossing point and the sun was out. At this point we thought we might make it to the end without any more rain. How wrong we were. We meet a group of teenagers as we continued past Fylingdales. They were totally in the wrong direction for where they needed to be. Hopefully they got to Goathland ok. Having gained a team member we crossed the moorland which was very wet and climbed up to Lilla Cross and saw the sea for the first time at approx. 35 miles. The mast and therefore the end of clearly visible, though the clouds were rolling in behind us. The euphoria of knowing we were nearly there didn’t last as the rain came again & again, but with it came some beautiful rainbows – every cloud has a silver lining. This section seemed to go on forever and the mast didn’t get any nearer. The last descent was very slippery, and the last climb felt like climbing Everest, but we all kept going.

Onto the last checkpoint for more tea, and the disappointing fact you can no longer see the end. The male members of the team decided they had to finish first so marched on ahead. Initially we all went to touch what we thought was the end but was in fact a Trig point. We all ran to the actual stone and finished in 14hrs 37 minutes. Considering we thought it would be nearer 16hrs we were very happy especially as the moving time was 12hrs 49.

Great day with the key for us being the amazing support. We had some very sore feet with blisters, but we think that was made worse by the water running down our legs into our shoes. There were two team members that had pushed it too hard and didn’t feel great at all at the end. Fortunately, that didn’t seem to last too long.

We made it to Fawlty Towers, sorry Raven Hall Hotel, which is convenient but very pricey.

We used the guidebook for all our navigation.

Lots of money raised for a great charity.

Getting ready for another attempt next year….

Quarter Century Celebrations!: The Tyler Family

Date – 13th July 2023

Start from Osmotherley – 4:45

Finish at Ravenscar – 21:14

Total time – 16 hours 29 minutes

Walking time – 14 hours 35 minutes

Idiots crossing – Jane Tyler (several previous crossings last century), Ella Tyler (first timer), Julie Bushell (our valiant leader)

Support – Gerry Orchard, Barry Tyler

What better way to mark your quarter of a century by crossing the Lyke Wake with family and friends …! That was Ella’s idea some time ago. Not sure she was still thinking it such a good idea when the alarm went at 3.04am on 13th July…. nor when we had done a few miles and the feet began to pulse and the knees began to ache and the enormity of what we had signed up for sunk in? Julie kept us informed throughout the day with interesting facts and snippets of information about the route and Gerry’s jokes got worse and worse at each checkpoint. This kept our minds occupied when the body began to object.

We met several groups of walkers on the railway doing DofE hikes and the Coast to Coast. It was good to see some other humans and say hello. We then started noticing empty pistachio cases along our track which proved others were mad enough to attempt the same rout e and had completed it ahead of us. Those empty shells were a great marker for our weary feet and a brilliant in depth conversation topic which kept us entertained for miles!!! We have even been prompted to go out and buy some of our own!

The weather was kind – dry all day and not too hot which was a welcome relief for the two southerners after a few weeks of London heatwave.

We took the Old Margery route and so had to return to sample the food and beverages at the Lion Inn after we had recovered a little the next week.

Barry joined us from Hamer House to Wheeldale as he was wearing his new blue jacket and said he wanted to be a real “Blue Man in th’ Moss”. He certainly looked the part. At the Ellerbeck car park we enjoyed wonderful cakes and pastries that our support team had bought on route and this fuelled us for the last stage. After deciding to wash her right foot in a stream with her shoe still on, Ella plodded onwards across Fylingdales happily telling everyone that the idea of this birthday walk had been totally ridiculous. We were so pleased to see Gerry and Barry at the top of Jugger Howe and we thought that they were with the support car…….this was not the case as they had walked westwards to meet us and thought we would be pleased. We struggled to plod onwards until we reached the layby and then after a break of about 60 seconds, Ella announced that she wanted to get it over with quickly…and decided to charge ahead with an energy we could not believe. This inspired Julie and Jane to jog to catch her up so we all finished with a “sprint finish” to reach the LWW stone together after our epic journey.

The wheelchair Gerry kindly got ready for Ella many years ago, although the cause of this ridiculous escapade, was miraculously not needed !



Sludge and Christmas Trees: Dean Owens

First 10 mile didn’t enjoy driving wind rain into the side of our heads got lost on the Wainstones nearly died.
Dried off at our pit stop on Clay Bank. In good spirits – head torches on and up Urra Moor. We enjoyed that bit then the sheep’s eyes flashing at us got me pappy and them little raptor birds attacking us.
The long desolate train track was enjoyable able to walk together and have a craic. Get to Blakey; strip off, food, drink, vaseline our thighs then the next few mile very enjoyable bouncing on that moss lovely for our feet and both having a laugh. Hit the blue marsh on the map that’s when it took a turn for the worst dropping into knee high bog feet squelching for miles wading through shite.
Seen another few lads doing the walk who had the tunes on which give us the idea to put some on which lifted spirits bit of Jlo and after 7 miles of sludge and Christmas trees we had our final and my favourite pit stop. Fresh socks, dry our boots & another bailey concoction of sudocrem vaseline and talc and we were off again. In good spirits for another mile or so until we hit the head high heather after both going arse over tit we where finally at the bottom crossed the stepping stones then both went ankle deep into a stream which annoyed us so wet feet for the remainder of the trip.
After squelching up the ravine we got to the RAF base where it sticks you on a path makes you come off the path through moss bog and shite only to put you back on the path. We finally see the mast in the distance. 5 miles to go – the path is never ending the mast looks like a mirage then after a few miles we notice the final ravine both our hearts sunk managing to get down and back up it we where on the home straight and managed to make it to the finish line but not content with that we walked another 1.5 mile to the pub.
Absolute killer of a walk but an amazing sense of achievement after it.
Dean and Lee started at 20:00 on the 14/07/23 and completed the walk in 17hrs 50 mins

Outrunning the Rain: Ben Rowe

Myself and Bob began from Cod Beck car park at 0409hrs, intending to finish in around 14 hours.

The morning was clear and bright with a steady southerly breeze We reached Lion Inn after around 7 hours, we didn’t go in, just stopped for a snack by the road and continued.
On the turn off from the Rosedale road (Boggy Section) we found the ground pleasantly firm and spongy. Our soles were getting hot at this point so we removed our shoes and had a happy half hour cooling our feet and enjoying the occasional fresh foot baths bubbling up through our toes.
Refreshed, we went slightly wrong crossing the road after leaving Hamer. A gate with ‘Lyke Wake’ and an arrow, was open, leading us along a stone wall for a while until we realised and yomped cross moor to the correct path.
 The wheel date section was sparse and difficult, compounded by the rain showers that dampened us occasionally.
Bob began struggling with muscle cramps, so we slowed the pace slightly. At Fylingdales, half a mile in to the section after Eller Bridge, his legs locked, so he took the decision to return to the road and hitch a lift to Scarborough.
I continued on my own as the weather closed in. At Lilla Cross, driving horizontal rain and fog reduced the visibility to 50m. I ran most of the downhill as the rain got heavier. The final section, over the Whitby Road to the finish, was daunting, with burial mounds looming out of the mist. I ran as much as I could of this whole section. I caught sight of the radio mast only as I stepped on to the road at the finish.
A exhilarating experience that I will repeat. The 12:33hrs moving/ 13:40 overall time flew by.
Ben Rowe (Hong Kong, but from Osmotherley)

From Here To Eternity: Graeme Noble

Date: July 2nd 2023 July 3rd 2023 (6.22am)
Dirger: Graeme Noble
Start: (Cote Ghyll Mill) Timed from Lyke Wake Stone, above Cod Beck Reservoir
Time: 20 hours 50mins 9 seconds (the last four hours from here to eternity)
Moving Time: 19 hours 25 minutes 9 seconds
Weather: extremely blustery, with one heavy shower at the beginning of the walk, becoming cold and windy but good visibility throughout and some sun and warmth but mostly cold conditions throughout
Temperature: overall cold, like hell had frozen over
I survived! to tell the tale…
This was my first attempt at the Lyke Wake crossing and hopefully there will be a second report in August of this year when I attempt a further walk with my brother in law, Mark Harris.
I had been thinking of making a crossing for nearly forty years but never got around to it. The intervening years of study, work, eating cakes, drinking coffee (sometimes beer and wine) and looking after cats, getting married, moving around the country and making homes had taken the initiative of making the effort to do the LWW. Yet, when I read the alternative ending to Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk I felt the need and challenge to do the forty miles or so from Osmotherley to my final resting place of the Raven Hotel, Ravenscar.
So, I purchased a head torch with two surplus batteries, took my two cycling torches with me (just in case anything should go wrong) and installed my wife in the hotel with strict instructions of no intervention. As she used to play in Hull City Youth Orchestra her vista was going to be Scarborough during the day and revisiting youthful memories as that was where she’d played violin many years ago.
I thank the Cooperative store in Helmsley for supplying me with four packs of chicken and bacon sandwiches in their meal deal and which kept me clucking along during the walk. My skin texture has changed to that of a cooked piece of chicken (however, that is another story for another place in a science magazine). I also thank the staff at the Lion’s Inn for preparing me a tasty Jam Roly Poly with custard (more of that later).
I started walking earlier than I had planned to. This was due to a snory beast at the YHA. The walls amplified and made real the sense of impending doom, death and potential destruction of my psyche. However, after the third episode of chronic hearing indigestion I got out of bed at 4.50am, showered, dressed and put on the clothes that I had considered best for my Wake. Locked out of the room I made my way to the kitchen to make up my flask, fill my rucksack with sandwiches and fruit and get the water bottles filled. I had considered that if I was going to go down in a bog I needed that extra bit of weight to keep me there.
The walk around the right hand side of Codbeck reservoir produced hundreds of froglets jumping across the path in front of me and I walked slowly and on tip toe not to offend any reincarnated witches or wizards that may have been passing me by. So, I got to the LWW trail stone and started to count down from 23.59.59 on my watch timer. At first it was dry and the weather seemed to be promising what the BBC app had suggested. Cloudy but dry. Not to be. It began to rain. Having walked in the Lake District when it starts to rain I was tempted to get the waterproofs on but the area of Coalmire and Clain Woods beckoned and I largely managed to miss the downpour. Rain falling on leaves and branches has always had a calming effect on me. When the drops hit dead centre on the head other thoughts come to. But I’ll leave that thinking out here and you the reader can fill in the gaps. After this it was bone dry and became warm for a while but on Carlton Bank the wraith clouds, found in the Lord of the Rings movies (the ones with the curving fingers) beckoned a further bout of rain and the wind blew in and accompanied me for the rest of the walk. Quite tiring. One moment the clouds went towards Roseberry Topping, the next moment they were spiralling into me and then they passed by behind. Dry.! Then for twenty seconds or so when all had become calm they poured down onto me. The Wainstones were no protection. So I got the top out and it stopped raining! I wasn’t amused but it helped to give me a pause which I took for a breather.
And the walk continued, the incessant length of the railway above Carr Ridge to the Lion Inn provided great views if quite cold and the windiness rustling through heathers and grasses sounded like a multitude of snakes hissing. I had been reading about new snakes found in the English countryside complimenting our humble adder and the snarling tongues of speech accompanied me until well past Rosedale Head. Quite a lengthy journey with no silence to contemplate the beauty of the place. The views of each dales head are splendid in summer when the weather is kind. On Saturday late morning through to early afternoon the walk became difficult due to the strength of the gale.
Looking at my photos of the walk I realise that there are not any of me. Not even a selfie. I was on a mission to complete the walk and snapping photos was somehow a luxury but I’m glad I have those from 10pm onwards. A local photo (i.e. only of the area visible) gets the monument/stone but the longer views went from 10pm. A little cloud, overcast and the head torch went on. But I’m jumping forward.
After Bloworth Junction I came across a spread of three Coast to Coast walkers and the weather had certainly finished off the last person in the group. She wondered how far the Inn was as she wanted a cup of tea. I offered her peppermint but she wanted something stronger. So did I! but not until the end of the walk. Eventually I saw the red roof of the Lion Inn and knew that there was about a mile to go. Being coherent is a matter of energy level for me (health issue switches off my speech) and when I walked into the public area I looked for a table with a number on it. However, a women, being kind in her own way, thought I needed the toilet and beckoned me right to the gents. Like Brett, from Gone with the Wind, I said, ‘it’s not a toilet I want but a cheesecake and a pot of Earl Grey’, thanking her for her support in regards to the workings of parts of the body that had ceased to exist at that time.
At the bar I ordered Lemon Cheesecake (without looking at the menu) and came away with Jam Roly Poly. A product that was enjoyed but by this time my voice was hoarse and the chap behind the bar probably heard Jam Roly Poly with additional custard. A carbohydrate hit was needed and in any case cheesecake wasn’t on the menu. I don’t recommend the chocolate sundae there, when I ordered one, three weeks previously I received plain vanilla ice cream with chocolate bits. Perhaps there’s a food demon following me about?
So, with a thirty minute break and my having lost total coherence through my voice going, the stressors of 20 miles catching up with me and my body feeling like it was travelling at two speeds I put the rucksack back on and left the premises (after actually using the toilet on the right). The wind was still accompanying me and I as I walked up to Fat Betty, passing Old Margery and taking a look at Young Ralph’s Cross I’m sure I saw my shadow passing me by and asking why, why are you doing this, or was that the sensible voice of my wife?
Anyhow, I carried on and got my pace back up to a reasonable speed. The LWW stone pointed outwards to me and beckoned me onto or into the bogs. Fortunately, global warming has had a positive impact on the walking experience concerning dry feet and due to the dry June weather conditions the bogs (over the next five miles or so) were mainly dry. I’m not sure about the benefits for the local tundra but the landscape reminded me of the scenery above Orton (without the chocolate shop) and my next stop was at Hamer House. I had wanted to do this section in light and here I was doing it in light. Now, I felt kindly towards the hoary snorer.
Here I was walking through interminable, yet beautiful heather, waiting to be bitten by an adder. Occasionally there was the cry of bird song but then the appearance was caught in the wind and lost. Occasional tufts of cotton grass suggested watery pools to be missed. Indeed, there was little water and the stream’s dry running was concerning for the future of the wet landscape. From the point of turning off to walk through the bogs I never met another person until the hotel at Ravenscar. Even traffic was heard and initially not seen but as darkness descended lights would shoot around me and in front of me. Will of the Wisp? At Hamer House I ate my last chicken and bacon sandwich. From now on it was apples, water and peppermint tea. Mainly water from midnight.
I found the section of walk from Blue Man I ‘th’ Moss next to Wheeldale Plantation to be very depressing with the constant noise of the wind, writing this I wonder if the souls of the locals who have parted this way are in turbulence due to climate change? But, carrying on I eventually stopped above the ravine leading down to the stepping stones. Here I had my first apple and applied Savlon to the underside of my left foot toes. Also, placing padding around bits and pieces of both feet. It was still sunny and I knew that I had to move out of my sheltered spot returning to the ever so windy reality that I had managed to escape for 20 minutes or so.
It was hard to raise myself and walk down to the steppingstones crossing Wheeldale Beck, a place I had frequented many times with my wife’s family. I remembered that on those very stones my wife’s mother had fallen many years ago cutting herself badly. I took no risks (mind the beck was low) and jumped across safely onto ground that was wetter than the bog area. Very squelchy. My pace improved again after Simon Howe and I was half sad that no trains came past as I moved upto Eller Beck and of course Fylingdales. Quite a sinister place. As a youth I remember the tennis balls but I’m still not acclimatised to the pyramid. A red light beckoned me onwards from the pyramid and I saw the sun leave me, a warm moon began to accompany me and for me night began to fall and the torch was switched on. This section through to the end of the LWW presented the most difficult challenges. I’m sure I heard voices and movements of little people. But, the sound may have been the gurgling of the beck. This stage of the walk I found difficult to navigate and relied on my Garmin to get me through until the gate onto the moors and the path to Lilla Cross. The main monuments on the moor footpaths I saw, the surrounding scenery was focused shadows of trees and I’m sure someone or something was out there talking and accompanying me. Just after Lilla Howe my head torch switched itself off. There’s nothing quite like that in pitch black to sharpen the senses of being by oneself and being alone. Carefully I took my rucksack off opened the top zip and hunted for a cycle torch and then finding it decided to have my last cup of tea, some water and put the last apple into my trouser pocket for later. Setting up my head torch again was quite a task as it wouldn’t respond. And getting the small bulb to work was a bonus. But, the cycle torch I found had a better beam. At this stage a determination had set in to finish the walk at any cost. The cost was Jugger Howe Ravine. Here I found that the initial path down onto the placed pavement footpath was quite slippery and sheer. So, putting on gloves I clambered down on my bottom. There was a determination to do the walk. And, I should imagine that the surrounding scenery in daylight is beautiful. Later there were a number of parked caravans before the A171 so civilisation was returning but at 1am nobody was out apart from me.
The last section to the trig point, the finishing stone and Beacon Howe is still remembered as something surreal. An amber light beckoned me and yet it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. The walk over Stony Marl Moor seemed to be incessant and I had a notion that the locals were moving the beacon into the sea luring me to a watery exit. The next moment the beacon is there in front of me and I’m underneath, the trig point is to my right and there in front of me is the LLW stone I’ve been seeking out and latterly searching for. I’ve arrived at the destination (well, the walk sort of ended here for me as tarmac encroached onto the moor) and accompanied me to the hotel. Mission accomplished…or was it.
At the hotel I wasn’t allowed to proceed beyond the entrance. It was sort of fair as I could have been anyone and I understood the issues of safety and security that the two men at the desk were talking of. The senior man (in age) explained his stance of how before in another position he had allowed a man in to a room who said he was meeting his partner and he had eventually trashed the room. I’ve worked with issues of safeguarding most of my working career. But, what came to mind is that of Kate (my partner) not kindly be taken to minding to be woken up if she’s asleep and the is c2.30ish am. The duty man couldn’t find my name on the resident list, fortunately, I was carrying the information required. And, then the call to the room, the reply and me being followed and directed to the lift. So, there was more excitement from the big people in the hotel than the little people outside. I suppose he had a job to do but I could have been running a bath and making a drink 15 minutes earlier. The celebratory drink would wait until Whitby in the afternoon. Kate said come in, went back to bed after congratulating me with the comment, ‘when you didn’t ring after 9pm I knew that you were going to finish by yourself.’ 36yrs of marriage has produced aspects of understanding that even still surprise me. It was good to have arrived, finally!
Many thanks and best wishes

A Tantalising View

Dear LWW Club,

On Saturday 24-Jun-23 we set off from the YHA in Osmotherley at 0400 hrs.

David Shaw, Sarah Cantwell, Duncan Nicholas, Lauren Brodie, Michelle Brodie and Nancy Homer. (Manchester, Midlands, West Sussex)

I was confident that we would complete the crossing and be in Ravenscar in 14 – 15 hours time. We had amazing overcast moody skies for the first half of the walk and we made it to the pub in 8 hours. We  took the opportunity to refill our water bags and bottles and headed inside for a much needed cold drink. We stopped for about 30 minutes at the pub, where we talked to some friendly locals who wished us well.

The weather in the afternoon was relentless, with little cloud cover and the sun on our backs our hopes of speeding up for the 2nd half were dashed. The early warning radar station felt like it was moving further away with every step and it was a relief to dip our feet in the cooling waters of Wheeldale Beck before powering up the hill to the stone circle and some shade behind the stones.

The leg between the A169 to A171 and the finish was breath-taking and with the sun going down behind us and to the left, Lilla Cross gave us a tantalising view of the mast near the end.

We were on our feet for a little over 19 hours, moving time 15 ½  hours. A very long day, but what a huge sense of achievement.

Best wishes,


The Final 100 Yards Are The Longest…

Date: Saturday 24th June 2023
Dirgers: Emma Baillie, Conor Eaton-Smith
Start: Raven Hall Hotel
Finish: Lyke Walk Stone, Cod Beck Reservoir
Time: 16 hours 32 minutes
Moving Time: 13 hours 57 minutes
Weather: cloudy and windy at first, clearing to sunny and windy later, with a couple of light showers in between
Temperature: cool at first, becoming hotter than hell

I regret to inform you of our second Lyke Wake crossing.

My brother Conor and I made our first crossing on 12th August 2022, along with good buddy Paul Shurman, ably supported by Rachael Chaffer. Eventually the memories of the pain and anguish of that experience faded slightly, and so, for reasons that are still unclear to me, we decided to attempt a second crossing this year, but East to West. We agreed that June would be a good month: maximum daylight and the best chance of good weather. This time we were unsupported, but just in case, Conor left a stash of water, Lipton ice tea (peach and lemon flavours), and snacks just before the climb to Carlton Bank.

I had offered to drive us back to our start point and accommodation at Raven Hall Hotel after the walk – so the day before, I drove from Glasgow to Cod Beck and took a leisurely stroll round the reservoir whilst Conor languished in a traffic jam somewhere near Leeds; he was driving up from Bristol. Eventually he picked me up and we drove to Raven Hall in a funereal convoy of holiday traffic. On the way I made my first of countless anxious checks over the next two days that I had indeed safely zipped my car keys into my day sack.

We both managed some sleep, despite a rowdy wedding at the hotel, and set off as planned at 02:00. We scurried furtively down to the front door in our walking gear and head torches, feeling conspicuous among the handful of revellers still in high spirits downstairs. And then we were on our way, after a quick stop so I could check I definitely did pack the car keys.

At the mast, I took a picture of Conor by the stone, and we set off along the track, both inwardly questioning our life choices. No conversation between us: silence apart from the wind and the crunch of our boots on the path. By 03:00 it was already getting light, although still before sunrise. I heard the first sound of life at 03:30: a solitary skylark on Fylingdales Moor, which cheered me up immensely.

There’s definitely something to be said for tackling the ‘interminable featureless expanse’ section of the walk whilst still on relatively fresh legs. Unsurprisingly this bit felt much more comfortable than last time. A curlew circled, keeping an eye on us, and every so often a grouse would burst out of the heather, loudly complaining. The Fylingdales early warning station was behind us and we didn’t have to watch it stay the same size, though of course neither of us could resist looking over our shoulders every few miles to confirm that we could still see it.

We had a fine breakfast of hotel room coffee (thanks Conor) and Candy Kitten sweets sheltering next to a tumulus: the headwind was not particularly strong but was relentless. I checked that the car keys were still in my daysack. Onwards! More trudging. Some raggedy sheep and their lambs, getting big now. Everywhere the skylark’s piercing flight-song. Bright tufts of fluffy cotton-grass. Square patchworks of cut heather. A dead hare. And bog: medium bog this time, not springy and dried out like last August. I went ankle deep just once and it was quite refreshing. We had been walking for hours and I was dreaming about hot chocolate when Conor checked his map and estimated that the Lion was still at least six miles away. Why were we doing this, again?

Eventually we could see the Lion, tantalisingly near-but-far. As we approached, we met clusters of walkers coming the other way. Some stopped to chat and compare notes. One solitary walker was 81 and was making his annual traverse of the Coast to Coast, camping all the way. My hero. We got to the Lion at 11:00 and they were not serving food until 12 (Food Served All Day having a rather looser interpretation in the country) but we did manage to buy two delicious hot chocolates, one pint of Pepsi Max and two packets of Scampi Fries, which we supplemented with supplies from our daysacks. We sat in the garden whilst I took my socks and boots off, making involuntary groaning noises. The air on my feet was magic, as were the fresh socks, and the sun and wind dried out my boots in no time.

We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. We were over halfway, and although the hilly last section was looming large in both our minds, we were in reasonable shape, despite grumbles from tight hips (Conor) aching big toe joint (me) and sundry calf and quad niggles. As we set off along the old railway track, we were treated to a couple of refreshing showers, and then the clouds parted and we got our sun hats out. Now that we were on surfaced paths we chomped through the miles in short order, taking in the views, cheerfully greeting groups of walkers and the odd cyclist coming the other way. We had a break near the stone with the face on it and I took my boots and socks off again, ate half a bag of Candy Kittens and a packet of ready salted crisps, which Conor said was just as effective as the fancy electrolyte tablets I had brought, and certainly tastier.

The sun was hot, certainly, but the wind cooled us down. Were we… enjoying ourselves? We had plenty of water and still Conor’s stash before Carlton Bank, which we started to think we might not even need. Oh, the hubris.

At mile 29 or so, as we began our long descent of Round Hill on legs which were now starting to properly complain, the summits of Hasty Bank, Cringle Moor and Carlton Bank queued up ahead of us. The enormity of our task was becoming horribly clear. Now that we were out of the wind, the sun’s heat was oppressive and inescapable, and made hotplates of the flagstones. Every time I paused to catch my breath, I found myself stooping, hands on knees.

Before the climb up Hasty Bank we checked our maps and I saw that the suggested route on my phone app skirts round the peaks of Hasty Bank and Cringle Moor, keeping mostly to the tree line. It seemed kosher but also felt like cheating, especially as on our first (west to east) crossing, we had followed the Cleveland Way path, over all the tops. We decided to see how we felt after the climb to the fork in the path and make a decision then. If it hadn’t been so hot it might have gone another way – neither of us wanted to let the other down, and we agreed afterwards that if one of us had wanted to go over the tops, the other would have done it. But as things stood, we decided to leave the Wainstones and the stone sofa for our next crossing.

The trees provided sweet sheltering relief from the sun, until we reached a section where they’d all been cut down. The path was varied and undulating; even gentle inclines were becoming a struggle. We rejoined the Cleveland Way at the Lordstones, tramped through the camp site (trying not to stare longingly at the groups of guests having lovely leisurely drinks at umbrella-shaded tables outside the cafe). We found Conor’s stash across the road, which we now very much did need, and gulped down bottles of warm ice-tea. We took the ascent to the summit slowly, with lots of hands-on-knees resting. The walk from there to the next top and then winding down through the woods to Scugdale was increasingly laborious but relieved by the beauty of the scenery.

The last three miles were every bit as awful as they had been last time, in the other direction. There was a punishingly steep ascent through trees that we took at glacial speed. And then a final trudge along the road, me ahead, Conor behind. I had parked at the large car park which is maybe a hundred metres or so before the Lyke Wake Stone. I decided I didn’t need to actually touch the stone. The car called to me. I limped towards it, cursing every toe-throbbing step, found my keys, opened every door to let the heat out and started taking my boots off, which was difficult because my hands and fingers had stopped working. Conor’s voice: “Aren’t you going to the stone?” “No. I’m staying here now”. “Come on, it’s not that far”. “You go. I’m taking my boots off. I have NOTHING LEFT”. “Emma? Come on. Let’s go.” “Oh for f*ck’s sake. FINE”. I’d partially unlaced one boot and I just left it like that, laces trailing. We put our bags in the car and shambled up to the stone together. Conor took a picture of me touching the stone. He said he didn’t need a picture of him, and anyway, I’d taken one of him at the start stone. When we looked through the photos later, the one I’d taken of him was just a black square: I’d taken it at night with no flash.

Thanks Conor for persuading me to walk that last hundred metres, and I’m sorry I’m such a terrible photographer. Next year I’ll take a better one.