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….