Owls, Frogs, Snakes and Nightjars: Graeme Noble & Mark Harris

Date: Tuesday 8th August (starting time [from the LWW stone at Cote Ghyll reservoir 4.30] – Wednesday 9th August 2023 [ending time 1.45]

Dirgers: Mark Harris & Graeme Noble 

Start: (Cote Ghyll Mill) Timed from Lyke Wake Stone, above Cod Beck Reservoir

Moving Time: 21hrs & 15 mins

Weather: wind conditions slight throughout, good visibility during daylight hours with some sun exposure and remaining dry during the walk 

Temperature: before sunrise – cool, throughout daylight – fairly warm, after sunset – chilly 

This walk was somewhat different in terms of weather and temperature I had completed by myself nearly a month ago. 

This time I thank the Sainsburys store in Northallerton for supplying me with food for the walk (previous day purchase). Again, I clucked (chicken) and snorted (bacon) along the way until the Lion Inn Hotel and then again afterwards. 

Mark, like myself had always wanted to attempt the walk in an earlier life and this was his attempt with me. This was my second sortie with a solo third attempt (east to west) on the 22 August 2023 from Ravenscar Hall Hotel. Mark’s wife, Sue, was our backup and I have to say hot coffee, tea, black pudding and sausage rolls followed by Mr Kipling Bakewell Cakes were well received along the way. Sue drove many miles that day to satiate stomachs. I will decidedly miss this input later in August on the east to west attempt.

With commiserations and condolences, Mark and I began walking from the YHA at Cote Ghyll in somewhat dark skies but were offered a few gifts on the way to our LWW starting point; a beautiful tawny owl or barn owl perched on a fence post very calmly lifted itself away from us as we passed by, it is highly unlikely that we would have noticed it if it hadn’t moved as we were intently immersed on watching the path with our head torches lighting up the path in front of us. The owl lifted itself onto a nearby branch of a tree and watched as we crossed through its lair. A truly beautiful experience. This early meeting with nature sort of framing the day’s uplifting moments before us leading into the following morning as well. Before the LWW stone we came across a lone frog frozen in front of us and just at the top of the reservoir a lonesome deer, captured in our head torches and of which eventually showed itself and then disappeared into the bracken next to the water.

Quickly, the sunrise moved through to dawn and our pace became faster. Negotiating our way across the cliffs following Coalmire and Clain Woods was quite interesting as I’m slower going up hills and Mark is faster. So, we agreed that we’d both keep going at our individual paces but stop if the other became out of view. This was the routine between us until the end of the walk when my pace was stronger on the flat. We found this type of negotiation to be helpful especially when crossing Ellerbeck, an area Mark had walked in daylight and which I’d crossed in the dark. I’d followed the rule about staying to the left of the white posts and in some places found the going hard. Mark was able to show the route over the foot bridges toward Lilla Cross which actually takes a route (west to east) south of the posts. So, on this occasion I didn’t hear any little people talking on the horizon but only Mark saying where’s that white post, keep right and it’s a bit wetter than last week. 

So, we arrived at the same LLW stone and after photographs of our beginning we began the walk at 4.30am. No rain today, but the experience of seeing a sunrise and the accompanying vista of a developing horizon is one of the most memorable experiences I will remember. It was great to share it with Mark. 

So, the walk was quite straightforward from Osmotherley to the Lion Inn and our helpful assistant, Sue arrived and we had lunch together which lasted for the remarkable time of nearly one hour and a half. Even after Mark’s burger, Sue’s scampi and my Jam Roly Poly was there a sense of not completing the walk in the 24hr time limit. Although, I did have the bit under the teeth after the first thirty minutes of pause due to a concern of physical tempi seizing up.

At checkpoint 4 where we’d decided to take a 10 minute stop we were waved off by a grass snake as it passed us by. It trailed its course in front of us as we turned around and we all wandered off into the grasses following our own differing directions.

One of the highlights of the walk for me was the sausage roll, cake and coffee before Ellerbeck. One needs substance before tackling past mental difficulties and placing feet on the ground. Well, I do! A good meaty sausage roll prevents early commiseration. 

This walk was kinder than my first experience due to there being a very light breeze and a warmth that was lacking over the Farndale through to Rosedale section and the area of the bogs (on the first occasion). Mind the bog seems to stretch across to Lilla Cross. On reflection the section after the stepping stones feels wetter than what has gone before.

I still haven’t seen the section from Ellerbeck to the end of the LWW in light but, I’m hoping to alter that experience when I walk the route east to west on the 22/23 August 2023, hopefully, arriving at Cote Ghyll around 4am. But that is another story.

The odd thing about the ending of the walk on this occasion was that the beacon light didn’t flash its welcome this time around and after awhile it was apparent, I’d have to do a check with the OS map. Oddly, it seemed to glimmer for a few moments and then nothing and it’s quite odd to know that the route you’re on is correct but not to have it corroborated visually. Strangely, even with a head torch it is possible to get a glimpse of a shape of the beacons structure at 2am in the morning.

But, if there wasn’t a beacon light for us what did uplift our bodies and brains was a Nightjar (we think) flitting through the sky. It’s phosphorus beak lit up by head torches as it was caught flitting across our way. Our contact with different creatures across the LWW had uplifted us at times and the Nightjar became our beacon finally leaving us as we approached an end to our plod. It’s fairly easy to understand where fantasies of night creatures, ghouls and other supernatural phenomena come from when the natural environment offers such gems as a glowing light, zooming through the air to make one consider reality.

Sue had arrived at the end of the walk and was waiting in the car but, importantly she had two beers as a celebration of celebration. She was, also, our beacon due to her having the car’s interior lights on and the car being stationed under the beacon. She wasn’t too thrilled at taking our photograph next to the completion stone at Ravenscar (it gets cold out there after midnight) but accommodated our egos to have one, beers then being finished. Another walk completed. I preferred the company and the altered pace. I tend to keep going and not to rest so it’ll be interesting to compare the pace on my return and reverse route.

Finally, I have to say sharing bottles of beer at the end of the LWW is a great way to finish off a walk which in its sobriety of course needs commiseration at the end! I can see why it is possible to get hammered after completing the walk. The whole point of walking 40+ miles is to lift depression, doom and despair. That’s what I’ve been told, anyhow!

Do The Hokey Cokey: Josh Hawthorne and John O’Boyle

Crossing report, 15th July 2023

It was a wet one… First ever crossing for Josh Hawthorne and also his first walk beyond 26 miles. John O’Boyle first crossed 25 years ago (and still has the blisters to prove it …).

Started at first light from the Osmotherley side and enjoyed a nice saunter up to and across the Three Sisters. Passed a group from down south attempting the crossing for first time – hope they made it. Experienced a few short heavy showers which started the pattern of playing the hokey cokey with the waterproofs that would go on all day.
Walk nearly ended abruptly on Clay Bank Road crossing as a car sped around the corner at what must have been 50+ mph (but thankfully managed to jump out the way albeit close enough to see the terror in the driver’s eyes).
Section up to and beyond Lion Inn was comfortable and got a decent pace up. Met further groups attempting crossing and had a good chat – some of them supporting charities. As we were unsupported on route we had left a car at Lion Inn. Turned out to be perfect timing as heavens absolutely opened just as we opened the car door! (Sandwiches eaten in the front seats).
Got very wet feet across the peat bog section but all still going well until Wheeldale to Ellerbeck. As we went down steep decent the heavens opened again and it became a mud slide. Josh felt a bit of a twinge and that point and set up what would be  slog the last 10 miles.
Loved reading about the Saxon hero Lilla and pleased to battle up Jugger Howe. Was a relief to see the transmitter at Ravenscar and a great feeling to get the job done. Massive thanks to the support team from another group who picked up my waterproof backpack cover after it had fallen off during the unplanned mud slide.

Crossing Report 11-12th August 2023 : Suzanne and Martin Scott


My wife Suzanne Scott wanted to do the Lyke Wake Walk, but as she had not done anything of this distance before would not have been able to do it in one go.
So to that end for our 22nd wedding anniversary I guided her around the route over two days – 11th August (our actual anniversary day), staying at the Lion Inn, Blakey and the 12th August, staying at the Raven Hall hotel, Ravenscar.



Overall her time was <24 hours on route.
Day 1 was 18.2 miles and a moving time of 6hrs 35 minutes and total day time of 8hrs 10 min
Day 2 was 23.12 miles (including the walk to the hotel after the mast) and a moving time of 8 hours 40, total day time of 10 hrs 50 min

The LWW was one of the 50 things to complete before she was 50 list (her 50th birthday is next February 2024).
It was also her 1st ever multi day hike.


Would it be possible to register her for the LWW club, as a witch?

As an aside I (Martin Scott) have personally completed the event twice in the last two years, so would like to register myself
March 24th distance 41.74 miles, moving time 15hrs 53 min moving, total time 18 hrs 15 min. Guiding a friend of my wife around the route
August 28th 2021 distance 40.91 miles, moving time 10hrs 57min , total time 11hrs 45 min – recce the route to take others around. Unsupported

Friday – good weather, no rain
Saturday – bit more mixed, with heavy showers, followed by some sun. At one point heavy shower and sun at the same time.

By the way the signing in book is now in the Ravenscar Tearooms. Only one person has signed it, since I signed it in March. Not sure if people know about it.

Crossing report 29/7/2023 : Rachel MacAleese

I had wanted to do my 7th Lyke Wake walk crossing all summer. Conditions were perfect when I reccee’d it in June however I delayed to July to fit in with someone who had asked to do it with me Frustratingly when the time came for ‘feet to face the boots ‘they decided they couldn’t do it. So, I was pleased to be finally getting going even if during the 4 weeks between my reccee and my crossing, the weather had never stopped raining. I had found a group who were also doing a crossing and was able to link up with them. Surprisingly given the weather there were quite a few people doing a crossing. We had horizontal wind and rain along the railway line … similar to being slapped in the face repeatedly with a kipper. Thankfully sunny for lunch at Rosedale head and then we pressed onwards. The boggy bit was boggy. although not as bad as we expected it to be, the stoney bit was stoney. The ‘trying to avoid tripping up ‘experience now being enhanced by also ‘trying to avoid being scratched ‘due to some self-seed Christmas trees on the path. At Wheeldale I bade farewell to my crossing buddies and pressed on. …..the lure of a hot shower and a beer drove me forward to Ravenscar … and that mast still doesn’t seem to get any closer until you are right beside it. I finished in lovely evening sunshine after 15 hours and 25 minutes. Still very much in love with doing the Lyke Wake walk, days later I am still smiling.

What 47 Years Can Do To You: Rob Hadley

Date: 26 July 2023

Dirger: Rob Hadley (solo)

Time: Dawn to dusk, 16 Hours.

Start: Start Marker at Cod Beck

End: Mast near Ravenscar

I did the crossing several times in my teens and miserably failed the last time so wanted to challenge myself to see if I am still able to do it.

Tip toed out of the house and started just after daybreak at 05:00. Pleased to find the Cleveland way such a good path and seeing the sun coming over Live Moor made a good start. Quickly got into the pace of the hills and valleys on that section but ended up on the wrong side of the Wain Stones so had to fight through head hight bracken with loose rocks underneath. Relieved to get onto the flat rail line and onto the Red Lion for a quick burger. I realised I was almost half way, not really suffering (yet) and the weather was being kind to me so still looking good. Stuck to the road around Rosedale head and then headed off across the moor when things began to get difficult. Very boggy – ended up knee deep in water and fell over before I realised staying to the route was bad so had to deviate and look for paths previous wiser adventurers had used. I was stopped by a French couple at the road by Grouse Butts to ask where the Man in the Bog stone was, but I was of no help. However, later realised they were talking about the Blue Man-i’-th-Moss standing stone. By the time I got to Wheeldate Plantation things were improving so had a rest, food and change of socks. I knew seeing the radar station was deceptive but seems soon I crossing Eller Beck and started to climb Fylingdales. It was about here the drizzle started but too near the end to worry about that but put on my coat. I was surprised to get a glimpse of Scarborough Castle and then knew completing this was now possible. As I dropped into Jugger Howe Beck I made my call to get picked up. That beck Is a real gotcha at the end, but I used the last of my reserves and glad to cross the A171 to get the first views of the mast. Slogged up the Howdale in a vain attempt to get to the car park before my support team arrived – thanks to my bother-in-law to picking me up at the end.


Conclusion, I am now probably fitter then when I was 16 but maybe that’s being retired and having time to practise beforehand.


A Stumble Jog To Fen Bog: Janine Price

Dear Sir/Madam,

I regret to inform you of my successful completion of the Lyke Wake Walk on Saturday 8th July 2023. This sad event was a West to East crossing beginning at 3.50am, as day broke above. It was a solitary crossing as I have no mates daft enough to join me. I was supported at several points by my baffled teenage son and his father, who at least provided nourishment in the form of milky ways and miniature pork pies. I am grateful to them for their assistance.

Likewise to the friendly people involved in a running challenge on the same route, who were kind enough to offer me water at Clay Bank. The wind on the first ten miles was blowing a hooley, enough to try and knock me over a few times. Beautiful views over Teesside as the sun rose.

The sun did its shiny thing until after the Lion Inn, when the rain came and soaked me so thoroughly to ensure all garments were claggy and uncomfortable. There was a moment of pure disorientation a few yards after Blue Man i’ th’ Moss, when in heavy rain I lost the path and wandered in a circle, wondering which new forest had suddenly sprouted ahead of me.

Crows gathered, speculatively eyeing my disheveled form. I gave myself a sharp slap about the chops to regain my wits, and found the path, ploughing on through the rain to the Stape road, where coffee and ultra processed vittals gave me energy. I then moved swiftly down through bracken taller than me, (Not hard, I’m pretty short) to Wheeldale Beck. A rock -bound toad tried blocking my passage over the stepping stones, muttering a few curses at me as I passed. I ignored him. A haul up to Simon Howe felt hard work. Then a bit of a stumble jog down to Fen Bog.

The burst of relative speed due to half remembered ghost stories my late father used to tell us about the moors at night. Fear is a great motivator as the day creeps to a close, and you’re the last person out on the moors. Over Lilla Cross, where one day I hope my earthly remains will be spread. No adders down towards Jugger Howe, but miniature pterodactyls, judging by the bites on my legs, who found me so tasty despite the jungle spray applied at Eller Beck.

Over to the mast, post sunset, as the last light drained away, reaching it at 10pm, jog stumbling the last mile up. I will forever treasure the memory of this doleful undertaking, and I can’t wait to do it all again. Please can I be a witch now? Many thanks, Janine Price