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