A Comedy Of Errors: Anthony Bristow

On September 23rd, ten of us embarked on the Lyke Wake Walk. This adventure served as a charity
fundraiser for Neuroendocrine Cancer, a small charity in need of support. We are rallying behind our
friend and family member, Hayley, who has been an inspiration to us all.

The night before, we had a few drinks at the Golden Lion, like pre-gaming for a marathon, but with
pints, not protein shakes. Setting our alarms for 3 AM seemed crazy, but we met at Osmotherley car
park at 4 AM, ready for action.

One of the team had legs longer than a giraffe’s and sprinted ahead, only to be chased back into the
pack by a weird white alien with green eyes. He quickly learned to stick with the group.

We trudged up steep hills in the dark, realising sunrise wasn’t until 6:51 AM. Mother Nature owed us
daylight. However, as dawn broke, we enjoyed some stunning views and realised we weren’t on a
death march.

Our support team was supposed to meet us at mile 9, but my poor planning (sorry folks) led to their
absence. Undeterred, we pressed on toward the Lion Inn, dreaming of bacon and sausage butties.
The walk to the Lion Inn was pleasant, with lovely moorland views, until a local cycle race turned our
hike into a game of dodgems.

Mark, our Chief Navigator with Bieber-like boots, led us smoothly. It felt like the calm before a storm,
but Bieber didn’t make a cameo.

At the Lion Inn Pub, Paul and Geoff, our support crew, greeted us with a mountain of bacon and sausage. Satisfied, we continued.

The next part was entertaining, with peat bogs like trampolines due to the weather. The trail was
too wet, so we detoured to keep our feet dry. It felt impossible!

Jordan had two toilet breaks, and these were number 2’s, on his second squat down in the thick
heather, he lost his phone. Can you guess where it ended up? Hint: not in his pocket!

As we marched on and saw Fylingdales in the distance, we couldn’t help but wonder why it never
seemed to get any closer.

We reached the monument with just enough light to see the finish line. The last five miles loomed in
total darkness. Fatigue set in, but our determination carried us forward. I’m certain there were
moments during the walk when we all took a moment to reflect on why we were doing this. I
certainly did. The thought of Hayley’s strength and determination unquestionably helped us through
this final section.

We spotted a bright white light in the sky, thinking it was the radio mast, only to discover it was a
star. Fatigue had us seeing things!

Finally, we hit the main road at the last mile, with Mark leading grumpily. His Bieber side took over,
as Lee unintentionally poked the bear!

At last, we reached the finish at 21:32. A whopping 17 hours and 32 minutes of Lyke Wake Walk
madness, all for a great cause. We faced white aliens, lost phones, bogs, and questionable
navigation, but we did it!

Sheep or Aliens? Graeme Noble

Date & Start: Tuesday 22nd August (starting time [from the LWW stone at the beacon at Ravenscar 8.48am] – Wednesday 23rd August 2023 [ending time 6.08am] at the LWW stone above Cod Beck Reservoir

Walking time: 19hrs 10 minutes, actual crossing time 20hrs 40 minutes

Total Walking Distance: 41 miles

Dirger: Graeme Noble (no assistance)

Weather: initially slight wind conditions which gradually declined towards 10pm with slight gusts through to 5am on the tops, good visibility during daylight hours with some sun exposure and remaining dry during the walk but underfoot more wet in the bog areas since I walked across during early July

Temperature: warm throughout the day becoming unpleasantly cold after midnight, particularly following the climb from Hasty Bank. Throughout daylight – fairly warm and cloudy, after sunset – gradually becoming chilly and cold

I was a little concerned that walking east to west with bright sunlight in my face, due to the pace of the progression of the sun, would hinder visual progress as the day progressed. The sun travelling faster than I anticipated I would be walking east to west. This wasn’t the case. Cloud at times hiding the sun.

With a full English breakfast stomach (curtesy of Ravenscar Hall Hotel), later followed by toast, butter and blackcurrant jam and pots of coffee I left the comfort of breakfast at 8.20am. I was joyful at leaving the hotel and getting on my way. I commiserated my choice of beginning this sojourn much later due to my conclusion that walking from Hasty Bank via the Wainstones to the LWW stone would be walked in the dark even if I began walking at 3am and so it was better for me to walk on a full stomach toward the midnight /early morning Wainstone wilderness than rush out and still have to walk through such terrain in the dark in any case.

I began walking from Ravenscar Hall Hotel in warm, sunlit skies with occasional perched clouds that offered promise of a dry and warm day. This was the case during daylight hours.

This time I thank the Sainsburys store in Scarborough for supplying me with food for the walk (previous day purchase). This saw a change of diet from the previous walk’s fare. Bacon and cheese sandwiches saw the light of day and barbecued chicken for the darkness of night.

Arriving at the beacon and LWW stone I felt slightly odd due to having walked the reverse direction from the Flask Inn bus stop over Stony Marl Moor late the previous afternoon following alighting from the Scarborough to Whitby X93 bus. I had been expecting to see the first part of the walk from the beacon afresh in the light for the first time as the two previous crossings had been completed in the dark after midnight but I was not disappointed due to the fact that I was walking the route this time in reverse. My thoughts here may be disorganised but they reflect the reality of recovery after completing the mission.

What can one say apart from how beautiful standing at the LWW stone beneath the beacon and looking forward and behind seeing sea and rolling hills and knowing that this is what was missed previously in the darkness even when wearing a head torch.

All peace until reaching the A171 and the fast flow of traffic. Here was a new daylight juncture and oddly a meeting with a man and a dog whom I’d met on the moor yesterday when walking across to the hotel at Ravenscar from the X93 bus. We greeted each other and chatted for a while about the area and what we were up to, his holiday break and my walk. He’d worked as a taxi driver in Hull and my wife’s family had lived there for nearly 50yrs. So, we talked about the Anlaby and Hessle Roads, Hull City and Hamlyn Avenue. I have a fondness for that area as much as the North Yorkshire Moors due to my wife’s mother taking the family to the area every year until she became incapable of travel. Time pleasantly stood still for 10 minutes then it was time to push on. Being transported emotionally is as great an accomplishment as walking 40+ miles!

The day’s walking was further rewarded on the descent into the valley of Jugger Howe. It’s odd how one can be distracted by movement and looking down during the descent I saw an adder scurry from one side of the step in front of me to the other and into the heather. Evidently sun bathing but deciding not to take part in the dirge with me. The highlight of this part of the walk for me was definitely the valley between the ravine sides of Jugger Howe. The lushness of the greenery on both sides of the path with occasional willow and birch is truly beautiful and I felt rewarded for walking the route in reverse as I’d never seen before this outlook in the darkness when walking. Truly stunning! And, the rest of the route to the stepping stones offered more gems. Great views from Lilla Howe towards Flylingdales and the MOD building and the final view back to the coast and the beacon before descent to Eller Beck Bridge. I was quite fired up with the beauty and immersed in the walk until I met two women who were walking near the bridge at Eller Beck. We talked for a while and they said they were getting into training for the Coast to Coast walk they were attempting to do in a couple of weeks time and when I was asked about the walk I was doing one of the them mentioned that wolves were being considered to be released in the highlands of Scotland and when they came down here in a couple of years I’d need to take care as they would tear someone to pieces during nightfall if they came across them. I said that I was glad to be walking the route now and we parted company. My wife says she is not quite sure how I manage to come across such folk! Neither am I!

I stopped at the stepping stones for lunch following a photoshoot of me at Simon Howe where a mother and son passed by. Quite normal people. I met no one again until before Loose Howe where a chap was walking the LWW in stages (west-east) and wild camping over three to four days. This was the first person I’d come across on this side of the walk and we parted after discussing the situation of the bogs we’d crossed. Quite wet in places. Definitely more wet than I had met in July of this year.

And onward on tarmac to the Lion Inn. I’m not sure if the road here is any less dangerous than the bogs? Cars travel very fast and there was quite a lot of road kill alongside. At the Inn it was time for Jam Roly Poly, a pot of Earl Grey (with extra water) and this time to break tradition but to celebrate my future success in completing the walk I had a pint of Old Peculiar and settled down for a 40 minute stop. At 8.50pm it was time to move on. I phoned my walking assistant, Kate, informing her that I was moving again and after a brief chat I was off.

The evening to late night light while I was walking around Farndale tops and the accompanying colours throughout the valley were stunningly deep, from purples, greens, yellows and reds. Occasionally there would be a rustle of grasses and heathers but it was mostly silent and then the beacon lights of Bilsdale mast began to glow (sometimes 1 light, sometimes 5 lights) forming an accompaniment all the way to Cod Beck Reservoir. Also, homestead lights began to appear and I decided to move away from using a hand torch and switch on the head torch.

There is one positive aspect of walking the old railway line in the dark and that is with a good clear sky (such as the one accompanying me) it is possible to walk dead central without using a head torch and this was the case until Bloworth Crossing when cloud became more prevalent. The wind had dropped at this point as well and faster walking speed took place.The trig point on Round Hill on my right cast its grey figure as I passed it and solitude became more apparent.

And from here to the Wain Stones there was only one oddity. Approaching the Wain Stones there was a coned object, black and white. I first associated it with the microlight aircraft and kit left behind. However, when the shape moved I wondered if it was a UFO and was slightly taken aback. Fortunately, it was none of those things. A herd of Belted Galloway had moved across and one was very close to the edge of the cliff and turned to greet me. Odd hearing cattle munching in the middle of the night with no other sound to disturb their night pulling of grasses, herbs, reeds and nettles. (I had one more sandwich left and must have been feeling hungry). Anyway, like the earlier adder they weren’t interested in me and I walked through them to have the second excitement of the day happen. For some reason, probably being tired, it took about 15 minutes to clamber down the Wain Stones. Initially, I got the route down but doubted the accuracy of my memory. I should have stuck with the original plan. Once down the rest of the walk became a hard slog on the tops even when I met a yellow frog/toad. I said to myself no you’re not in the Amazon, that’s a standard English frog. However, it was that cold I made a decision not to get the phone out and take a picture.

From there and past the Bronze Age burial mound the walk seemed interminably long until the descent and arrival at the minor road through Hurhwaite Green where there is a nice seat to take a rest. Here was the last sandwich eaten and the last peppermint tea drunk. Between here and Clain Wood I came across two foxes, initially, I thought they were sheep dispersing in front of me but when whistling came across the field, almost surrounding me as they ran away from each other I thought I’m hearing the cry of foxes. This sound accompanied me for a large portion of the walk through the woods and then disappeared to be replaced by the hoot of an owl. As I reached the steps leading up to the road and cattle grid I realised that my energy levels were low. Every 50 steps going uphill I had to stop and rest. Then I was on tarmac and crossing the road with another slight climb but I knew I’d make it to the end and just kept going. Dawn crept up fast and as the beacon had disappeared so a beautiful day awaited me, clear skies if somewhat cold. Reaching the LWW ending/starting stone above Cod Beck reservoir I took my final photo of the walk and carried on to Cote Ghyll YHA where I’d arranged a bed for the night. At 6.30am I hit the pillow setting the alarm for 8.50am and the promise of an bacon, egg and sausage sandwich at the Coffee Pot Cafe in Osmotherley which I’d arranged to do with my wife when she came to pick me up with a set of clean clothes, shoes and more importantly, herself actually checking me in safely in person rather than at the end of a telephone. A great way to end such a challenge.

Just one additional thought – sheep in the dark when lit up with a head torch look like aliens. Only the animals eyes light up until you get closer to them. I can see primitive Man being quite afraid of unexplained creatures as they walked across the mountains, moors and bogs.Did Bronze Age humans carry burning logs as torches?

I’m getting ready for the double crossing next year in the summer?