Archive for September, 2015

Tom’s Crossing Report, Date: 6th September

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Time started: 05:30
Time finished: 19:01
Weather: sunny, 19oC
Conditions underfoot: soggy in places
Route undertaken: Classic Route
Support: Dad

Having supported my Dad doing the walk several times over the past year, and after attending the Mini Wake & Dirge that accompanied the Ramblings series for the BBC being recorded earlier this year, I finally decided to give the walk a shot whilst I was still off from college. So negotiations with Mum started, and she soon agreed to let me do the walk so long as Dad was acting as my support throughout the walk. We booked a hotel in Thornaby-on-Tees so that we could get up later to get to the start rather than driving 3 ½ hours driving from home and having an even earlier getup. So with the room booked we set about getting all the stuff needed for the walk, including some walking poles for me to use, lots of bottles of Lucozade and water and several cans of Pepsi max in the days before the undertaking of the walk. I was determined to make it, Dad had some doubts about me being able to cross successfully and he’d taken the mickey out of me in his Crossing Report from last September.

On the day of the walk we arose at 04:00 and proceeded to McDonalds where we were too early to get a meal off of the breakfast menu, so I proceeded to have chicken nuggets and chips to start the day’s intake of calories, carbohydrates and protein whilst dad made do with coffee and drove to the start of the walk. Before undertaking the walk, Dad proceeded to take my photo with the Olympic Torch (check out: ) which would be travelling across with me for the 40 miles. I started the walk at 5:30 when the sun was just starting to shine some light over the horizon. After starting early in the morning I made decent progress to the surprise of Dad by making it to Clay Bank in under 3 hours (according to Dad, this is good compared to what Brian Smailes says which is around 3 and a half hours).

I continued trekking along the fast miles of the firebreak & railway and made it to Old Margery before 11 am, well ahead of the time Dad said that he reckoned I’d be there by (12pm), where I had a quick lunch and set off waking again. I made it through the boggy section and got to the random millstone near Shunner Howe at 13:10, where I then got greeted by Dad with an ice cream and had a quick refill of Lucozade’s. After the stop I made it to Blue Man in t’ Moss by 14:00 (more photos). Whilst Dad was walking back to the car at Hamer, Gerry and Julie had seen our car whilst passing and the Gerry went to see if he could find me, however he went searching the wrong way thinking that I had not made it to Hamer yet but they eventually met up with Dad. I met Dad again near Fen Bogs where he had got more ice cream. After eating several ice creams and drinking 4 cups worth of hot chocolate Dad proceeded to get me around the worst part of RAF Fylingdales and I was at Lilla Howe at 17:51.

After getting lost a bit on the moor around Lilla Howe (trying to avoid the boggy areas) I eventually made it to Jugger Howe ravine (where I caught up with a guy called Amos who started 10 minutes or so ahead of me). I was met there by Dad who walked with me and Amos up to the main road before the final trek up to Beacon Howes began. I finished the walk by touching the LWW stone at 20:04 just as it was edging into twilight. More Olympic Torch photos – a new version of Candle Leet for this Walk!! So Dad was proved wrong, I did it. A good day for the Club – 2 new Dirgers, me & Amos (also Dad can now get his Supporters Badge).

Thomas Evans

Bromley Volunteer Police (Met) Cadets. 6th August 2015.

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

At 3.30 am, on Thursday 6th August a group of Bromley Volunteer Police (Met) Cadets and their leaders, huddled round a small granite stone trying to make out the words ‘Lyke Wake Walk’ on it in the gloomy darkness. Mutterings of “What the hell are we doing this for?” and “It’s too early” could be heard from the group, which wasn’t surprising as the majority of them were teenagers.

The stone was of course in Osmotherley and this was the start of the 42 mile trek across the North Yorkshire Moors.

Cadets Chris, Alice, Poppy, Joe, James, Katy and Daisy had all volunteered to attempt the crazy challenge offered to them by their equally crazy adult leaders Neill, Beverley, Gareth, Dean and Alex. All of them determined to cross the finish line in Ravenscar in less than the required 24 hours. For one adult leader, Gareth, completing this monstrous task alone wasn’t enough. Being an ex army wanted to do it carrying a full military pack!

We set off a good pace, but it was less than 2 hours in when we noticed our first problem. Daisy, one of our cadets, was lagging behind and struggling. A short investigation discovered the reason why fairly quickly. She was carrying about 8 litres of water in her pack!!! Having relieved her of some of the burden, she transformed from slowest to fastest in the group in the blink of an eye.

The next few hours went well. Teenagers being what they are, and not being able to leave the comfort of their phones behind, brought music with them. Cadet Joe, and James, kept the groups spirits up with singalongs and ‘Hot Fuzz’ impressions.

All was going well until we reached checkpoint two. Here we were to meet our support team of which there was no sign. As it turned out, they were still back at the hostel tucking into a hearty breakfast. They tried to blame the traffic for setting us behind by 45 mins, but we all know the truth! That said, there were no more hiccups and we met them at every checkpoint on time thereafter.

The way forward was good and we made good progress, if not a little tedious along the disused railway track which seemed to stretch on forever across Farndale Moor. But eventually a physically, as well as mentally, tired group stopped for lunch in the car park of the Lion at Blakey Ridge.

We were feeling good and pleased with our progress so far. There had been no injuries or blisters and the creaking of the leaders knees were drowned out by the youngster’s music.

But then came the BOG! We were fortunate that it had been fairly dry in the preceding weeks and so it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been. But walking in squelchy mud on very tired limbs is always hard, especially as it went on for over 8 miles. Katy, who carried a pre-hike injury, refused to accept help and was determined not to quit, trudged on regardless.

It was great to see the Fylingdale RAF radar in the distance, even if it never did seem to get any closer as we trudged across Wheeldale moor and on to High Moor. Glimpses of the radio mast, our final destination, lifted spirits. Nobody dared to mention that we still had many miles still to go to reach it.
As we dropped down into Jugger Howe Beck, it seemed like a good idea at the time to kick of the boots and soak the toes in the stream. It was blissfully good for a while, until we realised that the sun was setting and it was prime time for the midge community to come out for dinner. Boots were hurriedly put on and the next hour was spent frantically waving hands about in front of faces to swipe the little blighters away.

By now we were taking on casualties. Joe, James, and Chris were walking like extras in the Michael Jackson Thriller video. Beverley and Poppy were jogging backwards and forwards looking after them all, Gareth was stumbling forwards mumbling incoherently about the lights flashing in front of his eyes (Poppy was trying to light the path in front of him with a torch so he didn’t trip), Dean was walking at a snails pace with his head down, Alex’s knees had been bad from the off and he took up the role of ‘Increasingly Tail End Charlie’. Whilst Andy, Alice and Daisy (the water carrier) now took the lead and plodded onwards.

At the final checkpoint, it was suggested by the support crew that ‘because we only had 2 km left, we had done enough to say we’d completed it’. This was unanimously refused, even though the group were dead on their feet. We pushed on towards where the radio mast was, although it was now dark and it wasn’t lit. The final 2000 mts was paced out in 100 mt intervals and counted down. So that we reached the tower in a final time of 19 and a half hours.

Totally exhausted, we fell into the minibus in silence. It was dark and we couldn’t see the finishing stone and was told by Andy that, according to the map, it was another 200mts further on. It was only the following morning when we returned for a group photo that we discovered the real reason why we couldn’t find it. The previous evening the minibus had parked in front of it!!!