Archive for July, 2017

Crossing Report – 7/8 July, solo and unsupported Claire Chapman

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

When my husband Tom decided to enter the Lyke Wake Challenge race with our usual partner in crime Dave Allen, I must admit to a bit of jealousy – I only started running in April this year and so am nowhere near that kind of challenge. But having done 20 crossings (walking, the last one just a week before this!) I thought maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt a solo. After all, there would be loads of runners about and people at support stops should I get into trouble.
Tom and Dave dropped me off at the start stone near Osmotherley at 9.45pm and headed back to Dave’s for some much-needed sleep. It was still light and I felt great. Until I descended into the trees and it got dark. At that point, I really questioned what on earth I was doing, I don’t have the best sense of direction and I watch far too many horror films! Passing some walkers going in the opposite direction and then a couple having a massive drunken argument at Lord Stones, I felt more confident – I was still alive!
The disused railway track felt shorter than usual, and I was even able to give some directions to some first-timers. Passing them, I had a real spring in my step as I got onto Flat Howe. Luckily I had my GPS with me (how did anyone cope without these magical devices?) as I was aware that the path seems to appear then completely vanish! The sun came up and the views across the moors were amazing.
I always like the road for a bit of variation in terrain and before I knew it I was on to the boggy section. Having crossed just a week ago, knew it would be a little bit damp but not as horrendous as I have seen it, and despite a little variation off the path, I reached Shunner Howe with no difficulty. Eating breakfast there with the sun shining and the grouse warbling was delightful. Being completely alone with not a soul in sight felt utterly uplifting and, I have to say, spiritually fulfilling.
I pressed on over the next section towards Blue Man I’ the Moss, passing him with no slowing, but the slog to Hamer Road felt utterly horrible. Loads of puddles and kicking every rock beneath my feet led me to utter several expletives to, well, no-one. I was even pleased to have the descent down to Wheeldale Beck and back up to Simon Howe. Here, I admired the view again, and enjoyed the sunshine for a while.
On I pressed to my next goal, Lilla Cross. I love it there, and Eller Beck didn’t give me too much of a challenge. I passed a lovely old farmer repairing his fence at Fylingdales who told me all about the different strains of sheep in the area.
Lilla Cross always marks the ‘you’re nearly there’ point for me, and with this in mind I felt really good. I had a fabulous conversation with the bees buzzing round the beautiful purple heather on the way to Jugger Howe, and even enjoyed going down and up (I usually hate that bit!)
Crossing the A171, I felt amazing! The last walk up to the mast and the finishing stone was much quicker than it usually seems. Solo, unsupported crossing done in 14 ½ hours! I must have been quicker than anticipated as I didn’t see any runners or supports.
I then drove down to Raven Hall Hotel to await the arrival of Tom, Dave, and a couple of other runners from the Quakers Running Club. I had plenty of time to have a cold drink and enjoy the views. At the finish line, I was delighted to see Gerry Orchard finish accompanied by the ever-supportive Julie. We sat chatting in the grass before Tom arrived in the excellent time of 9 hours 9 minutes, Dave not long behind and then the Quaker lads. As we drove off back towards Osmotherley, we passed the amazing Nick Carter, having completed his 30th Lyke Wake Challenge in 30 years. Awe inspiring.
I never tire of this walk. It’s one of the most life affirming and confidence building experiences I can think of. I might even do the challenge race next year if my running improves sufficiently! See you again soon LWW!

Lyke Wake Walk East West Crossing Report 01st July 2017

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

I’ll not forget Simon Ogier’s bold statement: ‘I think we need to have another go at the Lyke Wake Walk next year’ in a hurry – although I’ve only myself to blame for agreeing with him, must have been something to do with a reasonable amount of red wine that had been consumed earlier that evening in December 2016!
Our previous crossing was completed in 2005, so it was indeed high time we visited our old friend (and foe) once again. As motivation for the walk we decided to raise some funds for the charity Epilepsy Action in memory of our colleague Carlos Arroyo, who passed away in May 2016 following an epileptic seizure.
Having previously crossed West to East and been faced with a lack of facilities and an interminable drive back from Ravenscar, the decision was made to cross in the reverse direction, as whilst this meant a long drive from Simon’s home base in Ripon at daft o’clock in the morning, it would at least get us closer to home at the end of the day.
We considered camping in Osmotherley, but as Simon and Alison kindly offered to put everyone up for the night we decided to stay over and aim for an early start.
After the day’s work was done the team travelled up to Ripon to settle in for the evening which included a quick trip to the ‘One Eyed Rat’ in Ripon – proper real ale pub well worth a visit. Gavin decided that he needed a little more Dutch courage than most and ploughed his way merrily through a bottle and a half of red wine, much to everyone’s concern for his ability to get up in the morning!
Nonetheless we managed a relatively early night and set alarms for 0230 the next morning which arrived way too soon. A steady drive over to the stone by the radio mast at Ravenscar to arrive at 0440 arriving in low cloud/sea fret and chill breeze. One of my colleagues Paul Morritt lives in Burniston and had expressed an interest in meeting us at the start, which he duly did with a much appreciated flask of coffee in order to set us up for a good start.
Timings as follows:
Start Ravenscar/LWW Stone 0501
Eller Beck 0740
Wheeldale 0850
Knott Rd First Stop 1140-1210 – much needed sandwiches and refilling of water bottles. I will add at this point that I don’t remember the section up to this point being quite so boggy – I must have blanked that bit from my memory. My boots at this point seemed to have developed the ability to absorb and retain water which is far from ideal on a walk of this magnitude!
Lion Inn 1255 – weather now much improved, sunny and breezy
Clay Bank Second Stop 1630-1700 – much needed application of blister packs and a change of wet footwear (certainly on my part) and the application of suncream for Ryan (a little late in the day)
Cod Beck/LWW Stone 2040hrs – just one short sharp rain shower to contend with as we headed up on to Cringle Moor. Extremely glad we had walked this section as a practice recently as the path down to Scarth Nick seemed to go on forever!
Overall time 15h 40mins, a brilliant effort by everyone and well deserved condolences to the following:
Gavin ‘Just one more glass’ Bellerby – excessive consumption of red wine on the evening before the walk yet managed to power through and complete the walk
Danny ‘Tusken Raider’ Serrano – unique choice of headwear
Ryan ’Lobster Legs’ Dunning – lack of sun cream had a spectacular effect on Ryan’s exposed legs
Simon ‘New Boots’ Ogier – practice walk two weeks before necessitated purchase of emergency new boots (Second Crossing)
and myself Ian ‘Lead from the Back’ Anderson – this is definitely a marathon not a sprint (Third Crossing)
Many thanks to Alison, Rachael and Eleanor Ogier and Lisa Cooper for much needed refreshments, sandwiches and support driving, Paul Morritt for meeting us at Ravenscar, and Adam Shubber for meeting us in Osmotherley to transport our weary York contingent home.