Archive for June, 2018

Crossing Report: 8/9 June 2018

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

‘How old are you again?’ he asked.

‘I’m doing it a week before my 72nd birthday’ I replied a bit truculently.

‘Don’t do it, Susan. Don’t do it.  I tell it like it is, you know. It will kill you, it’ll kill you!’


Since the advice I tend to listen to is my own, I paid no attention and consequently, with our three wonderful guides, Tom and Claire Chapman and David Allen, I was part of the 13 LWW virgins, including my daughter, that set off in high spirits at 9pm, pleased to be on our way and out of the range of persistent midges.


Unlike other Crossing Reports, I can’t detail just where we were, at what time, what conditions were like in X wood or Y hill.  All I know accurately, is that we started at Osmotherley and all but 3 ended at Ravenscar.  I apologise to experienced Club members for any inaccuracies, but like one lady whom I had met on a training walk who had completed a crossing ‘Oh, many years ago’, I can with clarity remember starting and ending – but the bit in between is a bit of a blur!  In fact she said ‘horrid blur’ – but, apart from a handful of occasions when I wished my heart and lungs were 40 or even 20 years younger – I generally loved the whole experience.


I can though, describe some of my personal thoughts and impressions.


We all admired, still as a single group, the sunset to the north, as we walked through Coalmire woods, though I was pleased to stop for photographs as I reckoned we were walking at a fair fast pace.  On reaching the first hill, we spread out and, to my surprise, I still found myself towards the front.


Someone then asked me if I’d practiced walking at night. My vast experience of my head torch extended from me walking from kitchen to sitting room and back and deciding I didn’t like that torch, so I carried a hand one instead.  In retrospect, I think I should have persisted – though with the light of others’ head torches, we managed to get to our first checkpoint and waved and flashed our lights to guide the second group home.


I wasn’t looking forward to climbing up Cringle Moor, but in fact we skirted it, picking our way carefully trying not to fall in the drains and just grateful that at least the stones were dry. We collectively shuddered at the thought of rain or ice and then reached our second checkpoint where hot drinks and sweet things were served. With the temperature having noticeably dropped, I successfully managed to blag my way into the warm of the support van on account of my age!


Then, having managed the ascent reasonably well up to Round Hill, I knew the dreadfully boring stretch to Bloworth and the Old Railway lay ahead, but I was looking forward to seeing dawn break.  No chance though, as by then we were engulfed with bitingly cold early morning mist! Since I live below the railway, I’d seen what the previous few mornings had been like and decided, thankfully, to wear my thermal trousers and then change into light summer ones when the temperature rose. (However, as the temperature rose later in the day, I forgot to change, and I got so hot that salty sweat dripped constantly into my eyes!)


We eventually cut off the railway, and after some considerable guide pondering on the right unmarked route, we eventually trudged rather wearily along the road to Rosedale Head until seeing the support van loom out of the mist and I again had no compunction in playing my second Joker to get a seat in the warm. The rest of the group were visibly shivering.


After setting off, I made sure that I gave due obeisance to Fat Betty, though thankfully she turned down the remains of my ‘Trekking Bar’ in my pocket.  We were excited and nervous about the ‘boggy section’ to come, which afterwards, our guides said was the driest they had known it. It didn’t seem dry to us, as most of us ended up with having to change out of our soggy socks at checkpoint four!  I attended to what I thought might turn into blisters – my only physical problem during the walk.


It was at this checkpoint, I think, that the leading group decided to stock up on the pile of just cooked bacon into the rolls provided.  I pounced, overfilled my butty, grabbed a seat and called out my order for a cup of tea. And I gobbled it down.


I’ve never been very good at exercising after eating!


Dave, the guide at the front, pointed out the Blue Man-i-th’-Moss to me and we then speeded up to catch up with one ‘mountain hare’ in front.  I wasn’t feeling too good, and then just behind the leading pair, I threw up.  ‘That delicious bacon butty’ I thought, but immediately felt better and caught them up, saying proudly, like a six year old, ‘I’ve just been sick!’ They were duly solicitous, but I felt much better and we motored on.


Before Simon Howe I was sick again, and again felt a lot better. Then, excitingly, there was a chance of seeing the Moors Railway train pass in front of us so of course we ran, just to see a wisp of smoke in the deep embankment below as the phantom train trundled towards the coast.


And so to checkpoint five and another long wait for the others in our group to catch up in order that we could leave together.


There was a pull up towards Lilla Cross and it was soggy and energy sapping as I remember and just before that landmark from where the finish of the walk can be seen, I did something I’ve heard about, but never experienced either as a participant or as an observer… I projectile vomited almost the whole of the bacon butty that remained in my gut.  I was no longer in the front group at this point, but just with my lovely daughter and Charlie, the son of my local MP, Kevin Hollinrake (a great supporter of the cause we were walking for). At least I was useful in adding to his life-learning experiences and because of that thought, and with a blissfully empty stomach, I now felt good again, and as traumatised Charlie waited for his parents, the pair of us powered on.  However, it felt, for my daughter and me, a long way to the next checkpoint, wherever it was!


We had again, quite a long wait before setting off on the home run towards the mast that appeared to never come any closer.  But, after the slog up Jugger Howe, of course it did, simply by putting one foot in front of the other. (If David Allen  is your guide in the future, do not ask him how far it is to the end, because his 1/8 mile turned out to be 1.5 miles – though I put that down to his inspiring motivational skills!)


At the end, my daughter reminded me to touch the final LWW coffin stone – otherwise I wouldn’t have completed the crossing and presumably, would have had to turn round and go back to Osmotherley!


It was great.  We were elated.  We had done it (17 hours and 43 minutes) and we cheered in the rest of our group that followed.


I know we all felt emotional at the end because we had pushed ourselves both physically and mentally.  We had hit our personal walls at various stages but had climbed over with difficulty and dogged determination. We had passed!


Oh, and there’s still life in this old dog. The walk didn’t put me in a coffin – though that would have been pleasingly symbolic!


PS:  When can we do it again?



Sue Mumford




Crossing of one Stephen Scorer on May 30th 2018.

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Just before sunrise on the morning of May 30th, 2018, a figure was seen to skulk out of The Golden Lion public house and stagger across to the churchyard. A black and white cat is believed to have been the only witness to the doleful deeds that transpired prior to the departure of this soul.


As the church clock tolled at 4.30, I left the church yard, walking up North End and was quickly consumed by a motionless and mournful mist. The dam at Cod Beck stood like a gothic pile as I pushed on towards the stone marking the beginning of my journey to the other side.


Soon enough, the tombstone like marker emerged from the mist, the letters, LYKE WAKE WALK, scored into one side. The trial was about to begin.

Soon I entered Clain Wood, paying respects to Mr Cowley as I passed through. In the depths of the wood I felt a tingling trickle down my spine. I was sure that someone, something was watching me. I kept on walking deeper into the wood and saw a tall, dark apparition appear in the fog. I walked closer in silence, was it a bush, an animal another being? Suddenly, cloven hooves propelled a deer into the trees.

Progress to the Carlton Bank trig point was good, I kept my head down, focussing on the few feet of path I could see. As I dropped down to Lord Stones, the mist lifted a little and I could see some of the new buildings by the path.

On Kirby Bank, I sat in Mr Falconer’s seat, looking out into thick fog. The plaque said optimistically that Penshaw Monument, a landmark near my childhood home, was directly in front of me. Sadly, I would have to enjoy this view another day.

Dropping down to the Broughton plantation, pine trees were covered in a phantasmagoria of mist bejeweled webs until suddenly, I found myself in a wasteland, smashed branches and tyre ploughed earth showed a recent harvest churning the earth in a mass of destruction.

Heading up to the old train track, the wind stiffened, blowing thick mist like wet smoke across the track. As the wind gusted from the north and from the east, the cold wet seeped in to me, penetrating waterproofs and chilling. I pressed on along the interminable track, unable to see much around me. The track seemed to go on for ever until, eventually, I hit the junction and car park at Little Blakeley. I’d totally missed the turning to The Lion Inn and had to walk along the road. Annoyed at myself for missing the turning, soaking wet, cold and hungry, I almost walked past the inn. I happened to look up and noticed a light in the mist, I then saw the sign and found my way into the warm heart of the Lion at 1130.

After two hours in front of a fire, drying out, warming up, drinking hot chocolate and eating chips I was ready to set off for what I knew would be the more difficult part of the journey.

By this point, my phone was on its last legs, a heavy power pack I had been carrying to try to feed the device had failed and the charger lead had also died. I wanted to keep the little power my phone had left for emergencies so I knew that for the rest of the journey I was to be totally alone.regardless at 1330 I set out once more into the mist, refreshed but concerned about the infamous bogs and worried about my ability to navigate safely in such conditions.

I carefully picked my way across Glaisdale and White Moors. The roman road on Wheeldale was particularly spooky in the mist. At Goathland Moor, I had to work hard to keep out of Little Eller Beck. At Lilla Cross, I was amazed to see a clear cycleway leading me clearly into the mist but sadly, this didn’t last long. The tyre tracks in the ground got my wondering ‘who on earth would cycle across these moors?’

As I approached Jugger Howe, the mist seemed to miraculously clear. I saw a fence ahead with a sign saying Jenny Fell…..poor Jenny – I hope she didn’t do herself an injury. I crossed the beck and had a fantastic view of the steps up onto the moor. Gee thanks!

Once up the steps, down came the mist and the final slog to the mast and the Ravenscar stone. Throughout the walk I had seen very little apart from the track in front of me. As I approached Ravenscar, I was sure I saw the mast several times to find that I was actually looking at trees. I’m sure I was attended by phantom visitations several times in my mist bound crossing but was sadly unaware as I pressed on, desperate to get to the warmth of Raven Hall.

Finally, I saw the mast appear out of the mist. As I passed, I touched the Ravenscar LWW stone and a few seconds later, my watch that had been tracking my walk gave up the ghost. Exhausted after 17 hours 24 minutes and 38 seconds of tracking my movements. It said I had walked 44.68 miles and was later to give me a route map of my crossing to the other side. It was 9 50 pm and still light……just about.

I walked down to Raven Hall where I had booked a bed for the night and checked in, wet through and tired but incredibly exhilarated to have completed a journey I had wanted to make for years. Please do graciously consider my request to be accepted as a Dirger after walking alone and unsupported from The Golden Lion, past the Osmotherley Lyke Wake Stone to the Ravenscar stone in 17 hours 25 minutes. A journey accompanied by dense mist at all times apart from the descent to the stream at the foot of Jugger Howe.