Alan Winter from Cambridge, Crossing West to East, 4/5 August 2015

Remembered I had never done the Lyke Wake when I was young and it was new.
Train to Northallerton and bus to Osthmotherly, ready to start walking at 12-30 but that’s much too soon. Strolled past the Youth Hostel and up the east side of the reservoir; admired the posters telling us not to bathe in cold water: still too soon. Wasted forty minutes till 2-00 then took a selfie (memo … must practise selfies) near the Lyke Wake stone and set off along the road.
Lovely: spectacular walk along the north edge of the Cleveland Hills, following signs for the Cleveland Way (which we did with my children when they were small …. honestly can’t remember the ground at all). I was caught in the open by a sharp shower near the Wain Stones but could see it coming from miles away so wrapped up in a space blanket and waited it out for fifteen minutes. Very VERY glad that Carr Ridge was the last steep ascent! Easy walking then along the road and the old railway for many, many miles. Looking from the railway embankment at the ghastly (from a walker’s point of view) terrain I felt enormous gratitude to the engineers and navvies who made this level way. Heart sank a little when my telescope revealed the red roof way up on the skyline, hence identifying the Lion Inn, target for the day and reached on schedule at 9-00 … another half hour it would have been darker and harder to find. Dinner (nice) and bed (comfortable) at the Lion but alas no breakfast because with sunrise at 5-20 I was on my way before five.
Round the roads to the very clear and welcome LWW sign just pass the Fryup Turn. I remember cycling on these roads for a long week when I was twelve and my sister ten (you wouldn’t let your children do that now, it’s a real loss). I had been worried by Much Talk of the Boggy Section but it wasn’t worse than I’ve met often enough in the Pennines and, this time, never more than ankle deep: aim straight towards that wonderful barrow on the skyline assisted by the boundary markers. The moors were teeming with grouse, and I got close to one large raptor, possibly a Hen Harrier.
Wheeldale with childhood memories (the Lodge used to be a Youth Hostel) then up and aim left of that astonishing building which has replaced the golf balls … from this side it looks like a gigantic sandcastle … keeps getting bigger as you approach … you never reach it. I heard a steam train go by and saw the steam and the smoke, but just too late to see the train itself.
Checkpoint 5 at 10-00 and from the Guide Book “there is only seven miles to complete now”. Hey even I can do seven miles in four hours, there’s an hour to spare, but I promptly get lost going up Lilla Rigg: saved by the Guide Book, the Road (WHY is it pointing due north?) and Lilla Cross: reckon I have squandered a half hour but probably can still make it. No more navigational issues because the path is so clear and in any case it points directly towards the only radio mast in sight. Keep reminding myself not to dawdle and get to the Trig Point at 1-38, twenty minutes to spare … good job I’d waited for those forty minutes at the start!
Before setting out I had wondered about staying at Raven Hall and leaving at first light to walk back to Osmotherly but I now decide NO WAY! I see the last bus to Scarborough vanish along the road so call a cab (you might think of putting some telephone numbers into the guidebook, but there was a directory in the phone booth at the boundary of Ravenscar). And so to York and home in time for dinner.

Thank you for providing this challenge and for the Guide Book which makes it possible.

One Response to “Alan Winter from Cambridge, Crossing West to East, 4/5 August 2015”

  1. Ian Evans says:

    Yes indeed, I think every Witch & Dirger has said a prayer of thanks for the fast, easy miles of the railway track. However, it is worth noting when Bill Cowley, the Chief Dirger, issued his original challenge in the Dalesman of August 1955, his suggested route was to traverse Stoney Ridge to the north of the railway track. I’ve never heard of a LWW Crossing that has forgone the railway for Stoney Ridge. (On a New Year’s Day walk forty years ago I did go up there from Bloworth and remember it was hard work & we chose to return via the railway).