Slithery Crossing. 12th September 2022. Phil Renshaw & Andrea McCartney

September 14th, 2022

It is with deep regret that I can report a successful crossing by myself, Philip Renshaw and Andrea McCartney.

Start time 12pm Sunday September 11th 2022
Finish time 6pm (ish) Monday September 12th
Crossing time 18 hours

With the Church of St. Peter calling 12 bells we set out from Osmotherley with hope and resolve
and for the following five hours of darkness the wind blew a hooligan, the rain drove at us unrelentingly from all sides
but the hope and resolve held.
The unsuitability of Andrea’s lighting arrangements in the face of the conditions became alarmingly apparent on the steep and slippy descent from Carlton Bank, making for slow and cautious downward progress under the guidance of the one headlamp and with further occasional pauses on the exposed sections of the high banks of the Cleveland Hills where the wind sought to hurl us plunging to our doom, the clock was against us.
Dawn crept reluctantly over the moors from the East and with the familiar sights of Ingleby Incline and Bloworth Crossing appearing through the swirling clouds we pressed hard on hoping to make up for lost time. Leaving the old ironstone railway to cross to Young Ralph however it was evident that the peat and water had other ideas.
Eventually and after a short pause to pose with Fat Betty for a selfie we splashed and flailed our way over Cock Head Moor to meet with Andy our trusted support at Hamer House. Thus briefly fortified with cheery conversation, vitals and tea we struck out to meet the Blue Man int’moss and the crossing to Wheeldale. The sun even put in a half-hearted appearance as if by way of encouragement.
Our wet sock marinated feet were by now starting to burn as if we were walking on bees and at Ellerbeck we opted for a foot soak and a sock change while the kettle boiled and the coffee brewed.
Gaining the high point of Lilla Howe the mast at Ravenscar could be seen on the far horizon…a horizon that stayed afar and that never came one yard closer than it had to until we were almost on it. As if by call of symmetry the rain returned and mobbed by loquacious sheep we stumbled, cursed and limped like hob foot pigeons down to the bar of the Raven’s Hall Hotel, where the price of the beer amply distracted from the pain of the feet and we hopefully provided
a worthy topic of conversation for the gathering dinner guests.

We thoroughly enjoyed loathing every single second of it and will be back for a return crossing in hopefully more clement weather.

Phil Renshaw

Crossing of Old : 23rd/24th February 1975

September 11th, 2022

This is to record a crossing by staff and pupils from St Michael’s School, Stevenage, Herts. This took place over the west to east “classic route” on 23rd/24th February 1975 so I along with the other pupils were in what was then called the 6th form. I think this would be year 13 in modern parlance.

From memory we camped at the Lion Inn. The teachers took us to Osmotherley in the school minibus in the early hours of 23rd February to sign in and begin the arduous trek. We were met by the minibus at points where the trail crossed serviceable roads and were fed and watered appropriately.

We concluded our 17.5 hour marathon at the classic route end point of the bar at the Raven Hall Hotel, arriving just after midnight so the first few minutes of 24th February.

Conversation points through the route included the state of our feet after 40 miles of walking through bogs; Johnny Cash (one of our number was a big Cash fan); and the lack of adequate sanitary arrangements on open moorland. Usual eclectic mix of topics for a bunch of 1970s sixth formers!

Physics teacher and party leader: Les Debenham.
Sixth formers: Myself (Geoff Plucknett) and Mick Quinn (the Johnny Cash fan).

Year Month Day Establishment / Person 1st Repeat
1975 February 23 St. Michaels School, Stevenage.                           ( L.H. Debenham ). 10 1