Sunday, 19 June 2011

Lyke Wake Walk 2011

Operation Lyke Wake Walk

Date - Friday 17th June 2011
Distance - 41 miles
Aim - Complete the 41 mile walk unassisted
Target - Try and Average 3.5 mph whilst walking
Finish Time - 13 hrs 5 minutes including rest periods
Team - Gary Dunn and Jon Leete

The 41 mile route of the Lyke Wake Walk

The Start  to Checkpoint 1 (Lord Stones Cafe) We arrived earlier than planned for our 4.30am start, the sun was not yet up but it was light with a cool breeze so as far as we were concerned the weather was perfect. Myself and Jon both commented on how surprised we were at the weight of our back packs which weighed 21lb or more  but at least they would get lighter as we ate and drank the bulk weight of our packages. After a few photo's of the start we departed at 4.13am and seeing as we had opted to take the hardmans route and tackle all the hills on offer we went straight up the steep incline from the Lyke Wake Stone. After some undulating terrain taking in moor land and forest tracks it was time for the first big climb of the day known as the  devils staircase which leads to the top of Carlton Bank. The hard work put in up that climb was well worth it as we were greeted with the sun rising over the hills in the distance just to the right of Roseberry Topping. From the trig point it was a simple walk down the rough stone steps to our first checkpoint of the day.

Sun rise with Roseberry Topping just to the left

Looking Back at Hasty Bank
Lord Stones to Clay Bank  We passed staright through checkpoint 1 to make our way up the next long steep climbs of Cringle Moor, Cold Moor and up Hasty Bank passing the Wain Stones. Having run up those climbs in fell races it actually felt harder to be walking up them,  due to spending more time on each of the climbs. With the hard work of climbing completed we then made our way down Hasty Bank to the next Checkpoint at the roadside  at Clay Bank. 10 miles completed.

Clay Bank to Ralph Cross T-Junction   Clay Bank made for an ideal place to stop to eat drink and change our socks. There wasn't any need to change our socks but prevention of getting any blisters seemed a great idea rather than having to suffer later on. We made our way up Round Hill which seemed quite easy with fresh feet and being refueled and it was a pleasant relief to reach the top and look back at the hills we had just concurred. With the hill work behind us it was time to make up time and crack on at a good pace and in no time we soon encountered the old railway line. Having joked about the walk saying it should be really easy especially as we were doing it on quads it was comical to come across one parked up in the middle of the moors, I told Jon to jump on it so I could I take his photo but he made do with leaning on it as the digger driver in the distance kept a keen eye on us, obviously he didn't fancy a long walk himself if his quad went missing. The Lion Inn at 19.5 miles made for an ideal stopping place to change our socks once again  and take on more fuel so that is exactly what we did in the beer garden of the pub. The mile or so tarmac road from the pub to Ralph's Cross felt a doddle and with half the walk completed we both felt in good shape.

Fat Betty
Ralph Cross to Shunner Howe  From Ralph Cross it was a short walk again on tarmac to Fat Betty which is a distinctive Boundry Stone but we soon turned and started to cross the bogs towards Shunner Howe. We soon gave up trying to jump and dodge the boggy sections and waded straight through them, it might of been a bit wet but the soft ground under foot felt fantastic. We arrived at Shunner Howe Trig point and took 5 minutes to take photo's and refuel and looking back now we probably should of had a sock change there.

Jon at Shunner Howe Trig Point
Blue Man - 'I -th' Moss
Shunner Howe to Ellerbeck Bridge This was described in the LWW booklet as a hard section due to the  hard going under foot and fatigue setting in. And to be honest that is exactly what it was like, the rock strewn path made it just about impossible to look around and admire the scenery and map reading became a bit of a hazard as well as I made big stumbling leaps every time I glanced at the damned thing. I called out to Jon that was point man to go staright on when we hit the road junction and on arriving at the road he questioned straight away about taking the path straight ahead as it veered off to the right. I pointed in the direction we should be heading for and I agreed with Jon that the path ahead appeared to be wrong. We decided to head Northwards to look for another path and within 100 metres we found one and decided that was the correct one, it was supposed to be inline with some boundry stones which we couldn't see but it looked good. In no time we spotted a boundry stone ahead and made our way confidently uphill towards the Blue Man -'I-th' Moss which is another great land mark / boundry stone  on the North York Moors to help you locate your exact position. After the hard slog, aching feet and a blip in orinteering it was a good feeling to see this little blue chap painted onto a large stuck up stone in the middle of nowhere. The going was not much better than what we had just experienced and we trundled on towards Simon Howe and into a ravine where we crossed a river by stepping stones, it would of been an iddylic place to take 2 minutes or more but we pressed on as the thought of paddling in the cool stream at Ellerbeck becmame more important than anything else at that stage of the walk. And believe me I was more than pleased when we arrived at the checkpoint at Ellerbeck with just over 32 miles completed.
Ravenscar Mast
 Ellerbeck to Jugger Howe  Dangling our feet in the cold stream whilst snacking felt so good I could of stayed there for the rest of the day and we probably stopped there longer than we should of. It was hard setting off again after a long rest as my joints had started to stiffen up but my feet felt strangely fantastic as they were clean, dry and had fresh socks on them. We skirted around the RAF Fylingdales base and made for Illa Cross at the top of the hill behind the pyramid of Fylingdales where we knew the view of the mast at Ravenscar awaited us. The finishing stone is right near the mast so once you have that mast locked in your sights it really does drive you on and puts that missing spring back into your feet. We went into overdrive from Illa Cross and forced marched towards Jugger Howe we were averaged over 4 mph.

Finish Lyke Wake Stone
Jugger Howe to The Finishing Stone  Jugger Howe is a steep ravine and going up the steep bank on the far side I didn't ease up and Jon even though he was saying he was on his last legs kept up with the pace no problem which just left the final 3 miles to do. The mast didn't look 3 miles away and after checking my stop watch a sub 13 hour crossing seemed like it was within our grasp, we drove on uphill towards the mast with me still trying to average 4 mph but it soon became clear 13 hours was not on but our pre-planned 13hours 5 minutes was and that was what we targeted. Finaly 13 hours 4 minutes after we had started  we touched that marvelous little scruffy Lyke Wake Stone at Ravenscar. A great challenge completed and what a day it was, a  day I will never forget. Thanks to the Lyke Wake Walk and thanks to team mate Jon and also to his wife Margret for the lift home afterwards.


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