Thought I’d share the experience of doing the walk through pictures. As you look, bear in mind the distance ‘between the posts’ is 42 miles(67km) and in order to be able to claim a successful crossing it has to be completed within 24 hours elapsed! I tend to do it unsupported, which means we carry everything we need and once we start we finish… their is an option to have a support team which tends to be used a lot by groups to allow people to drop out for whatever reason (as well as minimise the amount of kit that needs to be carried!_. Its a hard walk, but well worth the effort. You can find more information at the Lyke Wake Walk website.
Vane house is the place I stay in when I do the walk – I usually get there on a Friday around mid-summers day to maximise the day light. Off to the start (about a mile and a half) to the start post. I usually set off around 7:30pm and aim to finish early the following afternoon.
Head off down the road, heading to the entrance to Coalmire/Clain wood. The entrance is marked by a very encouraging sign(not)
39 miles to go.. though the wood to the first track split.
A boggy stye sets the tone for the rest of the walk
Across to Huthwaite Green, being careful to leave any gates as we find them
Through the gate at Swainby – helpful telephone box if you’ve had enough already!
Along the bottom of the wood, to the steps where we start to the long climb up to Carlton Bank.
Doesnt look like much, but with a full pack – its an early challenge! Its usually at this point I wonder why I am doing this..
So.. up the steps and follow the slabs.. the slabbed route forms part of the Cleveland Way which in turn forms part of the Coast to Coast. The views are spectacular especially if you can be there around sunset.. being high gives a terrific view.
Heading towards Carlton Bank, you can see the Gliding club buildings, then we descend down to the Lord Stones Cafe.
As you walk down you pass the remains of excavations where Jet was extracted. Spectacular scenery as you descend.. the colours of the clouds are always interesting.
Two choices once you’re at the bottom, go round (MUCH easier) or Over the TOP (you can see the path heading up in the picture). Apart from the first time I did the walk, when I nearly walked off a cliff(!) I always now go round.. its much easier.
Once you’re through the trail through the forest, you come to a small bench which is always useful to have a break at – then carry on down to the road at ClayBank. What goes down needs to go up……
The climb starts off fairly gentle but ends up in some very steep, slippery steps… but the view once you’re up is amazing (this is similar to the seperate pic I posted from Urra Moor) – same location.
From here, its somewhat of a slog to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. The route follows a dismantled railway line, which is hard on the feet as its compressed cinders – it seems to go on for miles as it follows the valley contours – this section I normally do overnight. The Lion Inn is a welcome site – this is just under halfway.
This section suffers at times by low cloud. I got this far once and decided it was too dangerous to carry on, so had to backtrack.. by the time I got back to Osmotherley I had done 28 miles.
The Lion Inn is a welcome site, especially if you can time your walk so that you get their as it opens or through the day,, the beer and food is excellent.
I should also say that its not uncommon for this pub to be snowed in through winter ( 8 day lock in ) I have to say I can think of worse places to be stranded!
From here, rested, we set off to follow the road round to the next jumping off place….
The route goes round Rosedale Head and follows the road for a while until the track is picked up again as it heads off across the moor, crossing The George Gap causeway, descending into a challenging bog(you can see the path in and out, the rest you have to find for yourselves). If its been raining its an exercise in wading….
Once past this section, the route crosses Wheeldale moor.. another challenge(the route is shown by cairns of stones left by previous ‘Dirgers'(walkers)). Easy to take a bad step and hurt your leg in a pothole. One of the highlights is the ‘Blue-man-i-th-Moss’, a standing stone. Once the road is crossed, you get a view of Wheeldale Beck.
The beck is crossed by stepping stones which make the crossing easier – unless their has been heavy rain(it has been known for the stepping stones to be completely submerged which makes things a whole lot more interesting). Once up the other side, you climb up onto Howl Moor. Over the tumuli known as Simon Howe, the descend down to Fen Bog, where the route crosses the track of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Up from here the route crosses a very busy road,
From here the route follows the perimeter fence of a RAF installation(when I’ve done this section at night is not unusual to have a conversation with the Military Police…!). From here the route crosses a boggy stretch to Lilla Cross on Lilla Howe…
From here, the beacon marking the finish point can be seen, but its still several miles away!
One final challenge is the Jugger Howe ravine….not what you need when by now you’ve done close to 40 miles across challenging terrain.
Since I took this pic the descent/ascent has been made much easier by steps being built. Their was a case where a group of walkers got this far then had to call out the RAF rescue Helicopter as two of the walkers were completely exhausted..(North Yorks Moors Rescue). This walk has a sting in its tail. I should say that at his point the group were only 2 or 3 miles from the finish.
The beacon isnt high.. but it takes a long time to reach it.. especially after walking through the night… but.. here’s the finish…
If you’ve made it this far I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.. what are you waiting for? Thanks for reading.