Its been a while .. just what have I been up to?

Its been a while since I posted… since I left my previous employer, life seems to have been very busy. I honestly don’t know how I found the time to work! Things are ticking along from a Gluten-Free/Coeliac perspective. I am still trying to find a real, physical space that I could use to open a shop in, but the costs are prohibitive at the moment. Oh and I have offered my services to Coeliac UK as a governor – waiting to hear what the next steps on that will be. BTW.. if anyone out there knows of an eatable recipe for GF Dumplings I’d love to hear from you! All my attempts have failed miserably so far.

Learning to ride a motorbike. Well the good news is that I passed the theory test. The weather was against me back in February, so its on the agenda to be revisited in April, when hopefully the weather will be kinder. I still plan to be on the road as a fully licenced ‘Biker’ by late summer.

My trip ‘Up North’ is all booked up for me to do the Lyke Wake Walk the day before MidSummers Day (Scary thought eh as we are in early March!).

Finally I am still working on getting my consulting business going – lots of potential.. but its all just potential at the moment.

Have a great week.

Thanks for reading,.

X marks the spot….

Ok, so here’s the picture to support the title đŸ™‚ This was taken around 7am (I think).

DSCN1411

Haven’t been here much lately – since I left my erstwhile employer of getting on for 16 years (IBM) I’ve been a tad busy one way and another. Mysteriously, my wife has a HUGE list of jobs that have suddenly become urgent, plus I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do in the next phase of my ‘career’. Ok, I’ve boiled it down to 3 things..

  1. Keep my technical hands in by doing the occasional piece of freelance technology consultancy… lots to do here with creating a company, setting up accounts etc, Different and something I have never done before.
  2. FINALLY learn to ride a motorbike. Like many when I was young I spent time flying around a field on a bike that was most likely a deathtrap but we didnt care… (thats in the schedule for February).
  3. Something completely outside my comfort zone. I am exploring the possibility of opening a shop to focus on selling Gluten Free produce. (The Norfolk Gluten Free Company have been amazingly helpful.. if you live in or near Norwich and need to buy GF products you should look them up http://norfolkglutenfree.co.uk/ ).

I now feel fit enough to tackle the Lyke Wake Walk again(see a previous post), so thats in the schedule for mid-summer and then as next years birthday  is a major milestone – I am planning on doing a hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya.

Lots to look foward to (and corresponding posts for anyone that wants to follow). Thanks for reading.

The Lyke Wake Walk (In Pictures – the easy way!)

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 B&B

Vane House B&B

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.

LWW Post - Western End

LWW Post – Western End

Head off down the road, heading to the entrance to Coalmire/Clain wood. The entrance is marked by a very encouraging sign(not)

Entrance to Coalmire/Clain Wood

Entrance to Coalmire/Clain Wood

39 miles to go.. though the wood to the first track split.

Well signposted - at the start anyway

Well signposted – at the start anyway

A boggy stye sets the tone for the rest of the walk

ds_05 - a bit wet

Across to Huthwaite Green, being careful to leave any gates as we find them

Scugdale

Scugdale

Through the gate at Swainby – helpful telephone box if you’ve had enough already!

Take the gate on the right

Take the gate on the right

Along the bottom of the wood, to the steps where we start to the long climb up to Carlton Bank.

Steps up to Live Moor

Steps up to Live Moor

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..

Live Moor looking West

Live Moor looking West

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.

Looking East along the top to Carlton Bank

Looking East along the top to Carlton Bank

Heading towards Carlton Bank, you can see the Gliding club buildings, then we descend down to the Lord Stones Cafe.

Descending Carlton Bank

Descending Carlton Bank

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.

Cringle Moor in the distance

Cringle Moor in the distance

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.

Down from Broughton Bank/Broughton Plantation

Down from Broughton Bank/Broughton Plantation

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 start of a steep climb up to the highest point in the walk(450m)

The start of a steep climb up to the highest point in the walk(450m)

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.

Looking back (West)to Broughton Bank with Carlton bank in the distance.

Looking back (West) to Broughton Bank with Carlton bank in the distance.

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.

The route across the top of the moor is clearly visible

The route across the top of the moor is clearly visible

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.

The Lion Inn - a natural rest point!

The Lion Inn – a natural rest point!

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 road to Castleton

The road to Castleton

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.

Wheeldale Beck

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,

Fen Bog

Fen Bog Looking North back to Simon Howe

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…

Lilla Cross

Lilla Cross

From here, the beacon marking the finish point can be seen, but its still several miles away!

You can 'JUST' see the Ravenscar Beacon here..

You can ‘JUST’ see the Ravenscar Beacon here..

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.

Jugger Howe

Jugger Howe

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.

Almost there - the beacon at Ravenscar.

Almost there – the beacon at Ravenscar.

The beacon isnt high.. but it takes a long time to reach it.. especially after walking through the night… but.. here’s the finish…

Thats it

Thats it

If you’ve made it this far I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.. what are you waiting for? Thanks for reading.