A Hiking Challenge: The Lyke Wake Walk

posted in: Bucket List, Outdoors, Travel | 13

One of the biggest challenges I have set myself this year is to complete the Lyke Wake Walk. I shall be doing the walk in June with a couple of other blogger friends who also love to hike. Why? Because it sounds like fun – we want to do it and we think we can. And as I rediscovered last summer, hiking is something that makes me feel alive.

Zoe on the Viking Way

Walking. The best way to see the countryside.

The Lyke Wake Walk LogoThe Lyke Wake Walk is a complete crossing of the North Yorkshire moors between the Ordnance Survey trig point on Scarth Wood Moor near Osmotherley, and Ravenscar on the east coast (North Sea). It is approximately 40-42 miles and includes all kinds of terrain thanks to the nature of moorland, oh and 5,000 metres of ascent along the way.

The classic route will take us from Scarth Wood Moor trig point or Sheepwash car park; summit track from Live Moor over Carlton Moor, Cringle Moor, Cold Moor and Hasty Bank; Smuggler’s Trod, Bloworth; Ironstone Railway; Esklets or South Flat Howe or Lion Inn; White Cross (Fat Betty); Shunner Howe; Hamer; Blue Man-i’-th-Moss; Wheeldale Stepping Stones; Fen Bogs; Eller Beck; Lilla Howe; Jugger Howe ravine; Stony Marl Moor; Beacon Howes or Ravenscar. Walking from west to east will mean the prevailing wind will be behind us, and also means the major ascents are in the first 10 miles (getting them over and done with!).

If we manage the walk within 24 hours, which is the challenge, we will become members of the Lyke Wake Club – as I am female I will become a Witch of the moors! I am told the average time for walkers is 12 hours (or just 5 hours for runners!); we think we will need 15-18 hours to complete it, which is still well within the time given and leaves us a little time for a nap should we decide we need one.

Me with my Osprey Tempest 20 Pack

Walking along the Viking Way.

If you’ve been following Splodz Blogz for any length of time you will know I love a good hike. But so far my hiking has taken me a maximum of a little over 26 miles in one go. I have done the marathon distance a few times over recent years – Spires and Steeples, Yorkshire Three Peaks, London Moonwalk and also the Seabank Marathon if you go back a little while. Part of my head believes that adding another 14 miles to that will be no problem at all… after all it is just one foot in front of the other, and I have never got to the end and collapsed in a heap on the floor. But the rest of my head knows that 40 miles (65 kilometres) is quite a large step-up from a marathon, and one that I am doing my best to not take lightly.

I’m planning a number of training hikes to give my legs a decent chance. I did a gentle 11 mile walk along the Viking Way to get me started a couple of weeks ago and I’ve “booked” dates in my diary for a few more. At Easter I am going to walk from Lincoln to Boston along the water railway (also on my bucket list), which will be my longest walk to date at around 33 miles., although now I’ve realise Easter is less than a month away I’m a little concerned it will be too much too soon – so I’ll let you know how that goes! I’m also doing a squat challenge at the moment that I’m hoping will strengthen my legs and core – every little helps!

Walking along Kinder Scout

Hiking Kinder Scout last summer, and reminding myself why I love hiking.

Based on what others have told me so far I am expecting my mind to play a massive role in the success of this hiking challenge. However fit I am come June my body will only do what my brain tells it to, and so making sure that I am armed with lots of motivating techniques will be vital. Minfulness will help; I did a six week course before Christmas and have found it incredibly helpful since then (although I am particularly bad at taking time every day for this). Music may also play a role. Of course, doing the challenge with a couple of other people will help for sure – we will be able to look after each other.

Oh and I will be brushing up on my navigation skills between now and then, as apparently the route is quite difficult to find in some places and it will inevitably be dark for part of it. As a former Scout Leader I’m confident that once upon a time I could find my way using a map and compass with no problem whatsoever, and teach young people to do the same, but as with all skills you forget things when you don’t practice them regularly. If you see me out on a really obvious trail clutching onto my Explorer Map and compass please don’t laugh (or worry), I’m just checking! Making sure I’ve got the right kit (and I’m used to using it all) will be important, too.

Spires and Steeples Challange - Crossing the finish line!

Finishing the Spires and Steeples Challenge, October 2014.

Finally, to further help my preparation for this hike, I’m looking to chat with people who have already completed it, or who have done other similar hikes. I’m looking for your advice! How long did it take? What was it like? What training did you do? What did you wear? What was in your kit bag? Did you lose your toenails? Did you take a nap along the route? What did you eat? Did it make you cry?! Please get in touch – either comment below or drop me a message via my contact page.

I am an ordinary girl with very average fitness, who works full time and has a busy life leaving limited time for proper training – I hope I am not kidding myself with this challenge! I know I need to make the Lyke Wake Walk my focus for the next three months (eek, not long!) to give me the best chance of getting to the finish with a smile on my face. I love walking and hiking and want to do more; this seems like a pretty good way to make sure I do.

Find out more about the Lyke Wake Walk at The New Lyke Wake Club.


13 Responses

  1. Shybiker

    Wow! Good for you! I’ve heard of this walk — my friend Maura lives in Wales and hikes all around Europe. She recommends it and I know the pleasures of walking through nature. I hope you enjoy yourself.

    • Splodz

      Thanks Ally! I love that you’ve heard of this from the other side of the pond. Would be great to hear from your friend Maura if she has any tips for me for a hike of this distance, I am going to need all the help I can get!

  2. MargotBarbara

    I’d definitely agree that a lot of it is to do with your mind – as you get closer to the coast, you’re able to see landmarks which never, ever seem to get any closer! Together with lots of up & downs towards the end, it can get a bit disheartening. (I’ll admit, I cried during this bit of the challenge) but all of a sudden, you’ll realise that you’re nearly there. I wasn’t hugely fit when I did the walk – it sounds like you’ll have done more prep than I did – but so much of it is just about your strength of mind to keep putting one foot in front of the other! Mindfulness exercises to keep you in the moment sound like an excellent idea! Far better that than doing what I did, and thinking about how far we’d still got to go all the time…
    Wishing you all the good luck x

    • Splodz

      Thank you for that. I am honestly expecting there to be tears – I don’t think you are unusual in that emotion plays havoc with our mind when we are doing something physically exhausting. I am really hoping for a clear day so I can see all those landmarks up ahead, I think that will help a lot.

  3. Miss Tulip

    Glad your confident with a compass! I’m not! Really need to get some practice and learn properly. And you have lots of long walks planned to train! I really need to do this too! I plan to jog three times a week as soon as it is light on a morning or an evening (at the moment it’s too dark when I get up and dark when I get home).

    I fear the mental battle you have discussed. Of course, I have had that feeling of hopelessness and frustration but I haven’t experienced it in a walking situation really so that worries me. The last 2 miles of the Yorkshire Three Peaks were hard because my feet hurt so much but my brain was still loving it. I think this walk will be a new challenge for me and I look forward to that- that’s why I want to do it.

    I can’t wait!

    Miss Tulip x
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

    • Splodz

      I really do need to brush up on my compass skills… Just in case! Looking forward to the challenge, it’ll be a proper adventure.

  4. Heather

    Brand new to hiking myself. This sounds like an amazing adventure and I wish you all the luck! I hope to read about it in the future! Take in every moment and the big ones will come when you get there!

    • Splodz

      Hello Heather. New to hiking hey? You’ll fall in love with it in no time and will be getting out on more and more awesome walks in the countryside. You’re right about taking each moment – life is all about the journey, our memories of the little things are often as important as the big.

  5. Iain

    Hi. I did the LWW 2 years ago in a time of 16hrs 22mins. We didn’t sprint over but at the same time we didn’t dawdle either. Started at 11.15pm in the pitch black and finished at 15.37 the following day in glorious sunshine!
    We had a support driver which made life easier as we didn’t have to carry rucksacks and he met us at each of the checkpoints with a nice brew.
    The route itself is fairly straightforward but be careful on the first section after entering the plantation to take the path down to the left off the main path (easy to miss – especially in the dark).
    Very best of luck with it and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.


    • Splodz

      Awesome – well done Iain – and thanks for the tips about the path. We were thinking of starting at dawn and hopefully finishing by sunset, which would mean really getting a wiggle on but definitely preferable than doing it in the dark. If you have any other tips or suggestions I’m all ears, I’m going to need all the help I can get!! Thanks x

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