The Lyke Wake Walk in May
Q. Dear Editor,
I represent a group of people who would like to attempt the Lyke Wake walk in May.
Could you recommend any publications to assist in the organising of this?
Gerald Kennedy, Hull
A. The Lyke Wake walk is a classic route devised by Bill Cowley in 1955 and is coincident with parts of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk and The Cleveland Way.
The challenge is to walk the 63km (39 miles) from Osmotherley to Ravenscar, North Yorkshire in less than 24 hours.
Sadly, so many people have attempted this challenge (up to 15,000 people in May and June alone in some summers), that the path has suffered from severe erosion.
Alternative challenges have been created to spread the load - namely the Hambleton Hobble (31 miles), The Lyke Wake Way (50 miles) and The Shepherd's Round (40 miles).
There is some good news though. These days The Lyke Wake Walk is far less popular - less than 500 people a year are attempting it - and the paths are slowly recovering.
A. There have been several guidebooks written over the years. To fully appreciate the Lyke Wake Walk you need to be aware of the Walk's origins and the associated Lyke Wake Club which are described in the Guidebooks. The Walk takes its name from the Lyke Wake Dirge a local funeral hymn in this part of Yorkshire. The Dirge describes the passage of the Soul over a difficult moor as a trial after death when the deceased's good deeds (or lack of them!!) are assessed and the soul's ultimate fate determined. It is worth memorising at least a verse or two to recite along the way when you do this walk (particularly at night). It starts: 'This 'ere neet, this 'ere neet, Ivvery neet an' all. Fire an' fleet an' candle leet, And Christ tek up thy soul. When thou frae hence away art passed. Ivvery neet an all, To Whinnie Moor thou comes at last, And Christ tek up thy soul. .....'. ) The culture of the Lyke Wake Club which is based on the Dirge & local Yorkshire folklore check out the LWW wiki page, the LW Club website (www.Lykewake.org). Or better still get hold of an early edition (1960s or 70s are best) of the book by Bill Cowley - Lyke Wake Walk: 40 Miles across the Yorkshire Moors (Dalesman Books); the more modern guides don't capture as well as these early editions the ethos of the Walk. Cheap copies of Bill Cowley's book are available on internet (try Abe Books, not Amazon -too expensive). In May this year to celebrate the Walk's 60th anniversary BBC Radio 4 Rambings did a section of the Walk (podcast available)
Ian Evans, Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England
A. Each July there is a foot race ... I manged a sub 9 hour this year - very boggy for that last half of the race.
Mike D-h, Doncaster
A. Planning this trip with hubby - but we wimping out an staying over at The Lion Inn the first night. [We haved] walked from Osmotherly to Clay Bank so know that part off by heart but a little worried about the second half. Is it worse or about that same as first half?
Shannon , Tyne An Wear
A. Sorry for the delay in replying but had a whole lot of sponsor money to sort out (did it for Dove house). What a fantastic walk . . . only one out of the group failed with only about 12 miles left to go. We did it in 17.5 hours and i'm hoping to do it at least once a year until i can`t do it anymore.
Paul Baitson, Hull
A. Just keep heading east. Seriously, most of the walk is relatively easy to follow. Follow Cleveland Way signs up to Bloworth crossing (there are alternative routes) and the old rail track to the Lion. Follow the road round past Fat Betty (stone) then from here it can start to get tricky but you now have 20 miles under your belt. At a point on the road approx opposite to the Lion just past a junction. (I think 2 miles from the Lion) you should see a worn path across the moors, on the road painted a long time ago as LWW, follow the path ahead here. The rest is not so easy to explain.
Terence Ennis, Hull
A. i also have been asked to lead a group of work mates on the The Lyke Wake Walk.i have many years of walking in my feet but have never led a walk.could you let me have any compass bearings/tips that will help me in the event of bad weather.we intend doing it in a month or so and any help would be great (or better still would you like to come along)
Paul Baitson, Hull
A. Gerald, I have bits and pieces of info about the Lyke Wake - I've done the walk every year since 2000 (twice some years), so can also give a few pointers if needed. Just make sure that you have sufficient support on the walk - its a long way for the inexperienced and people do get exhausted. Neil.
Neil Sorensen, Hull