Their story, in their words….
Our idea for the Lyke Wake Walk stemmed from the concept that we wanted to chose a realistic yet challenging target. We decided that completing this 70km walk over a 2 day period would be gratifying while also physically and mentally demanding. To begin the planning process, we researched the walk itself to check that there was accommodation at the half way mark, the Lion Inn was the only option for us and was recommended on the website and Lyke Wake Walk book which we also purchased. We next looked for transport between London and the north York moors. Though we tried to search for an overnight coach to eliminate accommodation for the first night, we were unable to find one. We booked the cheapest coach for to take us to Thirsk and the cheapest transport from Ravenscar back to London- which ended up being a late night train. Our next task was to find cheap accommodation near Thirsk which we would stay in for the night before we began our walk. We found a camp site in Osmotherly which offered camping pods; we ensured we could check in late and check out early before booking. We also purchased travel insurance which would cover us for the trip. In terms of equipment, as we are all fairly experienced walkers, we all already owned the necessary equipment, clothing, bags and walking shoes. The day before the trip we went to the supermarket to buy enough food to last us for the trip (looking for off brand options which were high in protein to fill us up). We all made sure to pack clothes appropriate for the warm weather forecast and water bottles of a minimum capacity of 2 litres each. The day before the trip we also used a compass and Lyke Wake Walk book to mark the official route on our OS maps.
Day 1 of our walk began at the Lyke Wake Walk stone near Osmotherly and we set off up into a forest with music playing on our small speaker. After the forest we climbed about 7 consecutive small peaks, which were so steep at some points that we had to scale them with our hands and feet! The hot weather was starting to get to us, we had to apply sun-cream and ensure we all had enough water but as a team we displayed perseverance and shared our water out equally so that no-one would be at risk of becoming dehydrated. It was so hot that at some points we walked through areas of moorland which had clearly burnt very recently. Going up the peaks was tiring, as part of our preparation we learnt to add one extra minute of climbing per 10 metres of height climb, as we were climbing 1500m over both days this was an extra 150 minutes of walking on top of the time for the distance! We took our lunch break after the last peak which was over half-way through. This lasted 30 minutes and was the longest break of the day, it was incredibly rewarding. For the last part of day 1 we walked along an old railway track for 5 miles until we could see the Lion Inn in the distance, and after 10 hours of walking, we finally arrived. One of the tricky parts of the first day was the navigation, as the Lyke Wake Walk is not a set out single path, you have to follow the grid references which are in the book onto the map. In total, over both days, we crossed over two entire OS maps! The compasses we had brought with us were very useful to ensure we were walking on the right bearing.
The next morning, we woke up at 5.30am in order to leave the Inn at 6am. We knew that the second half of the walk was further distance and would take longer, and with the time pressure of having to catch a bus to Scarborough train station at 7pm, we decided to leave as early as possible. The first part of the walk that day was through what was labelled as the “boggy section” but thankfully the ground was dry. This was one of the most beautiful parts of the walk, but also one of the hardest as there was no clear path, all the terrain looked the same, and we had no way of knowing how far along the boggy section we were, despite having OS maps. After almost 10 miles of this, we completed the boggy section and then walked across moorland, similar in appearance to what we encountered on the first day. It began to get extremely difficult, as we were all tired from lack of sleep, and we were still sore from the day before. Some of us started to develop large blisters which were extremely painful, but we all worked together as a team to encourage and support each other, and we always tried to make sure that no one was left trailing behind on their own. We grew stronger as a group during this time, and it showed us all just how strong we were both mentally and physically. Towards the end of the walk, we encountered two steep ravines, which were difficult to navigate, and exhausting once we had finished them. As we entered the final 10 miles of our walk, we saw a radio mast in the distance, and were told by some other walkers that the finish point was close to that. It seemed impossibly far away considering how far we had already come, but we continued walking and it drew ever closer. With about 2 miles to go, we climbed up onto some moorland and saw the radio mast directly ahead of us, and with renewed energy began walking quickly towards it. As we reached the mast, at its base we saw the finishing Lyke Wake Walk stone. We were all delighted, and felt an immense sense of pride, relief, and teamwork. We arrived at 6.45pm, so had 15 minutes to relax before getting the bus to the station. We then had a few hours to relax in Scarborough before our train arrived. We then changed at York to catch the train back to London, and all caught up on some well-deserved sleep on the train. We arrived back at home at 2am, and all spent the next few days in bed recovering! Overall it was a fantastic experience in which we learnt so much more about ourselves and each other, and we have come out of it as stronger friends than ever. We have also learnt that we are capable of so much more than we think, and we are all so grateful to the Mark Evison Foundation for funding us to do this once in a lifetime experience.