Sarge’s Lyke Wake Walk

Trekker aka “The Old Man” was right about you not having any trouble if you’re a regular walker. He suckered me into making that trip with him. Since my job entails a lot of walking/running around with a pack I would have been fine, but we had lousy weather and I was dragging a half blind old coot along. Stay hydrated and watch your feet and you will make it no problem.

Time and distance do make it look a lot more attractive. If you lose your sense of humor then all is lost! Even though my report may sound like I’m gripping (that’s what soldiers do – it is a tradition) it was a great day. That said any day I don’t get shot at is a good day! I guess all things are relative.

Now in the interest of accuracy (and mainly to tick Trekker off) I’ll give you my side of that trip, or as Paul Harvey says “Now for the rest of the story”

Crossing Report – I am writing to report a crossing and a double-crossing of the Lyke Wake Walk.

I left Ravenscar on January 17th at 06:02, by my watch, along with Trekker. Dave and Doc provided logistical support along the course.

The primary objective of this mission was to ensure that Trekker got his double crossing in before the Golden Jubilee of the Lyke Wake Club. In that respect the mission was a success. With the solo he completed this summer this makes his third crossing.

We almost had a murder before we ever got started. While Trekker was getting his kit set the Doc somehow managed to step on, and utterly destroy his glasses. For a moment there I wasn’t sure if Doc was going to need medical attention or a body bag. Trekker let him off the hook, but he is now blind. This should make things interesting.

We make our first outbound leg between Ravenscar and Eller Beck with little trouble. Aside from a “brisk breeze” and a “bit of rain” it was a walk in the park, compared to what was to come. We get our first dose of what is to become Doc’s spiel: “Drink this”, “Eat that”, “Take these”, “Show me your feet”, and on, and on. He’s got his job. I’ve got mine.

On the way to Ralph Crosses Trekker starts carrying trekking poles and I wish I had. He let me try them and promptly did a header into the muck. That probably saved his life, because I had been trying to decide just how I was going to kill him for getting me into this. But after watching him wallow around I decided it would be far crueller to just let him live.

I now know about a bog. Dave and Doc now know about Theakston. I hate them. The winds are tough but the old railway is a pleasant change after the muck.

We make it to the Lyke Wake Stone at 14:18. We have sucked down untold packets power gels and gallons of power aid, but we have made it. I have just completed my first crossing and Trekker has now completed his second. Damn if I know how or why he did this solo the first time.

The Doc does his thing as we brace ourselves for the second half of our little hike. Trekker is impatient to start back. He is worried that the weather is going to deteriorate. So off we go. The return promises to be a long, windy, cold, dark, reverse version of the outbound trip. The GPS really earns its keep this night. On the plus side the winds should be more in our favor. On the down side we’ve just walked 20 odd miles, it’s going to get dark, and the temps are dropping.

That said; we make reasonable progress until we are headed down the old railway. We had picked up the pace and were making good time. That is when my left knee stopped working and I went down hard on my left shoulder. I stagger back to my feet and take stock. I am still somewhat mobile and not mortally wounded but I am cold, I am wet, I am done. I do not want the double that badly. We are just less than one mile from the Lion.

I radio Doc and Dave to let them know what is going on. I tell Trekker to go on and that I’ll have Dave come and meet me. Trekker refuses to leave until Dave can get to us, but I tell him if he does not get going now that he will seize up and that we will surely bury his sorry frozen butt in a bog. He finally carries on when we see Dave’s light double timing it up the trail. I then radio Doc and order him to gear up and be ready to run, it is pay back time for those glasses.

For me the rest of the night passes in a series of naps. When Trekker and Doc show up at a checkpoint the Doc gives Trekker a quick once over as he changes socks and downs something hot. They barely stop moving now. He is running down and the Doc is about ready to pull the plug on him.

Doc radios from Jugger Beck that Trekker has taken a pretty nasty fall. Doc says he has a banged up knee, a loose tooth, and is a bloody mess. The Doc thinks he is done, but he won’t stop when they pass us at the A171. He is not moving very fast but he is one stubborn old coot. He is a sad sight shuffling along leaning on his poles. I was right to let him live earlier.

Trekker and the Doc arrive at the finish at 06:47. Trekker has completed his precious double. He looks like death warmed over. A fitting end to the Lyke Wake Walk.

The last part of our mission is to get him cleaned up and on his flight home. We have heated enough water for a quick wash up in the back of the old Landy. The Doc works on him as we race to the airport. We get him there and checked in, then shove what’s left of his carcass towards the gate.

Operation Bog Storm: Successfully Completed!

P.S. Trekker owes me a T-shirt and will pay for my card. If he does not, I have a shovel, I know how to use it, and I now know where the bogs are.

And now, “you have the rest of the story”