Seven walkers and a support team of three gathered at midnight for the 1½ hour journey to Osmotherley in north Yorkshire. The walk had to begin at first light if we were to take full advantage of the summer daylight, and I use the word ‘summer’ loosely. Drizzle turned to rain as the yellow mini bus travelled up the A1, an omen of the weather conditions that lay ahead. We poked fun at John Paul for bringing his golf umbrella on a long distance walk, but they were words we would later have to eat.
Lacing boots and packing rucksacks by torchlight is not easy, but the team was ready for the scheduled 3am start. Spirits were high in the early miles; that is until we discovered that the man with the map (i.e., me!), had missed a turning in the forest, in the dark - a mistake that cost us extra miles and extra time. The rain continued and we began to envy JP’s umbrella. At the first checkpoint (6 miles) we were treated to hot drinks and a scrambled egg breakfast courtesy of our excellent support team of William, Dominic, Sally and Fliss the dog, whose’ valuable contribution was not to eat everything before we got to it!
Although the rain eased from time to time, the wet weather conditions did make the completion of the 44-mile Lyke Wake Walk significantly more difficult. Wet clothes and wind chill were a problem, as was muscle fatigue and cramp, but the most serious of all were the blisters. It was only the endless supply of dry clothes, Vaseline, talc and sticking plasters that made it possible for the walkers to continue. The bacon sandwiches helped, too.
There were tears of joy and tears of pain along the way, but what made the day special was the dedication of everyone involved, not just to the work of SPUC, but for one another too. When somebody felt they couldn’t go on, it was the support, understanding and good humour of their companions that saw them through.
The sixth and final checkpoint was two miles from the finish at Ravenscar, and as we drew closer to it we realised that if we stopped for refreshments some of us would seriously struggle to start again. So it was resolved that we would walk straight past the welcoming yellow mini bus and carry on to the finish, together.
And finish we did – all of us – at 8.10pm, just over 17 hours after leaving Osmotherley in the small hours of Saturday 18th June 2011. After offering a prayer of thanksgiving for a truly memorable experience, we boarded the mini bus and set off for home and a good night’s sleep - mission accomplished!
Half way point picture: L to R Jeanette Jenkinson, Tommy Jenkinson, Andy Openshaw, John Paul Jenkinson, Dominic Jenkinson (at the back), Bernadette Jenkinson, Gavin Sharp, Fliss the dog, and Sally Hill. The umbrella still reigns.
Breakfast photo: William Jenkinson. Anyone for eggs?
The Lyke Wake Walk, which has been chosen for this year’s sponsored event, involves a 43 mile crossing (with an extra mile added on to make up the 44 miles) of the North Yorkshire Moors over some of the most inhospitable moorland terrain in Britain. Traditionally, the challenge is to complete the walk within 24 hours, but our six intrepid SPUC supporters are confident they can do it in less!
Their attempt will begin in Osmotherly, North Yorkshire, shortly after midnight on Saturday 18 June, and all being well, will finish at Ravenscar on the Yorkshire coast an estimated18 hours later. The walkers, age from 26 to 37, all live and work in the South Yorkshire area. None have attempted a long distance walk before but are looking forward to the challenge, albeit with a fair bit of trepidation!
[Photo left to right] Bernadette Jenkinson is Deputy Head at St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School in Rotherham. Her brother John Paul Jenkinson (sitting) is a Quality Control supervisor. Gavin Sharpe is between jobs at the moment, whilst Andy Openshaw is a plumbing/heating engineer, and is married with a young family. Alex Hill is a Groom by day and a Veterinary Nurse by night.
Tom Jenkinson (not pictured) will also join the walkers, whilst his brother Dominic, driving the trusty mini-bus and praying all the while that the group doesn’t get lost, will provide support for the walkers at pre-arranged check points along the route.
Thanks for sponsoring us!!