Friday the 13th was a rush of excitement, with a half-day at work secured I met Rob within minutes of pedalling home.
We slogged through the Friday afternoon traffic to meet Gooders at Ravenscar, the finish line for the Lyke Wake Walk. Via a quick feed, preparatory pint and a further drive we were car-camping at the start line; Osmotherley.
As we bedded down we sipped whisky and considered our fate, we would clock 4 hours sleep before stepping out into the North Yorkshire night. As we settled I saw a shooting star framed by the windscreen, surely a good omen… ?
Whilst pulling our boots on and adding some layers Goodrick brewed up. There was a real chill in the air and the coldness to the wind was unforgiving to exposed fingers! Still, once we were walking the blood soon circulated to extremities and made things more comfortable. Navigating at night and with limited sleep was new to us all and a worthy challenge! With the exception of a couple of wrong turns we performed well and were also quick to rectify ourselves. The darkness hid the wider landscape and in the trees it was especially difficult to discern the gradient – the rises just kept coming! After one impressive climb the view opened out to reveal Teeside in the distance, shimmering lights stretching beyond interspersed villages. Possibly the nicest Teeside has ever looked! Although we were very pleased to see it on Dove Step 1!
The dawn came via a pinky hue on the eastern horizon and a gentle rising of the light, as we progressed over the tops the wind was super strong – as promised by the tail-end of Storm Abigail. Although we managed to avoid much of the rain that would arrive the wind was impressive at times, especially where it piled through a valley. It also made exposed hands very pink and quickly cold during brief pit-stops.
Our journey progressed across Urra and Ferndale Moor we made steady progress, albeit behind the pace that would see us back into Ravenscar before 10pm! We enjoyed the sheep-path and bog strewn section across the south of Westerdale Moor and up to Wether Hill. Now midday and having got up at 3am we could see lively weather rolling in had to be realistic about the onward sections. The decision was made to extract ourselves from the moor areas ahead of darkness and incoming inclement weather. Whilst this marked failure in respect of our Lyke Wake attempt we still clocked 25mi of the North Yorks Moors, bolstering our night navigation, elevation and moor crossing experience in the process. Unlike the Dove Step journeys proper it is ok to ‘fail’ during training! We will of course return and tidy up the Lyke Wake up, perhaps at a more favourable time of year.
With Turtle Doves now on the IUCN Red List and vulnerable to the threat of extinction and the latest State of UK birds report showing a 97% decline across my lifetime, the motivation is greater than ever for us to better ourselves for the next challenge; Spain. All of Spain – on Dove Step 3.
My team mates have recorded their highlights from the weekend as follows:
Goodrick; the clear nights sky at Osmotherley, over-looking Teesside at night. Encountering a puddle in the exact shape of a penis!
Sir Rob; the testing navigation and physical nature of dark stage of walk, my first visit to North Yorks Moors. The Red Grouse which were splendid! Having the shits for most of the day (Ed. but continuing!). Overall a strong learning experience – which made it well worth it.
We are planning some public speaking engagements for 2016 and will of course publish these on here. Until then check out the latest Talking Naturally podcast for all things Turtle Doves, Titan and of course Dove Step:
The Dove Step 2 fundraising page will close this week, if you have visited the Just Giving page these last few months then thank you. Wholeheartedly, thank you. If you would like to top up the total then you have until Wednesday 18th, this week, to do so!
We’ll be back in the new year; training, talking, walking – what we do best! Till then, don’t forget Turtle Doves and don’t forget Dove Step!