First some background.  I’m 49, married, and living in Cheshire.  Fitness wise my preferred weekend activity is to get out for a walk in the Lakes or Peak District.  If I can’t then I’ll go for a run – no more than 5km.  I also attend what could be described as fairly relaxed circuit training twice a week.  In May I completed the Coast to Coast in 12 days carrying my own kit and at the end of it, although I ached in places, I was still going strong.

As is not unusual for the C2C, I had withdrawal symptoms and didn’t wish to lose my ‘match’ fitness.  I started to look for something else to do fairly quickly.

I had walked the LWW before, twice, as a student in the early eighties.  Then I was a fit rugby player and although 40 miles was still a long way I had the underlying stamina needed for such a walk.  It was a distant memory which I regarded with fondness and having only just crossed the North York Moors it sprang to mind again.  I suggested it to my wife, Chris, and we quickly chose a target date, Saturday 4th July 2009.


Well there wasn’t a lot really.  I continued with my usual runs and circuit training and hoped it would be enough.  I also had the residual fitness gained from the C2C to help me.  I dug out my old Bill Cowley LWW guidebook and bought the new version by Brian Smailes.  Both were useful in their way, with the later book giving a reasonable description of the route.  What was also to prove useful was the route description around Fylingdales, on the New Lyke Wake Club website.  This was in much more detail than either book and on the day important.  Finally I bought the OS OL26/27 maps. 

The day before I took an afternoon’s holiday and got my pack together.  The week had been very hot, but thankfully it was not forecast to be more than 22°C for the Saturday.  If it had been as hot as the previous days (28°-30°) I wouldn’t have gone.  I suffer from the heat!  My pack was small, simply waterproofs, some food, water, map, compass, GPS (just in case) and a bivvy bag.  I wore a wicking tee-shirt, shorts and my Brasher Hillmasters with two pairs of socks. Perhaps the boots were heavier than some would advise but I’m very comfortable in them and they did the job.

I went over the route with Chris and my son, Ollie, who would be sharing the driving, and confirmed the meeting places.  We were ready.  I tried to get some sleep, but it was difficult.