The Lyke Wake Walk

A challenging walk in the North York Moors

You could get this badge if you finish the walk.

If you would like a fairly testing but interesting walk through beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, that will leave you with a real sense of achievement when completed, then consider taking on the challenge of the Lyke Wake Walk. The Lyke Wake Walk was conceived by local man Bill Cowley in 1955, and is a forty-mile walk across the North York Moors from Scarth Wood Moor near the quaint village of Osmotherley in the North West to Ravenscar on the stunning Yorkshire coast. Along the walk is set the famous coffin emblem (see photo), and the title of the walk is derived from ‘Wake’ – watching over a corpse, and ‘Lyke’ – the corpse itself. Those who have attempted and/or completed the walk will be aware of the ‘death’ theme, and the coffin emblem of the Lyke Wake Walk Club is no accident! Bill laid down the gauntlet by advertising the walk in the Dalesman and offering an open challenge that anybody who completed the full walk from west to east in 24 hours would automatically become a member of the Lyke Wake Walk Club. The first 24 hour walk was completed on the 2nd October 1955, and the Lyke Wake Walk & Club was up and running.

Waymarker stone along the walk

Although you have to complete the walk in less than 24 hours to join the club, it is of course not essential to take up the time challenge. A less strenuous plan that allows time to fully appreciate the beautiful countryside and some local food and drink, is to stop somewhere overnight en-route in one of the many Yorkshire Bed & Breakfasts or campsites. Although most people walk west to east, there is also no reason why you cannot walk east to west if you prefer.It is very common for the walk to be undertaken in aid of charity with participants being sponsored per mile completed – as not everybody always completes the walk as it is quite a challenge.

If you are thinking of undertaking the walk then please do plan your trip carefully. Ensure you take suitable clothing and footwear – the North York Moors can be quite bleak at times as well as stunningly beautiful at other times. Also you will need food and drink with you, a map and a torch (you will be walking in the dark at some stage), and a mobile phone – but beware phone signals on the moors can be quite fickle.

You are permitted to take dogs with you on the walk, but you must fully observe the countryside code and keep them under strict control, especially during the bird breeding season when dogs must not be allowed to run in the heather.

The walk can be undertaken at any time of the year, but by far the best time, especially if you want to see the beautiful purple heather moorland in full bloom is August & September. However, there is plenty of other spectacular scenery to enjoy throughout the other months from March through to October.

We hope you enjoy the walk – but do please stay safe!

This blog article has been written by John Shimeld (StayIn Ltd)

Please note that if you are interested by walk challenges, I wrote a detailed and comprehensive piece about the Yorkshire Three Peaks. It includes tips on how to succeed, train and prepare for such strenuous walks.

Maps of the Lyke Wake Walk Challenge to Print or Download

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The Lyke Wake Walk route across the North York Moors National Park

West to East route

Route details available on other websites or to download: Logo Walk4LifeLogo TrailzillaLogo Download GPX FileLogo Download KML file

West to East Route

–> From the Stone at grid reference 470994 (near Osmotherley) to the Trig point at 971012 (near Ravenscar)

Lyke Wake Walk Challenge – West to East Route

East to West route

Route details available on other websites or to download: Logo Walk4LifeLogo TrailzillaLogo Download GPX FileLogo Download KML file

East to West Route

–> From the Trig point at 971012 (near Ravenscar) to the Stone at grid reference 470994 (near Osmotherley)

Lyke Wake Walk Challenge – East to West route

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