THE LYKE WAKE WALK



Comments and reminisences concerning this feature are offered EILEEN ANDERTON:

"The Lyke Wake Walk runs 40 miles across the North Yorkshire moors from Osmotherly, north of Thirsk on the A19, to Ravenscar, a cliff south of Robin Hood's Bay.

"In the 1950s, or possibly earlier, a man living south of Teeside started, or revived, a tradition of walking this track within 24 hours. The story was that in days of yore, people carried coffins along the road, no-one knew why, and the revival involved people walking, the track to become members of a club. Special names were given to those who completed one, three or possibly more outings. There was club tie with coffins on it, presented to initiates and a great deal of competition to find ever mere original ways of doing the Walk - on skis, running, you name it.

"It is not straight. however, long stretches of it are, and liberties could well have been taken with the original route to make a safer walk. Whether it connects with churches at either end, I don't know. It links numerous carthworks and stones, but again, local knowledge and detailed maps are needed. It is well documented and accepted as part of the local tradition, and could be worth investigating.

"A further thought. When I became aware of it, most of the young men I knew were keen to complete the Walk, and the mystique which was deliberately woven around it, the club atmosphere, hierarchy, special language, gave it a flavour of initiation rites. It was a public walk, but it seemed to attract overwhelmingly young men. Such physically testing experiences are often a way of achieving altered states of consciousness. Could spirit tracks have a dual purpose as physical testing grounds and as pathways to a higher seIf?"

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