St Mary’s College hikers conquer the Lyke Wake Walk on a step towards Nepal

  • SMC Lyke Walk Jul
    SMC Lyke Wake Walk 2019

As schools closed their doors for the summer holidays last weekend, there was still one last task for a group of 10 students, aged 15-17 and 4 staff from St Mary’s College (SMC).

Their challenge was to complete the gruelling Lyke Wake Walk – a complete crossing of the North Yorkshire Moors from Osmotherly to Ravenscar, a distance of just over 40 miles which must be completed in less than 24 hours. The funds raised from the walk will contribute to the group’s mission to Nepal this time next year in July 2020.

In July 2018 a group from SMC flew to Nepal to work within a community in the Pokhara region, with a particular focus on supporting educational projects and institutions. Following on from the success of this mission, this second new group will travel out in 2020 to continue the work.  The community in Pokhara is extremely underprivileged and young people often lack the access, opportunity and facilities to support even a basic education. SMC believes that it our moral and social duty as a Catholic community to serve the poor and those in need both locally and globally, so therefore we plan to help in any way that we can. Plans for 2020 include returning to work in a local primary school, delivering more books and educational supplies and supporting the work of SASANE, a charity which helps the victims of human trafficking access education.

The group departed from Osmotherly in pouring rain on Sunday evening at 11pm and walked constantly for a solid 24 hours, only being met intermittently by the school minibus at key points along the route for water and a safety check-in. Blisters, soaking clothes, broken walking boots, exhaustions, high winds and then blazing sunshine all added to the challenge of staying awake and walking such a distance. They arrived in Ravenscar on Monday night just after 9.30pm to a beautiful summer sunset after just over 22 hours of walking, in total opposition to the conditions on their departure.

Frances Clarke, teacher and co-leader of the Nepal 2020 project described the experience:

I’m not sure where to begin to explain last weekend’s adventure. In those last 6 miles, I truly wondered if it would ever end – I’ve never experienced a more physically and mentally demanding challenge in my life. There were tears, and multiple mental walls were hit, but as an amazing team effort we managed to break them down and carry on. Our youngest team member was 15, and all of our students were utterly inspirational!

We’d battled torrential rain and blistering winds on cliff faces in the dark, all the way to trudging through relentless hours of difficult heathered terrain in the scorching sun – but when I finally got home to my bed and dunked my blistered and battered feet in a big bucket of icy cold water, I knew that it was worth it. 

The team are now a force to be reckoned with in preparation for Nepal 2020, and we’ve raised over £1300 for the project! People’s constant messages of support and donations really did miraculous things to lift our spirits – so thank you to everyone who did that! 

I’m aching from head to toe, and I had to lower myself one feeble step at a time down the stairs the next morning – but I’ve never felt more grateful to be part of the SMC team”

Anyone wanting to add to the fundraising efforts can donate online at:

[Naomi Bedworth – SMC]