Day 17: Skipton on Swale – Great Smeaton

We started out on Monday in North Yorkshire under a leaden grey sky.

We walked to the north of Harrogate through wide pastures, muddy with the night’s rain, surrounded by sheep, who were only slightly perplexed by our flags.

Once more, we opted for footpaths, fleeing the brutal roads. On roads the traffic can be hellish, particularly at certain times of the day, and where there is no pavement or verge, we are forced to walk alongside the road. Only a couple of daring cyclists navigate this mechanical ocean. The roads are reserved for the sacrosanct car, especially high range and luxury models. One cyclist who dares to brave the roads is our good friend Phil on his electric steed, flying an XR flag and with a customised number plate with flashing lights telling all who see him that we’re going to Glasgow.

The one good thing about walking on the roads is the support we’re getting as people read our flags. Even as we’re walking into the approaching traffic, each beep of the horn, thumbs up or ‘good on you’ keeps our spirits high.

There have been a string welcoming ceremonies in this labour bastion – it’s as if each place is trying to outdo the last. We have also met bishops, in a country where there are churches that are committed to the climate cause.

New marchers have joined us on our walk to Glasgow. At the weekend we have had up to a hundred people walking with us thanks to the excellent weather. We wonder if this autumnal sun and lack of rain is normal?

Local organizations are gearing up to hold a mass protest on the 6th November. The aim is to get over a million people out on the streets to demand international policies to slow global warming and to ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement. We need an energy transition with social justice.

Written by: José Luis Martínez

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