Today, we walked from Dalkeith to Ratho. As we had slept in different houses around Edinburgh we had to get up early to make our way (by bus and in the support vehicle) to the starting point. Two of us have joined the Marcha for the last couple of days and after following its progress over the last 25 days it was fantastic to see everyone again and hear all the anecdotes first hand.
We started walking towards Edinburgh and very soon arrived in the neighbourhood of Newington. After a quick toilet stop, we crossed The Meadows, caught a quick glimpse of the castle and joined the canal. It was a lovely towpath walk, with colourful canal boats against a backdrop of rich autumnal colours. We finished the day with a pint in a Scottish pub in Ratho and a meeting to talk about the next few days.
I could already tell the march was going to be a success when I took part in the press conference in Bilbao. The amount of work, energy and enthusiasm that had gone into organising it was clear to see and today’s reencounter and walk only served to confirm my first impressions. The march is very well organised with different tasks delegated amongst the walkers: some of the group are constantly in touch with the media, others organise the accommodation and contact local groups, then there are a few drivers for the support vehicle, etc. And one of the most important jobs: everyone makes sure to look after each other.
The day’s work does not only consist of walking the average of 22 miles a day, but also reaching as many people as possible to spread our message of climate and social justice. A key task as we pass through cities is handing out fliers to passers-by, starting up conversations and encouraging people to act. Many local groups have said that the Marcha is helping to reactivate their members and generate new connections between climate groups.
It is our hope that the politicians who will be making decisions at the COP26 will be inspired by those who are taking bold action to raise awareness about an issue that should have become their main priority long ago.
Written by: Verónica Van Horenbeke