My name is Brian, I am 78 years old, I am from Darlington and I have joined the march for the last few days.
We set off this morning with a very wet day ahead, once again. But it’s no problem: we’ve started the march and we will finish it. We have all taken on this challenge. The consistent wet weather caused serious flooding on minor country roads, so we turned to off-road shortcuts through wooded paths. This entailed a bit of stumbling through some pretty dense undergrowth. Our clothing only slowed us down as our boots gradually filled with water.
Our experienced leaders often had to check their phones to keep us going in the right direction. By mid-afternoon it started to feel like an endurance test. We were hopeful that somewhere soon there would be a warm retreat with refreshments, but it seemed to be wishful thinking.
After tackling some barbed wire we came to a railway line with the added obstacle of a high wire fence. On the other side there was a high voltage power line…oh dear, ‘HQ we have a problem’.
The were forced to go down a slippery muddy bank, the only casualty being my bamboo flag pole. But the worst was yet to come as at the bottom of the bank we saw a serious flood of rainwater.
Climate change is causing more frequent heavy downpours and storms, and floodwater is accelerating erosion, resulting in fallen trees and landslides.
Our prayers were answered when Derek, the landlord of the New Bellside Inn, welcomed us with warmth as he opened his pub especially for us and sent for food. Some of us took photos of the beer keg urinals in the gents with accompanying fishtank installation (with real fish). We left and continued to head westward on the road, with several locals helping us follow the right direction. I remember seeing the sign for Motherwell which gave me the confidence and strength I needed to reach our destination. Glasgow ahead, folks, and it was exciting to see the fast flowing River Clyde as we crossed over it.
Written by: Brian Tudor