Day 5 (part 1/2): Leckhampstead – Abingdon – Oxford

A very enjoyable day in which Carlos Buj was in charge of leading the group, equipped with three 1:25,000 maps as we didn’t have a local guide. Today we used pathways, footpaths, bridleways, and many other ways that are totally alien to the Spanish walkers, to avoid the busy roads.

Cutting across the countryside, avoiding the roads and taking care not to miss any turnings.

After walking 20 km we reached Abingdon, to the south of Oxford. In the grand central square a figure that could be straight out of one of Dickens’ tales was waiting for us – the town crier. In full costume, ringing his bell and sporting his three-cornered hat, he announced the arrival of the March to Glasgow Spanish walkers ‘Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!’

A couple of photos of our stay in this delightful town:

With our new friend the town crier
A warm welcome at Abingdon Climate Emergency Centre

There is much more to tell about our arrival in Oxford, where they closed of a street for our arrival (!), read about it in the second part of today’s post.

Meanwhile, here’s a political/historical reflection for the day

Margaret Thatcher’s Mark on the Environment

Margret Thatcher

Eleven years of the Iron Lady’s government left a deep mark on British society and its environment.

Thatcher pursued a decade-long policy of relentless spending cuts. For the lower classes this meant impoverishment, forcing people to choose between eating and heating their houses. Austerity also meant less funding for public transport and the boom of the car. The consequence being that CO2 emissions soared to unsustainable levels.

The southern English towns and cities that we’ve been passing through are paying the price of sprawling city models that force people to use their cars, even to go and get their shopping. If public transport is scarce and expensive, housing costs are many times worse and involve sky-rocketing heating costs. People use a significant portion of their salaries to pay rent or their mortgage and heating is one of the principal sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the current UK Prime Minister’s manifesto promise to renovate existing homes and improve household insulation, the Tory government is yet to deliver on this. The most modest homes are the worst insulated against damp and cold. The gap between rich and poor is growing in the country.

Written by: José Luis Martínez

2 thoughts on “Day 5 (part 1/2): Leckhampstead – Abingdon – Oxford”

  1. It’s so impressive and encouraging to read about your walk and the supportive people you are meeting on the way.
    Individual people taking action is the only way to make a positive difference to the systems we have created. Go Marcha-a-Glasgow!!

  2. Hola! It was lovely to have the Spanish walkers in Leicester! They were met by our samba band together with nottingham members and serenaded into town hall square. There was singing of Spanish songs and speeches and an exhibition of climate banners. We had a lovely meal together at a typical Indian restaurant of Leicester. We were so impressed at the courage and stamina of the walkers and their ingenuity at navigating our busy car-packed British roads. We hope the UK government is watching what effort and inspiration is being brought by the marcha a Glasgow team and respond with proper carbon reduction plans including timescales and consequences if targets are not met.
    Good luck for the rest of the walk! Elaine, Leicester xxx ????

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