An exhilarating day!
Before leaving Southampton, we visited a plaque commemorating the arrival of the Habana, which, in 1937 brought some 4,000 Spanish children to the, following the destruction of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Luis Alejos, one of the ‘marchistas’ gave a moving speech. His mother was one of the 4,000 refugees aboard the ship and three of his family members lie in unmarked graves from this period in the Basque Country.
After walking for six hours, we reached the city of Winchester, home to an impressive cathedral and to the Great Hall of Winchester which houses the medieval round table linked to King Arthur. The architecture with its traditional, red-bricked houses and fine monuments coupled with the lush greenery makes the city a superb sight.
Winchester is an affluent southern city that has seen high levels of air pollution. One of the causes of this phenomenon is an expansive city model that leads to excessive car use, increasing the consumption of fuel, which due to Brexit is currently quite scarce.
On our arrival, we were welcomed by the ‘red rebels’ (below), who led us to meet the local Mayor, Vivian Achwal, and a large crowd of locals. We talked to Achwal, who is part of the Liberal Democrats Party, about the urgency of the climate crisis. The 40,000 inhabitants of Winchester seem to be concerned about the climate crisis and there is a coalition of different movements carrying out actions against climate change.
Overwhelmed by the turn out in such a small city, buoyed by the climate songs we had shared with the crowd and dead on our feet, we found refuge at Chris Holloway’s house. Chris is the coordinator of Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) and a key figure in the climate movement.
The following day, it was onward and forward to Andover.
Written by: José Luis Martínez