Day 2: Southampton to Winchester

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.

Inscription on the plaque: ‘To commemorate the arrival aboard the ‘Habana’ of 4,000 refugee children from the Basque region of Spain. In May 1937 following the destruction of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War and to thank the people of Southampton and Britain who volunteered to care for them.’

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. 

The Red Rebels who welcomed us in Winchester are ‘an international performance artivist troupe dedicated to illuminating the global environmental crisis and supporting groups and organisations fighting to save humanity and all species from mass extinction.’ 

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.

With the Mayor of Winchester.

Written by: José Luis Martínez

1 thought on “Day 2: Southampton to Winchester”

  1. It’s great to see you getting such a well-deserved welcome in Winchester! Wishing you good luck and strong legs, as you move on, and looking forward to seeing you in Banbury on Friday!

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