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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Initernational Workers' Memorial Day - Grains Bar to Rishworth


For stuff relating to Workers' Memorial Day, see the diary for last Saturday

I knew the elements weren't going to be helpful when I saw the morning weather presenter getting excited about the rainfall figures in Capel Curig. And it dawned with heavy rain. The camera, which I now have again, was buried deep in my rucksack. So no pictures today. As I set off, the rain moderated, and as the day went on, it became intermittent and moderated some more. After lunchtime, the sun even made some furtive appearances. So not too bad. Except that a lot of rain had fallen. Even after all the dry weather of recent months, moorland paths had now become torrents, and some were deep, peaty pools. In places the soggy moor was charred from earlier fires, and green shoots were growing. And the wind across the top was lively. "Across the top" was where I had to go, zigzagging back into Yorkshire.

"Across the top" is a fine place to be, even in the wind and rain, especially in the wind and rain. It is an exhilarating, elevated feeling to be here. The curlews are crying: curlews again! You can talk and only the wind is listening; and even the wind is too busy making its own noise to be really interested in what you are saying. So you can give voice to your internal dialogue without anybody suspecting your sanity... "O *** it, Ill go this way." "Come on, it's not far, it's not far, it's worth it for a bun." "Grid gwartheg!" "Now then. Now. Where is it that I'm making for? There is actually a path that..." And then there's the singing...

Later in the day, the rain had almost stopped and the wind had got more. My rucksack has a handy raincoat of its own, but I decided to stow it away before it tore itself off and wrapped itself round a nearby cairn.

Somewhere between Cat Stones and Dog Hill I decided that an aspect of what I was doing with this walk was like what the prophets sometimes did: living a metaphor. That would be a grandiose idea if it weren't something that most of us do often. We act things out. We light candles. We share food (think of the word "companion").

And I am on a journey. I have had my expected meetings, but also a number of unexpected ones, many of which I cannot report, because they have been of a friendly, almost pastoral, nature. I have had setbacks, but none that are unbearable. It feels blessed in a kind of way. But I have to be realistic: there's a long way to go yet.

When I eventually found my way off the moor at Pike End, I landed on a road that was gently making its way down the hillside into some people's gardens. Some men were trying to repair the damage. Life is a continual struggle against nature. Alright, a bit of a sweeping generalisation, that, but don't you also meet situations where to do nothing just allows things to get worse? What I mean is where there's a need for weeding, dusting, closing churches, defragging the hard drive, that sort of thing.

Just down the road, the wind was doing some interesting things with the electricity wires. A 275kV suspension tower, with its insulators on the slant was emitting a kind of whistling rumble. A set of four 400kV conductors was doing a slow torsional oscillation, with one whole wave between the towers and a node half between them. Alright, I know I've lost you, but I include this for the sake of completeness, and because I still find this kind of thing utterly fascinating.

The people I stay with tonight are friends of friends of an acquaintance, yet have made me very welcome. This Christianity is an amazing thing, if it provokes such hospitality in a society which is probably not so tuned in to this way of behaving as first century Palestine was.

Pictures from today...
We give thanks for these ancient hills,
the landscapes you have shaped, God of eternity.
We remember the generations of people
who have managed the landscape,
cut down and planted,
placed livestock on the hills and stewarded them,
who have also given these hills and moorlands
their familiar appearance.
For rocks and bogs and birds and grit and mosses,
dear God we thank you.

© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.