I set off a day early, stopping in Leicester to spend some time at the university. The campus is still vacant, and there’s something slightly dashing about turning up at the geography department with all my gear. As if I’m just dropping in on the way to my next expedition.
There was a fresh bunch of white flowers on the Leicester Peace Action Group memorial, for the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. I stayed with a friend overnight, and as I left the following morning, his mum gave me a box of sweet ladoo for the journey.
On the final approach on the Hope Valley line, the train from Sheffield didn’t stop at Edale, I overshot and got off in Chinley. Apparently there was some issue with a train which had broken down somewhere east of Edale, the train from Manchester didn’t make it far past Chinley before reversing back into the station. Parts of the line running parallel into Manchester had already been closed the week before due to a damaged dam.
Some of my friends had arrived on the Manchester train, and we were all stranded in Chinley. The digital display board was borked, we had no idea when the line might be re-opened for trains through to Edale.
Chinley was close enough that we considered walking, until it started raining, or finding a pub to stay in. Unfortunately, we completely missed the pub at the end of station road.
Here’s Robert outside the village shop.
Eventually we took a taxi together the rest of the way to Edale, and I had an exciting ride in the back of a van.
I set up my tent just before the downpour, chucked my stuff inside, and wandered off to the village hall for pizza and a showing of Juan of the Dead.
It’s a Cuban zombie film, and I’d seen it before, long ago enough that I’d forgotten the ending. It got a mixed reaction from some people, who (mis)-interpreted it as an attack on Cuban socialism. However, for me the capacity for self-criticism is what makes Cuban cinema special. It’s not all straght-faced historical epics.
It rained a lot overnight, I wasn’t cold, but was kept awake by the sound of the rain. At least the tent was all up properly.
There were almost 40 people there overall. One comrade turned up with a cheap pop-up tent, the poles snapped, and his tent had a puddle of water in it in the morning. I figure he had a pretty grim experience.
We set off soon after breakfast to march up Kinder Scout. Here’s our procession with all flags fluttering.
At Upper Booth farm.
Robert and me marched ahead, stopping to wait for the others.
Robert had this huge, colourful flag of the Spanish Republic.
We got into a situation at the plateau, the group thinned out and got separated in the fog. It’s the second time this year that I’ve been up the mountain, and I’ve always been (with warning) wary of getting stuck in the thick mist. It’s disorientating and dangerous.
We lost sight of the group behind us, I backtracked with Ollie, retracing our steps down. Once we were back under the clouds we had a good view of the path, but didn’t come across the others. The path was deserted.
We later worked out that they’d taken a different turning, and they must have missed us by only a couple of minutes.
The National Trust is running a ‘cultural trespass’ project, they’ve drawn up a walking trail with exhibitions along the way. I only noticed it in passing, the exhibitions only run until the 15th September.
I was exhausted and hungry by the time I got back. While waiting for the others, Ollie and me visited both the Rambler Inn and the Old Nags Head. Slightly tipsy, I returned to the village hall for pasta, another film, a pub quiz, and then back to the campsite for a long slumber.
The following day were workshops. I tried leading a little seminar on gentrification and the rent gap. Nobody asked any questions, and we quickly transitioned into a discussion on tenant organisation in Brighton and Glasgow. It went alright in the end, but it showed that I just don’t know enough about the rent gap theory, I can’t speak about it authoritatvely from notes.
The front of the hall was decorated with the flags of all the nations of Britain - Wales, Scotland, England, Cornwall.
The YCL has this distinctly multi-national character, I don’t know where it comes from, but it comes across in small ways. Last year, a comrade from Hereford took on the task of translating slogans into welsh and cornish. At the camp I overheard someone mention how they felt surrounded by all these different accents.
There was also the banner of the London YCL, stitched by a comrade who studies fashion. It must have taken him a lot of effort, but the handmade style looks amazing, like a banner handed down from the YCL in the 1980s.
Finally, we cleared out the hall, tidied up; people drifted away in waves, in time with the trains. I took one of the later trains to Sheffield, Birmingham, Oxford.
This weekend was the latest in a series of camping trips, I’ve spent more than enough money on train tickets. This coming week I’ll be in Oxford, with time to write, rest, and the week after that I’m going to France.
In the meantime, here are some things I’ve been paying attention to: