Harrogate welcomes climate change walkers from the Continent on epic journey to COP26 summit in Glasgow
Harrogate environmentalists have given a warm welcome to a group of protesters on foot who had travelled from Spain to make their point on climate change.
The 12 walkers passed through Harrogate at the weekend, half way through an epic journey from Portsmouth to Glasgow to highlight the climate crisis.
Ten of them came from northern Spain by ferry and were were joined by two more in Portsmouth.
From there they’re walking to Glasgow over the course of a month, staying with local groups along the way.
They are scheduled to arrive just in time for the COP26 climate change talks, widely seen as the last chance for world governments to come to agreements to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
Environmentalists from Harrogate and Knaresborough were there to greet them as they reached Pannal and walk them into Harrogate.
Cath Taylor, who walked the Leeds to Harrogate leg with them said: “The Spanish Walkers are the most inspirational group of people I have ever met. I feel absolutely honoured to have been able to spend time walking with them.”
A meal was waiting for everyone at Friends Meeting House and the group spent the night with hosts in the town.
Becky Stoakes, a British translator who lives in Spain had this to say: “We’re walking to raise awareness about everything that’s at stake with Cop26.
"We want to make as much noise as possible and make sure that the concerns of people are heard.
"It’s been incredible. We’ve had hundreds of people turning out.
"We’ve met mayors, we’ve had samba bands, and above all it’s been the local people who’ve invited us into their homes, who’ve given us hot dinners and really kept us going all the way to Glasgow.”
On Sunday morning the walkers met at the war memorial in Harrogate town centre for a grand send off before continuing their journey in the company of 30 local supporters.
After a day of walking from Leeds, the Greenway was a welcome relief and the walkers enjoyed the beautiful Yorkshire countryside on a route through Cayton Gill and Markington.
For Irdo Montanari, a retired Italian photographer who lives in Spain, the natural world is a big motivator of his decision to make the journey.
He said: “I’m going to Glasgow because I live in an area where there’s a lot of nature and I want to make sure this isn’t lost for me or for future generations.”
For the environmentalists of Harrogate this is a 24 hours they’ll never forget. Despite the language barrier a great time was had meeting people with the same concerns, who were motivated by the stong sense of commitment.