I usually have this walk on County Durham’s guided walks programme, but this year, due to leglumps (see previous leg-based blog posts), I didn’t plan the walk but intended instead, when the leg issues were resolved, to put the trundle on the Wednesday Walkers Walking On Wednesdays And Saturdays Group walks, and Jo, bless ‘er cotton socks, made the early January date available.
WSWG walks attempt to fulfil the demand for slightly longer walks on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the Co. Durham programme has a suitable gap – that is to say, on a Wednesday or a Saturday. There are some differences – WSWG walks can be outside Co Durham, the walks are free of any charges and there are no stewards although leaders and Co-Durham ranger-types take care of safety aspects.
So, me and LTD did a reccy mid-week in mild but windy and misty conditions with a thin cover of icy snow on the tops and, on Saturday, 18 peeps turned up for mild and misty conditions on the tops, with the odd splash of sunlight peeping through the murk to add interest and the occasional view.
Afterwards, most walkers gathered in the Bluebell Inn in St Johns Chapel – a cosy and friendly spot on a murky winter’s afternoon.
LTD enjoyed all the attention he usually gets on these group walks (he’s not allowed to come with me on County Council walks)
In a couple of weeks, there’s an Extraordinary General Meeting at County Hall where the motion to be
passed discussed and voted on will be that Durham Voluntary Countryside Rangers group be wound-up and for it to join Volunteer Durham. Its a done-deal, obviously, apparatchicks have become slick at laying the groundwork for this kind of stuff over the last few years, although the reasoning behind it seems muddled and quite incoherent but obviously part of the politically-lead reduction in size of local government. We are assured, though that not much at all will change. I have a cynical view; if nothing will change, what’s the point? Clearly, the point is, somehow, to save money and spend whatever’s left of the DCC budget on more crucial functions like social care and bins and gritting and all those things which are a bit more basic, the protection of which, in mean times is impossible to argue against. The argument that the UK can’t afford these things is highly spurious, though.
At the same time, we are being asked, as normal at this time of year, to submit bids for walks for the summer guided walks programme. I am reducing my six-monthly contribution from six walks to three (its the cuts!). Two of the walks will be new ones (yay!) and one will be a repeat, yet to be chosen. The trajectory of my involvement seems clear, though and may well peter out altogether should the Volunteer Durham stuff turn out to be dingo’s kidneys. I am a volunteer. I don’t have to do bullshit any more – I left all that behind when I left the NHS severalteen years ago. LTD agrees. He has to, though, just like everybody who will attend the ritual hoop-jumping at the EGM, there will be no alternative.