I arrived after dark on Friday night and was met by a handful of wonderfully warm and welcoming people who had spent the day making the structure below habitable – much to my relief as fighting to put my tent up in a soggy, dark field did not appeal:
In the picture, Steve is patching up at the very few leaks with roofing felt paid for by Frack Free Wales. It meant the Saturday night was even cosier:
I was sat on a three seater settee to take this picture, delivered on the Saturday. The donations to the camp are overwhelmingly kind and generous, emphasising just how much the local communities recognise and support the camp and its objectives. Food and wood supplies are currently not an issue at all, and with a mains water supply on the site, there is now little cause to be unduly anxious about people occupying the site over the winter months:
Community engagement was also evident in the regular visitors from the surrounding towns and villages, just dropping in for a chat and see that they can do to help. On the Saturday afternoon, there was a family fun event with kids getting face painting and crafts done – making painted lanterns from jars and tea lights:
This is not to say there are not issues and tensions. Security surveillance across the road on the original site extends to CCTV and infrared cameras high on masts that can monitor the new camp to an extent. Police visit regularly, which is fair enough to an extent, but when it extends to snooping about the lanes at 5.00am on a Sunday morning, is a bit oppressive. And some visitors/inhabitants of the camp have tried to change the ethos established by the local mainstays away from a totally peaceful camp, towards being a bit more challenging and confrontational. These people have not stayed.
I am very happy to witness the ethos established. The people are not pacifists and are realistic about the fact that confrontation will become inevitable at some point. The are prepared for this, but correctly, in my opinion are occupying the moral high ground and refusing to create the preconditions for confrontation. They are aware of the legalities of what they are doing and creating a place in which peace and harmony prevails (despite the odd hiccup). They are primarily lovers of the land, and lovers of Mother Earth.
Wales should be very proud and very grateful to the people here.
They are a ray of hope in the gloom of corporate greed and oppression of the people by the establishment. They are a merry band of modern-day heroes that I have come to love in no time at all, and I can’t wait to get back there at the earliest opportunity.