I don’t know who Jackson was. Maybe he built this sheepfold. Maybe he breathed his last breath here after finding himself lost in a blizzard. But it’s a fold I’ve visited many times before on mountain marathons and orienteering events. A remote and quiet place, by the side of Stile Gill; great for a wild camp. The cloudbase is higher today with Blencathra summit just visible for the first time in the last four days.
And so 2016 draws to a close. The time to welcome and to be upbeat about the new year but after the cataclysmic events of the past six months it would be so easy to fall into nihilism. Not to dwell on the B word but when Nigel Farage says “For those that are here that aren’t particularly happy with what’s happened in 2016, I’ve got some really bad news for you – it’s going to get a bloody sight worse next year” is there any hope? And then there’s Trump. Say no more.
But I do have hope. Hope that the new laws and regulations that need to be created will be far stronger for employment, the environment, equality and human rights. Hope that May and her cronies can begin to really work hard at healing the cleft the right have created in the country. Hope that they start to care for and preserve our NHS, welfare state and public services. Hope that education, unemployment and low cost housing stock will be given the priority our children and grand children will need. Hope that the Labour party can rebuild itself to be an effective opposition. And hope the derisive rhetoric and trenchant comments that has become the norm since Brexit will dry up.
I can honestly say I know of no one who is happy with the current climate. A black cloud looms over. I have read the media and have heard first hand of some who have been subjected to racist comments. Perhaps I lead an insular life, content with my own company in the hills, but throughout the country there must be thousands of disparate groups who despair. If these can come together and work together then there is indeed hope for all of us.
So let’s forget the bad decisions of 2016, have a clean break and welcome in the New Year on a hopeful note. In the words of Eric Idle:
Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle,
Don’t grumble, give a whistle!
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
Always look on the bright side of life!
Happy New Year.