The plan was to walk the paths around the base We met in two cars at the Hole of Horcum car park on the road from Pickering to Whitby. It has a wonderful view across the moors and is part of the Newtondale Valley, sometimes called the Grand Canyon of England, formed from a glacial lake.
The Hole of Horcum
The police were there to welcome us and say ‘hello’ (we had been advertising this event for some time). The plan was to (depending on the weather) walk all or part of the trail as laid out in the “Walkers Guide to Fylingdales” leaflet.
So, from the Hole of Horum car park we took one car to Eller Beck. From where we visited the tree that was planted some years ago in memory of our friend Race Newton – a goat farmer and wonderful jazz pianist who supported us and the various peace camps established over the years. The police joined us and checked us out here too.
The Ballistic Missile Early Warning (BMEW) radar at Fylingdales is part of its US National Missile Defence programme. It is also used to track and monitor the satellites of other countries. To fulfil these roles it had MILSTAR and SATCOM antennae installed within the base. Periodic updates of computer systems, indicate the extent of the upgrade of the facilities to watch and gather information of satellites, determine missile and satellite interception data if required, and generally play a role in targeting and war fighting capability.
We said cheerio to the police car and walked on. The first part of the walk follows the Lyke Wake Walk – which is 40 mile walk crossing the North Yorkshire moors along the main east-west watershed. We followed only a short part of it until we reached the footpath that swung us round to the base.
The walk round the base was pleasant enough, the rain that threatened held off for the most part and on the way round we told and heard stories of previous actions and events.
On the road that runs around the base just on the outside of the fence we met another patrol car who said hello too! They said we shouldn’t really be on this road (which we knew) but when we said we just wanted a picture at the other side and weren’t planning an invasion, they were ok with us proceeding. Of course we were watched all the way by the cameras placed at regular intervals along the fence.
We held our banners in the rain outside the Fylingdales US and NATO missile ‘defence’ radar.
We passed the power generators that supply the electricity for the base and at the other side we were going to point out the Satellite Communications dish which connects the base to US and UK defence networks. But it had gone! Presumably there are now other connections, perhaps through a fibre optic cable system?
We had our photo opportunity in the rain (see above) and continued on to Malo Cross (placed by the local landowner in the 1600s as a boundary marker. It is inscribed with the letters K with R E. Sir Richard Egerton – Knight).
Then on part way up Whitney Nab and back to the Hole of Horcum where once more the police were there to check us in!
All in all a very pleasant day out on the wonderful North Yorkshire Moors.
On our return I discoverd that a message had been left on my phone from Nigel and the Oxfordshire Peace Campaign at the Croughton demonstration in the South of England, which was happening at the same time as ours. However, up on the moors you can’t get a signal to send or receive messages so we missed it at the time but it did remind us of all of the actions taking place aroud the world during Keep Space for Peace Week – a great feeling of international solidarity!
See the other global protests and actions here.