The next place to visit on Down Memory Lane is Durham – where I was at University from 1974 to 1977. I was nominally attached to Van Mildert College but apart from staying in rooms there for the first year, I had little to do with the college. I spent more time working on the Durham Students Union entertainments, becoming social secretary for a year, but in fact a bit longer due to my predecessor needing to step aside a term or two early. I think the training on organising events (concerts and discos) was equally useful to the formal degree training in Zoology (with a year’s Psychology).
But first there was the small matter of getting over the Pennines from Newbiggin-on-Lune. As can be seen below, there were two long and fairly brutal climbs. The first starts at Brough in North Yorkshire and finishes at the boundary of County Durham. The climb was accompanied by the sound of heavy machine gun fire from the nearby army ranges! Prior to Brough, the roads went through 20 km of amazing upland scenery. A total of six vehicles passed me (regardless of direction) and I should think that I saw ten times that many curlews. Curlew calls are one of my global favourites – sadly they are long gone from the patch of rough wetland next to our house that is now being built upon. Maybe we should propose “Curlew Crescent” for one of the street names in memory of what was once there (along with Snipe Street).
Among the events that were organised, partly outside the Student’s Union was an annual free festival, held on the banks of the River Wear – known as Domefest after the wooden domes that used to be assembled, led by the few that knew how to put the beams together.
In May/June 2019, I am cycling the length on Britain, visiting all the places that I have lived and a few friends along the way. This is a charity ride aimed to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK and the Spinal Injuries Association. I will also have fun looking for various features along the way and exploring the meaning of memory
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