In the Spring of 2014, Beverley Branch Labour Party invited a Beverley resident, Jon Mager, to speak about the site being developed by Rathlin Energy to explore for gas at Crawberry Hill, close to Walkington.
Several of us were able to visit the site. We began to support the people who were camping on the verge, many of whom came from elsewhere as part of the protest against Rathlin
The protectors had to be supported – they needed food, bottled water, hammers, wood, sleeping bags etc were donated. There was a sense of industry whenever we called in; there was also a real welcome, with immediate cups of tea. Sharing prevailed.
The protectors were constantly vigilant for the arrival of heavy plant for drilling. There was a real sense that the company would begin fracking, with its attendant dangers to the health of the nation and that of the wildlife. Some of our banners and placards, displayed to passing motorists, cyclists and walkers pleaded ‘Keep it in the ground!’
The summer at Crawberry was beautiful and the protectors created something of a home for themselves, with a kitchen, a store for donated food, a cosy dwelling-place with a wood burner, known as ‘the static’, information boards and a garden. Those sheltering didn’t allow themselves to stay comfortable for long: the protectors carried whistles and some took positions up on a sturdy tower. At a signal the static was emptied and the protectors took up their place at the Rathlin gate. Those watching for probable drill-carrying vehicles had been alerted. This state of watchfulness was maintained through all the days and nights, by the protectors.
Drama abounded at Crawberry, none more acute than on one of those beautiful mornings when there was a glorious sunrise which turned the road pink. In complete contrast to the beauty that nature provided, bailiffs arrived and cleared the protectors and the public from the ERYC’s verge. Every useful thing that had been put in place to ensure the land would not be fracked was removed. Many items of personal property were lost.
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