Big Weekend 2021 – planning ahead

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By Stan Abbott – Big Weekend Organiser

Should we dare to gaze, collectively, towards the promised sunlit uplands of a post-COVID world, we can now look forward to next year’s Big Weekend, which is scheduled for the weekend of Friday October 8, 2021, to Monday October 11.

In line with the straw poll of members’ preferences, taken by a show of hands at our virtual AGM, we shall revert to 2020’s “Plan A” and stage the 2021 Big Weekend at the Field Studies Council’s Malham Tarn centre, near Settle, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Subject to dotting a few I’s and crossing the odd T, we will then look towards holding our 2022 Big Weekend at the FSC’s Grange-over-Sands centre, near the shores of Morecambe Bay.

This potentially developing partnership with the Field Studies Council, with its ethos of building environmental understanding, seems a good fit with the Guild’s outdoor focus and increasing awareness among members of our role in helping to build wider understanding of environmental matters.

My anticipation is that the programme for the Malham Big Weekend will be broadly in line with our original plans. As I have two books coming out on the subject next Spring, I shall certainly lead a walk between two stations on the iconic Settle & Carlisle Railway. There will be a walk exploring the dramatic limestone scenery around Malham, as well as the possibility of a caving trip to witness the even more dramatic limestone features below ground.

The full programme will be drawn up in the course of next year, hopefully as confidence in a return to some kind of normality grows.

Although we must now be optimistic that the worst will over by next summer, we remain in uncharted waters and can take nothing for granted. I thank everyone for their understanding this year, when we thought we were one step ahead of the pandemic by switching our venue to the larger FSC centre at Grange, which was better able to offer a meeting space that was compliant with COVID regulations… only for accelerating infection levels and local lockdowns to render this Plan B unviable.

So, onward and upward!

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