The COP Camino and the Case of the Climate Cairn

The first stone of Stroud Valley Project’s Climate Cairn was laid some years ago with the intention to encourage passers-by to add stones and pledge to do something positive for the environment in our own small ways. Carving being an occupation of mine and being permitted to help myself to waste stone from Catbrain Quarry on Painswick Beacon, I took on the role of stone delivery man. As the Cairn grew I would sometimes slip in carvings for future archaeologists to puzzle over.

In 2021, the COP 26 Camino walkers visited on their pilgrimage from Bristol to the conference in Glasgow. A scallop shell was carved on one face of a small pyramid and on another, the image of Greta Thunberg. The Camino’s very own druid proclaimed it, ‘The Greta Stone.’ Next morning they were on their way over Painswick Beacon to Gloucester Cathedral, then to Malvern, Worcester, Birmingham, Manchester … and finally Glasgow.

The Cairn then came under attack later. Considerable, deliberate force must have been needed and probably a lump hammer. The carved stones were strewn around and broken into bits. One displayed Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s favourite word, UMBUTU, meaning ‘togetherness’. The COPs have at least achieved uniting people from around the world to recognise climate as the number one issue facing the planet – what the Climate Cairn had tried to do here too.

From a GlosCAN supporter, January 2024