I love Durham, honestly I do.
My love of the city began when I was 17 years old and took a trip ‘up North’ (it was a long way from London at 17) to spend time with one of my best friends, Jessica Eddie and her twin sister Alex, who grew up in the city. Jess is now the pride of Durham, having managed to bag herself a silver medal in rowing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
As a centre of excellence for rowing and a top-notch place to study Psychology, at one point Durham was my first choice for a university, but it narrowly lost out to the University of London. The two university rowing clubs both compete in purple as their club colours, but the shade of purple is slightly different between the two – which led to a fierce rivalry through my university years. Still, I would make the trip north often to train with older, more experienced athletes at Durham University, and usually return exhausted, having been shown what hard work really looked like. The mornings on the river were cold. The training sessions were long, and I was always happy to be able to slink back home to the comfort of London afterwards.
As for the city itself… I love the river. I love the cathedral. I love the bridges and cobbled streets. I love ‘heart attack hill’ which leads up to the University’s psychology department, and the fact that there are more pasty shops than you can shake a stick at. I love the soft Durham accent (which my friend Jess reminds me ‘is nothing like the Geordie accent’). I love that you can walk around the city easily, and find new nooks, crannies and hidden treasures on every visit.
Given that I spend so much time away from the UK, and having spent winter this year in Canada exploring the national parks there (which are deserted at that time of year!) – it’s always nice to come back to a place so familiar. One that taught me about hard work, and has such a British feel to it. I’ll take any excuse to visit Durham, and the fact that I get to coincide it with telling stories at the city’s first adventure festival? Well that is just the cherry on top of the cake.