But the location is interesting – Wemmergill Moor. Wemmergill Moor is a big-name grouse moor. Until 2006, this moor, of 17,000 acres had been in the same ownership, that of the Bowes Lyon family (yes, that of the late Queen Mother) for 444 years. In 2006 it was sold to an ex poultry farmer and pub-trade tycoon, Michael Cannon, for the not so paultry sum of £5.25m see here and here).
It is a moor of legend; on 20 August 1872 a party of 6 guns shot 2000 Red Grouse there, and bagged another 2,300 on 21 and 23 August. In that season the total bag was 16,700 birds and in 2008 the bag had returned to 16,000 shot Red Grouse (at £75 each at commercial rates). In 1895 Kaiser Wilhelm II shot grouse at Wemmergill and his foreign policy later led to quite a lot of shooting in the period 1914-18.
In more recent times, Wemmergill was the first grouse moor to agree a Moorland Management Plan with Natural England – and we know what a great success they are (see here, here, here for the Walshaw Moor version). The Wemmergill MMP is pretty dire in my opinion and thanks to the disappeared Marc bringing Wemmergill back to my attention I will be looking more carefully at it over the next few days. Guess what? The Wemmergill plan also involves a new track cutting through a blanket bog.
The grouse shooters’ Moll, Therese Coffey (see here), actually dressed up in tweed to go and squeeze Sphagnum on Wemmergill as pictured below and readers of this blog were kind enough to offer a range of captions for the image below (see here – some of them were very good (try the second one down) and some feel rather poignant with the news of Marc’s disappearance).
There is a stench to the relationship between Defra and driven grouse shooting – an unsustainable hobby, underpinned by wildlife crime that not only is not criticised by the politicians who should be acting for the public, not properly regulated by the statutory agency whose job it is to do just that, but instead treated as a dear friend by the public servants who should be acting for the public good.
Remember, at the moment, in England, these are the bodies who would legislate for licensing and implement a licensing system under the RSPB’s preferred way forward. Can’t see it working myself, can you? We’re much better off pressing for a ban to be delivered by a government of a different hue – sign Gavin Gamble’s e-petition here please.
And it’s this cosy relationship that means that NE will licence Hen Harrier chicks to be removed from grouse moors – and that’s why over 700 of you have contributed more than £21,000 (towards our overall target of £25k) in under 4 full days. Thank you. But if you meant to donate and haven’t done so yet then now would be a good time to do so – click here to see the crowdfunding page and how to donate. Thank you again!
We need #justice4henharriers