A short summary of events over the weekend (and last weekend) ahead of the opening of the grouse shooting season (usually on the Inglorious 12th but this year) on the Inglorious 13th. [Obviously I wasn’t present at them all – any updates or corrections will be welcome].
Sheffield – 4 August
About 180 attendees. Speakers: Liz Ballard, Natalie Bennett, Ian Rotherham, Cathleen Thomas, Jon Stewart, Georgia Locock.
Rainham Marshes, RSPB – 11 August
Martin Harper speaks to c230 people on a sunny day at Rainham Marshes. Other speakers; Ruth Tingay, Natalie Bennett, Chris Packham and myself and a cameo performance by Barry Gardiner.
Grassington, Yorks – 11 August
About 70 attendees at an indoor event. Speakers: Steve Downing, Ian Court, Stuart Grainger, James Bray, Rhodri Thomas, Guy Shorrock
Hebden Bridge, Yorks – 11 August
An anti-grouse shooting rally in Hebden Bridge organised by LACS and Stop the Shoot. ‘Nearly 100’ attendees reported. Speakers: Luke Steele, Dominic Dyer, Ros Berrington, Nick Weston.
Dungonnel Reservoir, Northern Irleand – 11 August
About 50 attendees.
Parkgate, Cheshire – 12 August
Over 300 attended the Parkgate Hen Harrier Day rally. Speakers: Alan Davies, Colin Wells, Graham Jones, Jeff Clarke, Findlay Wilde, James Gray, myself and Iolo Williams.
Grantown, Highlands – 12 August
120 attendees at an indoor event. Speakers: Harry Huyton, Andy Wightman, Brian Etheridge, Isla Hodgson, Grant Moir.
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwicks – 12 August
Around 190 attendees. Speakers: Natalie Bennett, Nick Miles, David Lindo, Tim Birch, Emma Marsh, Peter Howe.
Sheffield Hallam Labour Party moorland walk, Peak District – 12 August
About 40 walkers.
So, around 1200 keen participants this year. Not bad at all. And a growing number of organisations taking part and organising these events related to grouse shooting, wildlife crime, and Hen Harriers. The base is spreading and becoming more solid.
Natalie Bennett deserves special mention – attending Sheffield, Rainham and Stratford-upon-Avon HHDay events – top job Natalie, and you are an inspiring speaker!
An attendee at the Highland HHDay event suggested to Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms NP, that it should be renamed the Cairngorms Grouse Park!
Iolo Willaims is going to release wolves and bears into Parliament and we gave Findlay Wilde an Icelandic thunderclap at Parkgate.
Andrew Gilruth had to give up his Saturday to come and take notes of what the speakers said at Rainham.To be fair, he couldn’t help but laugh at some of Chris Packham’s funniest lines.
Also at Rainham, we had the unexpected pleasure of a Labour front-bencher, Barry Gardiner, Shadow International Trade and Climate Change Secretary, attending. And despite not being on the speaker list he was pressed into saying a few words. Remember, Barry was at the Derwent Dam in 2014 so he is a veteran of these events. No senior politician gives up any of their Saturday in recess to attend an event unless it is either important or something in which they believe, and I think we can take it from Barry’s presence and what he said, that HHDay scored on both counts for him.
Amanda (If we let the Hen Harrier in…) Anderson has become a figure of fun at HHDays. She was mentioned at Parkgate with her famed kitchen window which looks out onto a sky black with raptors, but she apparently left the Grassington event before the showing of the Bleasdale Peregrine video. Seen it all before ‘Manda?