What's the point?
Updated: Feb 8
This blog was written by Ed, shortly after last year's run to highlight hen harrier persecution.
In a world where so much destruction is being wrought every day, you might wonder why
anyone would choose to get involved in highlighting the persecution of Hen Harriers on
Driven Grouse Moors. At first glance it seems very niche.
But the thing is, after years of walking and running in the uplands I’ve slowly understood the
landscapes and the issues it faces. And the persecution of hen harriers by Grouse Estates,
in fact the whole way the land is managed for grouse is emblematic of the way we abuse the
world we share. For extremely short term benefits, a few (very few in this case), are causing
long term and irrevocable damage. This needs highlighting and all of a sudden doesn’t
seem very niche. The environmental damage resulting from Driven Grouse Shooting is a
scandal. The beneficial impacts of stopping it would be huge. Mark Avery (Inglorious [Bloomsbury]) and Guy Shrubsole (Who Owns England [Willam
Collins]) explain the detailed arguments and issues around this far better than I ever could
and I cannot recommend the books highly enough. Henry has also summarised the
arguments very well elsewhere on this site so I won’t rehearse them again. If you are
persuaded, ask yourself what can you do? You could go and support Hen Harrier day. But
as a start, you can write to your MP. Make the case. That is where this issue will be
resolved: with a ban on Driven Grouse Shooting and an evolution of the land management of the uplands into something that benefits the wider world. Sometimes change has to be top down, especially if the vested interests can’t or won’t see the wider picture.
But everything I’ve just said is based on the data, the logic. There is another reason. After a
disastrous wisdom tooth removal before last years run, I was not able to do as much running as I would have liked. I spent a lot of my time driving the others round or trying to snooze in
some amazing spots in the Dales while I waited for them. I also got to know the chemist in
Settle quite well. But on two occasions when the boys came off the moors I saw the glee in
their eyes and heard the joy in their voices as they described what they saw. First when
Henry and Tim appeared after watching a juvenile harrier near the nest; and second after
John came down from a moor after being separated from the others and ran into a pair.
That glee and joy made the whole trip worthwhile. Imagine if the 300 pairs of hen harriers
that England should be able to support were there. Imagine if everyone could experience