For four days last week, ultra marathon runner Henry Morris ran a total of 200 km across the grouse moors of Bowland AONB, Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale AONB.
Henry was accompanied by a relay team of runners including his brother Ed and friends John and Tim, as well as various other runners who joined in on different days to offer support.
[L-R: John, Ed, Henry & Tim at the start of their extraordinary run, photo by Mark Avery]
The purpose of this extraordinary effort was two-fold: to raise awareness about the illegal killing of hen harriers on grouse moors, and to raise money for Wild Justice to use on hen harrier-related projects.
These guys don’t work in the conservation field – their day jobs are a personal trainer, a nurse, an analyst and a music promoter – but they were inspired to take action after reading about the plight of hen harriers (a recent paper showed that 72% of satellite-tagged hen harriers have been taken out, illegally, on grouse moors) and the absolute scandal that those killing hen harriers are never brought to justice.
Henry put together a website (here), a crowdfunder (here) and planned his route to visit the locations of satellite-tagged hen harriers that had ‘disappeared‘ (most likely been killed). Here’s a map of the route, different colours denote the route for each day and the ‘CP’ marker was the Check Point marker of each missing hen harrier:
On Saturday afternoon, the team reached the finish line in Nidderdale where they were met by friends and family for a well-deserved pint or two at the Stone House Inn at Thruscross.
[Photos by PJ]
What an extraordinary achievement, motivated solely by a desire to do ‘something’ to help hen harriers.
Of course, this has come at a cost. Not just the physical cost of running so far, in such terrain, in so few days, but these guys have also been subjected to personal abuse on social media by the usual trolls from the game-shooting industry. These trolls are predictable in that they’ll attack anyone seen to be helping, or associated with, Wild Justice. We’re sorry, Henry, Ed, John and Tim, that you’ve had to suffer such abuse.
Incredibly, Henry’s crowdfunder has raised a whopping £10,365 so far. If you’d like to show your support to these extraordinary runners, please consider making a small donation HERE