Dove Step 3 – the long road to Spain…

This time next year we will have completed five weeks and the biggest endurance effort of our lives. Preparation is already afoot and the Dove Step flag is flying…


… Dove Step beer is brewed, sold and drunk…

… pin badges are worn with pride…

… as we talk Turtle Doves, Dove Step and support Operation Turtle Dove as best we are able.

Just as important as completing endurance events is raising both funds and awareness for Turtle Doves. To this end I was delighted to speak with the fellow wildlife enthusiasts of the Stowmarket Wildlife Group last month. They were an engaging group, asking plenty of questions and they also kick-started our Dove Step 3 fundraising  in a big way!

I received the following feedback from the talk:

An inspiring evening’ and ‘It was great to see such dedication to the survival of a species’

Very generous, although we only wish for Dove Step to be judged upon the next journey. We need to go further, harder and for longer.

If you have not managed to attend a Dove Step talk as yet you have the following opportunities to do so over the coming twelve months or so:

  • Monday 6th June, 2016 – Bird Watching Wildlife Club at Grantown Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey. 20:30 start. Free entry.
  • Thursday 24th November, 2016 -Little Cornard Conservation Society, Little Cornard Village Hall. 20:00 start. £2.50 on the door.
  • Wednesday 11th January, 2017 – Alde & Blyth Suffolk Wildlife Trust local group, Lesiston. 19:30 start.
  • Tuesday 11th April – Haddenham Conservation Society, Arkenstall Village Centre, 7 Station Rd, Haddenham, Ely CB6 3XD. 20:00 start. £2.50 on the door.

If you are unable to attend any of the above you can listen to some Dove Step chat from the comfort of your own home via the Patchwork Challenge podcast, starting from 33 minutes in:

Although it is still very early in the year, I have already had the pleasure to see an overwintering Turtle Dove in the eastern region. This bird has over-wintered for its third consecutive winter:


It was a privilege to see this bird and with thanks to those who facilitated the visit. This bird over-wintering as opposed to migrating has coincided with a run of mild winters, as such its gamble has paid off. Shirking the rigours of migration and the guns of both legal and illegal hunters is a good bet, especially with the recent news that Malta will shoot 5000 Turtle Doves this Spring despite their Red List status and vulnerability to extinction.


As with the Maltese referendum on Spring hunting, which took place just before we commenced Dove Step 2, this is more fuel to our fire. More reason to endure further, harder and for longer – for Turtle Doves.

If you have not already, then please feel free to support our Dove Step 3 fundraising efforts. It is a huge driver as we train and plan the crossing of Spain that the fundraising total is gently rising – with your support we have already broken the £300 raised barrier!


There is only ten months left until we leave for Spain and commence marching. That does not mean we are taking it easy. Dove Step team members were at the Anglesey Half Marathon – with two of us finishing inside of two hours:


Sir Rob and myself have also clocked our first proper walking milage of the year – with 27 miles through Suffolk Breckland. It was good to be back walking and courtesy of our Bridgedale socks no blisters were incurred and the 27 miles was comfortably achieved.

Until the next update, please do not forget Turtle Doves and do not forget Dove Step!


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