Dove Step – Day 2

Duration: 9.5 hours
Daily Distance: 25 miles / 40 km
Cumulative Distance: 53 miles / 85 km
Distance left to go: 250 miles / 403 km
Temperature: 8 – 15 Oc
Wind: 7mph
Number of bird species encountered: 82 including Bullfinch, Jay, Curlew, Barnacle Goose and ROSS’S GOOSE!!!


Goodrick – close encounter with a Roe Deer, breakfast and dinner!

Sir Rob – walking along the banks of the Great Ouse. Seeing Peter Scott lighthouse.

Jonny – proving we can walk the furthest we’ve ever walked – only to wake up and do it again!

Today can be described as a pain sandwich! With the twist that the punishing endurance was book-ended by wonderful treatment and feeds!

We broke camp and walked an hour to St Mary’s Lodge Bed and Breakfast where Anna had arranged for us to have a cooked breakfast and use of the washroom.

The breakfast was immense! The house, grounds and view were equally impressive. It set us up wonderfully for some serious mileage…

… and it was really serious mileage. A further 25 miles on yesterdays 28 which took a big toll on us. All contact points; shoulders and in particular feet have degraded. We are also wresting with Vaseline and Bepanthen to prevent / heal chaffed areas!

We are now convalescing under the care of the super hospitable Rising Sun at Gedney Drove End.

Rob and myself are very much looking forward to getting up and shedding the miles to Frampton Marsh RSPB reserve where we give a talk about Dove Step tomorrow.

More mind over matter miles for Turtle Doves!




Dove Step – Day 1

Duration: 9 hours
Daily Distance: 28 miles / 45 km
Cumulative Distance: 28 miles / 45 km
Distance left to go: 275 miles / 443 km
Temperature: 8 – 15 Oc
Wind: 14mph
Number of bird species encountered: 74 including Crane, Water Pipit, Bearded Tit, Goosander.


Goodrick – meeting Sir Rob and getting blisters! Plus, finishing the walk – twice!

Sir Rob – seeing Cranes over Lakenheath, the false gift of having finished before realising the correct bridge was 4km further on!

Jonny – finally getting started and shedding the first 28 miles of many!

We are currently enjoying the very best of Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen and trying to best recover from the days (over) marathon efforts. The whole team are delighted to be joined by Dove Step fellow Anna.

We also couldn’t have had a better and off – with many thanks to Fee, Sven and Jane, Dawn and Bethany and the Eastern Daily Press for marking the occasion.

Here is a picture of Bethany with her supporters certificate. With thanks for starting Dove Step!



Evening all,

Just testing uploading a blog via the iPhone app.

As I type both Sir Rob and Goodrick are orienting towards Suffolk for some late night route checking and a few hours sleep before we head to the start line; Lakenheath Fen RSPB. Be sure to check out today’s reserve blog which contains a nifty Dove Step mention!

I cannot speak for the other two but I am excitedly nervous about the challange ahead. At times it seems very doable and at other times overwhelming! Any last minute jitters have, however been totally dispelled by the huge upsurge of support on both twitter and our JustGiving page today. The well wishes and ever increasing total raised has made for a pretty emotional day!

We will certainly have a spring in our (dove) step come the morning.


Bag packed!

Well with two days to go I have finally assembled all the kit I need. I have a dodgy back, so I decided to make an investment in some high-tech lightwieght stuff to minimise my pack load. All in all, I was pretty pleased to get the pack wieght down to around 8kg.

So, my entire world revolves around the following kit for the 13 days of the walk:


3 pairs soft cotton trunk style pants

3 pairs Bridgedale socks

3 t-shirts

1 thermal base layer (top and legs) doubling up as pyjamas.

1 pair Meindl boots (love you!)

1 pair craghopper trousers, unfashionable cut.

1 pair shorts (cotton)

1 microfleece

1 beanie hat

Rab waterproof jacket (lightweight at 550g)

One man tent (Wild country Zephyros) 1.5kg

Rab down sleeping bag (600g)

Therm-a-rest sleeping mat (600g)

Head torch

Swiss army knife

Bedsocks (Heatholders)


Nail scissors

First aid kit minus bandages


Iphone for tweeting

Powerbee rechargeable power pack.

Bepanthen to soothe chafing.

Lamisil for Athlete’s foot


Water bottle

Compact Swarovskis (216g) borrowed from the great Peter Ryley (thank you!)

Foody bits

Cleaning cloth

Toilet roll

washing gear, toothbrush, toothpaste, sun cream

Plastic bags

Wallet with photos of children (love you too!)

And, I think that’s it? can you think of anything I’ve forgotten?

Cornell Labs notebook


3 days!

It is getting wonderfully close to kick off!

Everything is in place and just a few last minute updates…

Sadly, Tris will not be joining the walking team owing to family circumstance. He will of course be sorely missed during the walk but remains an integral member of the Dove Step team. All the best to Tris and family and we look forward to many future adventures.

The Dove Step beer is currently brewing away and melding into a delicious thing under BlackBar brewer Joe’s expert guidance. Keep an eye on the BlackBar Brewery website and Twitter for announcements on which pubs will be stocking Dove Step beer next month.

Here are a few photos of the creation process, kindly shared by Joe:

Rosemary! Dove Step beer first principles! Photo © @BlackBarBrewery


Bay tree butchery! Photo © @BlackBarBrewery
Looking really good! Photo © @BlackBarBrewery


Brew my beauty, brew! Photo © @BlackBarBrewery
What colour is that? I’d say its Turtle Dove mantle ginger! Photo © @BlackBarBrewery

A massive thank you to BlackBar brewery for the continued support – it means a lot. We couldn’t be more proud of our sponsors: BlackBar Brewery, Wild Frontier Ecology and of course Bridgedale Socks.

A special mention also needs to go out to Dove Step artist and true gentleman Gyr Crakes. You can still purchase his Turtle Dove t-shirt from the Zazzle store, as modelled by these lovely ladies…

Turtle Dove t-shirts c/o @GyrCrakes
Turtle Dove t-shirts c/o @GyrCrakes

Hugely humbling and massively inspiring is the support we have received via the JustGiving page. At the time of writing, the total raised is a whopping £885! This has already surpassed our expectation and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated.

We will do you proud! We are chomping at the bit to get walking and we will cover each mile proud of the funds we’ve raised to date and any more we are able to. 300 miles for Turtle Doves – here we go!



11 days and counting…

Turtle Dove - picture c/o Barry Woodhouse
Turtle Dove – picture c/o Barry Woodhouse

With many thanks to those of you who have followed our preparation to date. I think we are ready! Where possible, we will update this blog as we walk or have a Dove Step fellow relay our progress from their internet enabled location!

Analog Dove Step advertising - cards in the visitor Centre at Lackford Lakes SWT
Analog Dove Step advertising! Cards in the visitor Centre at Lackford Lakes SWT

As I type, Dove Step sponsor BlackBar Brewery are preparing to brew the Dove Step beer which you will be able to drink at various pubs in the east of England during our walk. We may also have a limited supply at some stops of our journey!

BlackBar Brewery
BlackBar Brewery

We have a working itinerary for each day which currently looks like this:

Day 1 we follow the course of the Little Ouse before joining the Great Ouse and following it all the way to the Denver Sluice. After crossing the river we will camp at Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen. We camp in the beer garden of The Cock, on Church Road adjacent to the River Great Ouse.

Day 2 we continue along the course of the Great Ouse crossing at West Lynn to join the Peter Scott Way then stay at Gedney Drove End, where we camp in the beer garden of The Rising Sun.

Day 3 following the edge of the Wash we cross Fosdyke Bridge, then take the Macmillan Way to Frampton Marsh RSPB where we will stop overnight. We are also giving a talk here on Turtle Doves, Operation Turtle Dove, Dove Step and Tristan’s 1000 miles in memory of Martha project.

Day 4 once again on the Macmillan Way we will pass through Frieston village then Butterwick and finish up at Wainfleet all Saints.

We will camp here – let us know if you have garden or even floor space!

Day 5 we cut across to the coast and head north along the beach to stay at Mablethorpe.

We will camp here – let us know if you have garden or even floor space!

Day 6 from Mablethopre we cross Stone Bridge continuing to North Somercotes then follow the beach again to Tetney Lock and stay at Cleethorpes.

Here we stay with Mr Collett – a whole hearted thanks to Mr Collett and Collett junior of Frampton Marsh fame for your hospitality.

Day 7 we pass through Cleethorpes, then Grimsby and East Halton before camping at Skitterness.

Day 8 we cross the Humber Bridge then continue north on the Yorkshire Wolds Way to Beverley where we will stay.

Day 9 onwards ever north on the Minster Way to arrive and stay at Langtoft.

Here we stay with the Spencers – with many thanks for your hospitality!

Day 10 we once again travel the Yorkshire Wolds Way through Filey and then to our resting place Scarborough.

Day 11 onto the Cleveland Way which takes us all the way to Whitby.

Day 12 again on the Cleveland Way this time to Salttburn.

Day 13 we take the Coastal Path then the Teesdale Way to the Transporter Bridge which heralds our glorious arrival at Saltholme RSPB!

If any east coast birders are reading this from Scarborough, Whitby or Saltburn and would like us to sleep on their floor that would be great! Please get in touch via the comments section.

Otherwise, one last training walk planned for Sir Rob and myself this Saturday, Tris is continuing his 1000 miles for Martha campaign and Goodrick is running his weights vest up and down Whin Hill, in the Peak District! We are as ready as we can hope to be…

Goodrick on top of Win Hill
The view from Win Hill…
Goodrick (and weights vest) descending Win Hill

Just 11 days until we get walking!

Mighty Wales!

I have finally come to terms with what proved to be a chronically awesome weekend in North Wales and now feel able to share some of the events as they unfolded…

It was great to catch up with Dove Step team mate Goodrick having not seen him since our Peak Training… and a whole hearted thanks to Mrs Goodrick for been the hostess with the mostest throughout the weekend.

Having travelled overnight I was up early to meet Dove Step fellow Marc Hughes as well as other leading lights of North Wales birding; Henry, Mike and Robin. Marc and co. treated me to a superb day out seeing the very best of North Wales and keeping me suitably distracted from the next days Half Marathon.

Via a tour of various sites we encountered a wonderful array of species including; Black Guillemot, Eider, 5! (yes five) Surf Scoter, Dipper, Scaup, Raven, Hawfinch and Merlin.

Unforgettable awesome in unforgettable surroundings. I have certainly never seen a flock of Surf Scoter before and I am not sure many have in UK waters! It was also amazing to be in such close proximity to Hawfinch.

The view from Bangor Pier
The view from Bangor Pier
Marc, Henry and Mike surveying the landscape...
Marc, Henry and Mike surveying the landscape…
Wales is awesome!
Raven. Photo copyright Henry Cook.
Raven. Photo copyright Henry Cook.
White Hawk! A beautiful leucistic Buzzard. Photo copyright Henry Cook.
White Hawk! A beautiful leucistic Buzzard. Photo copyright Henry Cook.
Stonechat in the hand! An incredible bird to see so close. Ringed by and photograph copyright Robin Sandham.

Having soaked up the very best of North Wales birding, in such good company, I was ready to get back to digs and commence celebrating Goodrick’s 30th birthday! Of course mindful that we had 13.2 miles to run in the morning!

We were early up the next day despite the nights festivities. All got focused for the half marathon. Undertaking our various pre-run rituals and heading down to the Menai Suspension Bridge, start point for the half marathon, in good time for the 9am start.

Goodrick and I looked absolutely resplendent in our RSPB vests and I was proud to be running sporting the RSPB logo and in training for Dove Step. The Daily Post had mentioned Dove Step in their ‘Runners ready to raise money for good causes‘ news piece. So I was sure to keep my head up, keep and good pace and run with pride in case anyone recognised me! With many thanks to Ben, with whom I ran the first 4 miles. It made for excellent pace setting and a solid start to the run.

The route was superbly scenic and the weather added extra drama – with drizzle and strong winds whipping up as we passed Beaumaris Castle, on the return leg along the sea front the wind was pushing the tide so hard it was ankle deep on the path and waves cascaded at head height! Exciting stuff.

Having kept strong pace throughout I felt moved to finish with a sprint (well a slight increase in speed – I am no Usain Bolt!). Goodrick finished strong in 02:01:28 and I crossed the line a few minutes later in 02:04:09.

Home »

With the RPSB logo on our vests and the Dove Step mention on the Daily Post article I was incredibly proud to have made the distance, without stopping and to look reasonably composed for the finish line photo!IMG_9900

With the remainder of Sunday to recuperate and fine weather forecast on the Monday we made the most of our North Wales location and got some miles in our legs around Llyn Padarn in the shadow of Snowdon. Beautiful!

50% of the Dove Step team, training walk Llyn Padarn. Photo copyright Mrs Goodrick.

At the same time Goodrick and myself were shedding miles on Anglesey our team mate Tris was doing the same around Haweswater! Read about that over on Tris’s blog.

All great training and heartening as we are just 23 days away from the start of Dove Step!

A whole hearted thanks to everyone that made every minute of the Welsh trip so enjoyable. In no particular order and hoping to have not forgotten anyone; Mr and Mrs Goodrick, Ben Walton, Marc Hughes (HRH The Duke of Great Orme), Henry Cook, Mike, Robin Sandham, the organisers and volunteers of The Island Race, Always Aim High Events, Blake Welton and the North Wales Daily Post, the good people of Anglesey and any other Dove Step fellows we bumped into, ran with or enjoyed an ale with! Thank you.