Some of you will remember that last summer, in July, I walked the North West Way. In 11 days, I trekked 191 miles from Preston to Carlisle. I started by walking along the Ribble Way, then the Yorkshire Dales and Pennine Way, onto the Pennines and finished along the Hadrian’s Wall path in Carlisle. I really enjoyed doing the walk, it was tough at times but, looking back, I had some amazing experiences and I can’t wait to do something similar again.
Equally as satisfying was that I raised £3000 for my cause, this is the work that the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are doing to monitor the decline of the Swift. Between 1995-2014, 47% of breeding numbers have declined here in the UK and no one is really sure why. It could be due to the decline in the abundance of invertebrates that are available to them during the breeding season. But little is known about their foraging behaviour during the breeding season. Or it could be something that is happening to them elsewhere in the world and on migration. Or quite possibly, both of these reasons.
To find out more, this is why miniature GPS tags are being deployed onto swifts at breeding colonies. The BTO will be able to track swifts both on their foraging flights during the breeding season and over their annual migration. As each tag will be able to record around 300 locations per deployment, this will allow the BTO to quantify the amount of time spent over different habitats and the distances travelled from the colony through short-term deployments during the breeding season.
The money raised will go towards supporting the BTO with ensuring that these tags are safe enough to be deployed on Swifts and gather data to help them learn more about the challenges they face.
Although I’d posted a few blogs about the walk, I realised that I hadn’t published the total amount, and thought it was only right to do a short blog with the total as many kindly and generously donated and supported me along the way. My original target was £500 but I totally smashed this and raised £2965 through my online JustGiving page plus £40 offline, which added up to £3005.
I couldn’t be any more ecstatic about this. Since the walk, I also did a podcast with Charlie Moores from Lush, where I spoke about the walk, the link for this is here. I was also kindly invited by the BTO to attend their annual conference back in December, free of charge as a ‘thank you’ for my fundraising. This was my first BTO conference, which was very exciting and interesting due to the wide array of talks and presentations.