With Dove Step I have three aims; endurance, awareness raising and fundraising.
Across these three objectives I consider that Dove Step 3 was the most successful in all respects. The endurance is obvious enough - the walk was completed, on schedule, in 28 consecutive days from the south to north coast. 704.5 hard won miles. The fundraising from Dove Step 3 is similarly easy to call a success; £5873.12 and £6857.90 when GiftAid is added. Adding to a overall total, across Dove Steps, of over £12000. For my former self back in 2013, before we executed the first journey, this figure is astonishing and a point of much pride. I certainly couldn't have donated that much myself and it is wholly gratifying that across the three journeys Dove Step has attracted such a total.
This leaves awareness raising, perhaps the most difficult to quantify, despite the fact that it is almost as time consuming as the training and endurance! So, here follows an effort to demonstrate the least visible side of Dove Step.
I realised early on with Dove Step that the actual endurance event was about 10% of the total output. What is the point of surpassing physical and mental limits, enduring what, at times feels impossible, if nobody knows about it?
As such my mantra when it comes to any medium of coverage is; always say yes. No matter how inconvenient, no matter how much other issues life is piling on at any one times; say yes.
If the resulting coverage attracts £10 then the effort is worth it.
This year alone the awareness raising side of Dove Step 3 has encompassed literally every medium possible.
In all honesty, fitting in filming around 25 mile walking days was sub-optimal. It was more than enough to eat, sleep and repeat. However, as I said at the outset of this blog; endurance is about 10% of the total output. If no one knows what you are doing - you may as well not be doing it!
So if you have a Dove Step itch you need to scratch there are a multitude of ways to scratch away. As well as the above episode of La Adventura del Saber you can listen to an interview I did for BBC Radio Suffolk at the below Soundcloud link. If you don't want to see my face for radio or hear my voice then you can also find some words I wrote at the back of the current, July 2017, edition of Bird Watching Magazine.
I can honestly say that aside from family and friends there is little in life I would push so hard for and work so hard towards as Dove Step.
The reasons for this are simple. Turtle Doves, for me, encompass the natural world. The Afro-European migrants presently with us, our farmland birds, the habitat pressures our bird species face, the illegal and legal hunting of our birds. Everything.
Dove Step encompasses my frustrations, it is a conduit for my emotions around all these issues, an output in the face of so many things which seem out of control and utterly opposed to our natural world. It is a big burden and a big blessing. It rationalises the irrational. This is my small fight-back against the immeasurable factors that are simply out of my control and indeed the control of anyone with a deep seated care for the natural world.
That reads as pretty melodramatic - but I am comfortable with it. Purely because it is true.
The July 2017, edition of Bird Watching Magazine is on sale now and the Dove Step 3 JustGiving page is still available to receive donations at the following link; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/DoveStep3