Jul 20, 2022 | Activities, Blog, Events

Salmon Run

Salmon Run Sunday 25 September 2022
Run with the salmon!

 

The Atlantic salmon is a keystone species, an indicator of the health of our waters.  The story of the salmon also tells us about climate change and changing water temperatures in seas and rivers, water flow and water quality and barriers to movement which, through our industrial past, we have placed in the river.  Europe’s salmon have declined by 93% since 1970.  In the past, salmon ran in their thousands in the Exe. A question we received in the Exe Estuary Box was: When are the salmon coming back?

This event has now happened and a report will follow. It was a great success and a lot of fun. This page carries some of the structure of the day. A notebook entry is available that explains some of our initial research for the project. You can find this here.

Following the journey of returning salmon on their odyssey from the wild north Atlantic to the shaded river valleys of Exmoor, over one day in Autumn (Sunday 25 September 2022) a relay of runners of different ages and abilities passed between them a hand printed salmon ‘icon’ from the sea at Exmouth to the spawning grounds in the River Barle – a journey of over the 50 miles. A group of four runners set off early from the ocean, numbers of runners grew to two larger ‘shoals’ of approx 50 runners through Exeter’s valley park in two shorter runs and returned to a relay of four, running in stages as they proceeded up the Exe Valley Way and Two Moors Way to arrive in Exmoor at Tarr Steps late in the day ( see below for the route). Participants registered to be part of the run co-ordinated by Tidelines with Ceri Rees of Wild Running, a CIC with expertise in organising bespoke trail runs.

The salmon’s story was animated using a blend of art, design, science and performance – and running!  Salmon guides from RAMM, Westcountry Rivers Trust and University of Exeter were on hand to share information and stories about these remarkable and at-risk creatures in Riverside Valley Park, Exeter at  Blackaller Weir. On the Exe, river weirs are a key obstacle that salmon have to cross to get up and down river, many of these pose significant challenges to the Salmon moving freely up and down the river.

Listen here to the 25 minute Salmon Run podcast which celebrates this remarkable species, its migratory journey and its ecological and cultural significance for the Exe, Exeter and globally (see previous blog for more about our research on the Exe Salmon). It features: Phil Turnbull, Westcountry Rivers Trust; Jamie Stevens, fish genetics at Unversity of Exeter, David Solomon, salmon researcher, Michelle Werrett, fisherman on Exmoor, Andy Chadwick, fisherman at Topsham, Tom Cadbury, RAMM archaeology curator and Holly Morgenroth, natural history curator at RAMM.


The Salmon Run Structure on the day

To take part in Salmon Run?

The Salmon Run has opportunities for: 

Short distance runners in Exeter’s Riverside Valley Park

Longer-distance runners along the whole route (in 6 x 6km-16km sections) – Get together a team of 4+1 (reserve runner)

Solo runners, pro-runners, teams, families, supporters all welcome. Any problems signing up email Ceri: info@wildrunning.co.uk

Salmon stewards in Exeter and at various points along the whole route (email us at info@tidelines.uk)

People who want to come along and wave at us and the salmon anywhere along the route! (Email us or join our mailing list for updates on timings) or keep an eye out on social media. Also feel free to wear some salmon attire on the day!

Google route map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=16i79j6miRYM2gQE0b_7D0XzAHpK7ltA&usp=sharing

When and where to come alongin Exeter:
Salmon Pool Weir  Runners check in from 9.30am (runners expected in from Section 1 ie exmouth to salmon pool around 10-10.15)
Blackaller Weir  Runners check in from 10.15am (runners expected in from Section 2 around 10.45/11 onwards) Here there will be information about salmon from 4 specialsists from Exeter University, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the West Country Rivers Trust as well as the auther of the definiticve book onSalmon in the Exe, David Soloman.
Exwick Mill Field runners expected here from Blackaller Weir at 11.20
See the googlemap link below for the entire route. All are welcome to come along and support the runners along the route. I will be possible to follow the runners’ progress by viewing a website here: https://live.opentracking.co.uk/salmonrun22/

This event was free. We want as many people as possible to know about and celebrate these remarkable creatures together and we don’t want cost to be a barrier to participating. We do ask that you commit to attending. We are limiting numbers so its important that you show up on the day or tell us in advance if you really cant make it. To register fill out the online form and listen to a short podcast which includes the voices of different people talking about Atlantic Salmon and this project. We are sure you will find it fascinating.We will have an online pre-event briefing in mid-September which anyone can come to.  If you have any questions about access or want to ask any questions about the day send us an email: info@tidelines.uk
 
What else is happening on the day?
 
Blackaller Weir in Exeter’s Riverside Valley Park had information points where you can learn from experts about  these amazing creatures,  their history and how we can support them to flourish in our river. Including scientists, fish experts, historians and researchers from RAMM, University of Exeter and West Country Rivers Trust. There was a small celebration at Tarr Steps when the salmon finally arrives and as the salmon starts its journey in Exmouth at 8.30am which you are welcome to join.
 
Why are we doing this?
 
Please see our research blog for more information. Tidelines is a community led project that brings arts, science, community and natural environment together to create inspiring ways to come together in collaboration to care for, restore, adapt and respond to a rapidly changing planet at a time and climate and ecological emergency. We think the Atlantic Salmon can teach us about our river and how to look after it.
 
We do ask that you do your best to travel to and from the Salmon Run by public transport, on foot or bike. We want to try and keep the carbon footprint of this event as low as possible. Bus and train links are good along much of the run. 

Some things that make salmon so awesome?

Migrate thousands of miles

Navigate back to the same place that they were born

Survive in fresh and salt water by changing their breathing system

Survive extreme variations in water temperature

Lived in the Exe for thousands of years

Keystone species (play a vital part in the health of the river ecosystem)

Use the tides to help propell them up the river

Salmon Run is a pilot project of the Creative Arc, a unique collaboration between the University of Exeter, Exeter City Council and The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery to explore how the museum and its collections can help shape a better Exeter. Additional funding from University of Exeter’s Creative Peninsula programme funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council. Partners include Topsham Museum, Westcountry Rivers Trust and Co Cars.

 

 
 
 
 

 

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