Monday, 27 June 2011

Dr Shepherd's visit to Harrowdown Hill

This post is more of an observation than a criticism but I'm adding it on the basis that I want to publish as many facts as I can even if some are deemed of purely passing interest.

Not unreasonably perhaps Dr Shepherd makes a visit to Harrowdown Hill fairly soon after getting his confirmatory letter from Kevin McGinty.  The timing is unfortunate in that he finds himself going there in the winter: whereas Dr Kelly's body is discovered on 18 July 2003 Dr Shepherd's viewing of the scene is on Wednesday 8 December 2010.

In his report Dr Shepherd indicates that he is accompanied by Police Officers and members of the Attorney General's office.  UK readers will recall that most of December 2010 was viciously cold.  I've been able to get a clue to the weather in that particular area from this link on the internet  The 09.38 post on this forum indicates snow falling at North Hinksey - this is about 7 miles north east of Harrowdown Hill.  I'm not saying that Dr Shepherd's party were caught in a blizzard but the day it would seem was pretty bleak.

Yes Dr Shepherd would have got some sense of the local topography at least.  The wood though appears to consist entirely of deciduous trees or if there are evergreens then they are very few.  In a very cold December the undergrowth would surely be minimal.  I do wonder if the visit would have yielded much useful information as to the situation in July 2003.

This is an extract from a Daily Telegraph report of 29 January 2004:
Yesterday Harrowdown Hill was a different place. The path along which Dr Kelly took his final walk on July 17 last year was slithery underfoot with deep, sticky mud. The woods that crown the hill, dense and green when Dr Kelly's body was found by two searchers the morning after his disappearance, were a stark tangle of trunks and bare branches.

On 8 December last year I can imagine that Dr Shepherd and those with him would have been grateful to have got the site visit completed. 


  1. A quite pointless exercise by Shepherd.

    A YouTube video of Harrowdown Hill woods in mid-summer would be much more instructive.

  2. Brrrrrrrr!- it looks pretty frosty in the central Oxford river meadows at Christ Church that day.... probably worse atop Harrowdown Hill!

  3. Felix, yes it certainly looks very chilly in that photograph!