Brian’s Brit Blog Summer 2013   Leave a comment

As summer starts to fade away, it is time to reflect on how the 2013 season has been for me personally. It has, as I said previously, been a learning curve this year trying the widowhood system of racing for the first time. While it did not quite go according to plan, a lot has been learned, particularly in regard to the feeding regime for the distance races where it was necessary to go back to the tried and tested system that sees the pigeons being sent with enough fuel (stored energy) on board for the flight ahead, no matter what conditions are thrown at them!

Regarding young birds, only a few were bred this year due to lack of loft space and the hawks and peregrines had five of those before I started training, another four were lost in one bad race when the pigeons including my racing old hens returned scattered, one old hen taking over six hours to cover the 65 miles! The remaining few young birds have had five races, which is all I expect from them and they are now moulting out and will live to race another day when they will have a bit of maturity on them.

One of the big problems that continues to cause considerable concern and losses particularly with young birds all over the UK has been the increase in raptor attacks, especially from Peregrine falcons that now seem to be everywhere! I do not know of any loft that has not been affected to some extent and there seems to be no end to it or a solution. The main issue is not the number of pigeons they actually kill but the number that are scattered to the four winds when they attack, since young birds are particularly vulnerable and easily lost when attacked.

Weather wise, after a slow start to the racing season with the coldest spring on record, it has been the best summer we have had for several years, so this has produced generally good racing conditions with fewer hold overs. Some very good results have been recorded by some lofts and looking through the press reports we see many familiar names at the top of the result lists, so they must be doing something right, particularly Mark Gilbert who is considered by many to be the top fancier in England these days. Whether these fanciers have had their fair share of losses is not known but at least they are getting some winners through in good time, so we can say well done to them.

A few of the highlights are as follows: –

PAU International; (Winning the British section and the top four in the International)

1st G & C Cooper, Peasdown

2nd D& D McFadden, Cranleigh

3rd M Gilbert, Windsor

4th C Draper, Yalding

Barcelona International (British section)

1st M, C & J Norman, Southampton

2nd N Lane, Romford

3rd M Mitchell, Dover

4th D Hales, Hockley

5th M Gilbert, Windsor

6th G & C Cooper

The Jim Emerton Trophy for the longest flying pigeon goes to Trevor Robinson of Hull with two pigeons timed from a distance of 854 miles.

NFC Tarbes Grand National

1st B & P Winter, Howden

2nd M Gilbert, Windsor

3rd Mr & Mrs Moody, Windsor

4th R Spiers, Hailsham

An outstanding performance from the winner flying 728 miles, also Brian Denny of YORK finishing in 6th Open position flying 748 miles.

The Bergerac Race.

Mic Tucker and his Bergerac winner.

Mic Tuck and his Bergerac winner.

The Central Southern lorry transported around 2500 pigeons for a joint liberation combining, the CSCC, L&SECC, SMT Combine, Welsh NRFC, Dorset FED, Wiltshire FED, BB&O FED and South Coast Combine pigeons.

The race turned out to be a very hard one. After a one day hold over, the pigeons were liberated into a very hot stiff north east wind. Our local clock station sent around 100 pigeons from 16 members and on the night only four local pigeons were timed in, all to the loft of my good friend Mick Tuck who won the South Coast FED and Combine and his winning pigeon being 11th from the total convoy of 2500 birds. A tremendous effort considering the prevailing weather conditions, no other pigeons flew further that day against the head wind! Mick’s colony is descended from original pigeons which he obtained from the late Eric Cannon of Wormley.

The late Eric Cannon.

The late Eric Cannon.

What a legacy Eric Cannon has left the sport, there are many successful fanciers that can attribute much of their success to the Cannon pigeons, and even the great Mark Gilbert’s pigeons include two National winners, “NightFight and International Dax winner” which contain the blood of Cannon’s famous hen “Culmer Bess”. In his day, Cannon had won more National Flying Club awards than any other fancier, this award is presented to a pigeon that scores three times in the top 100 in a National race and this was when the birdage entered was greater than what we see today. My own family of pigeons is founded on three Cannon pigeons viz “ Old Cannon cock” his niece “Grunty” and a Blue hen “1153”. Unfortunately 1153 was killed by a hawk the first year I had her but her blood still flows through my loft today. I was very fortunate when I first started up here in UK that my good friend Keith Mott, who I had visited a few times before I moved over from N.Z. gifted these top pigeons to me. Keith organised the clearance sale of the Cannon loft when Eric passed away and in appreciation Mrs cannon gifted Keith four pairs of late breds from the best pigeons and what wonderful pigeons these have been for many fanciers who have been able to obtain these blood lines from Keith.  A full brother to my Old Cannon cock went the same year to Fred Dickson in the north east of England and has bred a dynasty of winners for Fred flying 581 miles from Bourges. Fred has recently returned this RED cock back to Keith who has named him “Foxwarren Fred” where he continues to churn out winners and is undoubtedly one of the top Cannon breeders in existence today.

See below for shots of the Old Cannon Cock, Grunty and Foxwarren Fred.

Old Cannon Cock

Old Cannon Cock.



Foxwarren Fred.

Foxwarren Fred.

Other Cannon bloodline pigeons of interest, please view below viz, Rocket Queen, Culmer Fantasy and Culmer Gold.

Rocket Queen.

Rocket Queen.

Culmer Fantasy.

Culmer Fantasy.

Culmer Gold.

Culmer Gold.

With autumn beginning to show its colours the pigeons are now in a heavy moult with the first few starting to come through it and as the winter approaches we have the show season to look forwards to, so we want them to come through the moult with their new coat looking spick and span for the show season and in good order for the next seasons racing.

Yours in sport,

Brian Batchelor

Elstead UK

Editors note-many thanks to Brian Batchelor for providing some good pigeon news and photos and also to Keith Mott for his recnt ‘touch up’ on photos of Culmer Fantasy, Foxwarren Fred and Culmer Gold.

I am busy racing and coping with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and my input to family life! This week the ARPF holds its first over the water race from Ward, South Island. It is our second Federation race this Old Bird Season.



Posted October 14, 2013 by ferguselley in Brian's Brit Blog, U.k. news items

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