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Jim Wilkinson of Airdrie winner of Lanarkshire Social Circle Gold Cup 2018

"The Stress Free System"

On starting this report it should be noted that Jim Wilkinson has always been a top fancier at any distance, as recently as 2014 I completed an article on Jim's remarkable season that seen him top the Lanarkshire federation on three occasions in a very difficult season.
This report we are concentrating on his brilliant Lanarkshire Gold Cup result, which is based on distance racing into Scotland.

Jim is seventy four years young, his appetite for the sport is incredible, he has a quiet confidence about his pigeons and so he should because they are pure class.

I started the sport back in the early eighties. Then racing in the Scottish Midland Federation and then Jim was always the man to beat. He could compete at all distances.
I got the feeling during our conversation Jim isn't really interested in his past performances, just looking forwards.

Since joining the Lanarkshire Federation and Lanarkshire Social Circle he has maintained this standard but recently he has started concentrating on the distance racing with the Scottish National Flying Club..

About three years ago a great friendship was born with Jim meeting Dave Jamieson Of East Calder .Dave is a name every one associates with top National performances. This year he was Scotland Fancier of the Year.
Dave Jamieson is a master of breeding and racing distance pigeons, his results will tell you that! Dave has only one aim distance racing into Scotland.

Jim Wilkinson (L) with Dave Jamieson presenting the gold cup

Jim has modelled his management on the Jamieson model with great success, This model has also been achieved by Wullie Bothwick of Annan who’s race team and management is based on Dave's Great success, for Wullie winning this year’s Scottish National Gold Cup race, and many other top performances. These birds have gave him the foundation of pigeons that are proven Scottish distance stock.

As history would tell you Jim is no stranger to national results, already winning a good number of sections, but its the time tfor him o see what he can achieve at concentrating on distance events. This isn't an easy transition as we all know that distance racing is a real test with larger number of casualties.

I took the time to travel over to Glenmavis, a village two miles North of Airdrie town, to meet up with Jim for this chapter in his remarkable season winning this year’s Lanarkshire Social Circle Gold Cup..
Jim started competing in the five race programme which take in the gold cup races with twenty one racers .The programme includes a five race which starts with he coast race 350 miles out to the longest race 600 miles. Which is around 2,300 in mileage Each race you can only nominate 4 birds and have to time in race time.
This cup is the" Holy Grail" of cups and is very difficult to win., many have tried and failed as isn't always won due to the difficulty of the race programme.
Most will know that distance racing is a great leveller and only the best constitution of pigeon can tolerate so many hours on the wing. Jim recognised this and initially purchased some youngsters from Dave Jamiesons "very best stock!..

Both now share the best of bloodlines based on Dave's Champion racers and Dave has stated that Jim has the very best in his loft!

After a discussion about how Jim has managed his success in a very short time,.
We took the time to discuss his management of these distance pigeons. Jim calls it "The Stress Free System"

Jim is quick to say he has spent the time listening to Dave and copied his system to the smallest of detail .

The race team are paired around the end of February with the stock eggs being floated under some feeders. The youngsters are moved with the hens when split and thereafter go into two large sections with plenty of air movement. When in Jim's loft you notice the amount of ventilation there is a six inch ventilation in the floor to the apex roof with air movement.
During the off season all birds are housed in the hen section and young bird sections. The main racing loft and stock loft is empty and cleaned to a very high standard.
Jim says he sprays the loft regularly with bleach & Jeyes fluid; he also is a great lover of creosote his perch trays are brushed down annually with same.
Annual treatment for e coli with De weert Parastop .The birds are vaccinated with Nobi vac after this treatment and nothing thereafter.
The birds get tea tree oil in the bath water which keeps the external mites at bay. He also likes to use smoke bombs for keeping the loft free of fungal spores This is done when the sections are empty. On return from race they have garlic cloves and honey in the water for two days.
The odd time they receive cider vinegar but no set routine.
The hens were housed in the hen box section and the cocks in the two young bird sections in the off season. No birds are out during the off season.
The birds are fasted for a few days to get them ready for the breeding season.


Jim's old bird loft     -    Young bird sction with avairy and hen racing section on left     -     Racing hen boxes that are available yo youngsters when hens are paired for Nationals


Floor area inside loft    -        Jim's ventilation at floor level

It’s a modest set up with well-maintained lofts, everything in the right place.
Main loft for old bird racing.One for youngsters that includes old hen racing boxes. And a small stock loft for his nine pair of stock.
He feeds Versela laga mixture, depending on the month and needs of the pigeons. His feed system for the racers is a build-up system which is geared to having the best mixture on the last four feeds. Jim’s birds are not starved but they are managed to be race fit and buoyant. This is up to the fancier to understand the needs of their pigeons.
No training is carried out and the birds train with vigour around the loft twice per day The birds first race is 1st May with the Boness Open from around eighty miles. They are flown celibate up to the Maidstone race, then paired for the channel races.(Those going to Blue Ribbon race will be paired earlier)
They go every week if possible through to Maidstone.
Inland racing is only really used for hours on the wing for the testing National race programme.
Looking at Jim's Inland results the birds are always "there and there about each week.
Winning the Yearling derby and Young bird Open in the Lanarkshire Federation recently.
Within his present team is a top check w/f cock who topped the Lanarkshire federation back to back races. That is some pigeon!.


Back to Back 1st Open Lanarkshire Federation winner 2017, Check W/F cock "What a pigeon"       -       Blue Cock SNFC Reims timer 6th Sect 2018     -     Mealy cock ,winner of three SNFC diplomas


Dark cheq cock ,11th sect Buckingham SNFC Young Bird National 2018     -     Cheq hen timer from Ypres SNFC 7th sect 2018     -     Cheq hen timer from SNFC Maidstone 3rd sect 2018


Ch W/F hen Lanarkshire Yearling derby winner 2017     -      Cheq hen SNFC Liege Gold timer 19th sect 2018     -     Blue hen SNFC Ypres 2nd sect 2017

Cheq hen SNFC Royes 10th sect 2018

When he pairs the racers the hens are exercised with the youngsters and the cocks when off the nest .No road training is carried out!
As stated earlier Jim raced the Gold Cup programme with twenty one pigeons and after a tou gh season had fifteen remaining.
The main events he selected only a small team of sometimes only two competing.
Jim has total confidence in his pigeons and feels that he has a better chance of success with these pigeons
.The Dave Jamieson pigeons make up most of his racers but their are still some of his own top pigeons that can win.

The youngsters are not road trained and exercise well around the loft. His youngsters haven't ever suffered the dreaded young bird syndrome. Natural bred. They are tested with a number going to the longest federation race and training race with Edinburgh Pentland federation from Newark in preparation for the Young Bird National. Jim on seasons past sent 15 to the Young bird National and had all home from nearly 300 miles. They are tested if the feathering is right!
"You can’t shy away from the best races" said Jim

Dave Jamieson of East Calder montage of top pigeons,the base of Jim's racers

Onto the pigeons mostly all check and blues from the Dave’s lines which are ,based on his Champion racers "Rosary Beads" & "White Mick."
They are pure class, in the hand not big, soft feathers and a very strong rump.
They appear to have more feathers than most pigeons. Very similar in type with mostly pear eye sign which is always a good thing in a family of pigeons.


The class is there to be seen and with decades of Scottish top winning racers in their genes why wouldn't they continue to perform at the distance.

The time went very quickly and I left thinking Its only a matter of time before more top National performances will be achieved by Jim's brilliant race team..

It’s worth noting that Jim also won this year’s Section E averages in the Scottish National Flying Club.

I would like to thank Jim for the lunch and time to provide the fancy with this loft report of a real master of his trade.

Tom Corrie jnr
Lanarkshire press officer




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