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Keith Mott writes...

The Best of the Up North Combine - Part 7



Many years ago there was a programme on the TV called ‘The Fancy’ and it was about the mighty Up North Combine and featured the little fishing village of Skinningrove. This sleepy little village, set on the coast, halfway between Redcar and Whitby has a long and successful connection with pigeon racing with many UNCwinners being recorded there. The little village is sited in a valley overlooking the North Sea and the valley sides are littered with pigeon lofts on both sides. It is a great place to visit. One of the most recent UNC winning lofts at Skinningrove is that of Geoff & Carolyn Brundle, who won 1st Open Folkestone (20,200 birds). Fifteen years ago, Geoff took over his stepfather's birds when he passed away and has had outstanding success, including 1st, 8th, 21st and 54th Open in the mighty UNC. He likes sprint racing and says Skinningrove is a very hard valley in which to compete. On a Saturday, the birds drop in the valley and he says you know the race winner, as most of the members in the club have their lofts on the sides of the valley at Skinningrove. The Brundles won the combine with a Busschaert / Janssen dark chequer pied hen, which was a widowhood hen and then was transferred to the racing section to make up the pairs. This game little hen won the Folkestone Combine on ten day-old eggs and previously won a 2nd and 6th club as a yearling. The partners race mainly widowhood, with 18 cocks on the system and a few pairs on the natural for the longer races. Geoff pairs up his racers and stock birds on December 26th and his cocks rear a youngster before going on the widowhood system. They are lightly trained while on their second round of eggs and are broken down during the racing season. The hens are shown on marking night and the cocks have their mates for about an hour on their return from the race. The 16ft widowhood section is very light and airy and has a grille floor for easy cleaning. The loft set-up is L-shaped and all trapping is through open doors. The main family kept is Janssen with a few Busschaerts and the stock team is 18 birds strong. All the first round of eggs from the stock birds are floated under the racers. The Brundles have raced their 40 young birds on the darkness for the last eight yearsand have won the Young Bird Average. The youngsters are put on the darkness system when they are weaned from their parents and taken off on the old bird Bourges weekend, being darkened down from 4 to 9pm. The young birds are allowed to pair up and are trained every day throughout the season, if the weather is right.



For our next loft visit we are coming just inland from Skinningrove to Loftus, to the Up North Combine winning loft of Kevin Locker. His 1st Open combine (26,158 birds) Folkestone, 253 miles, is the highlight of 20 successful years in the sport, where he has been an outstanding force in the sprint racing. Kevin's combine winner was a yearling latebred Soontjens blue cock raced on the widowhood system and was still carrying a nest flight when he won the UNC. The handsome cock had every race up to the combine win, scoring several times, including 2nd club Epping and had one race as a young bird, recording 3rd club. A brilliant pigeon! Kevin races cocks only on the widowhood system and trains every day, including through the racing season. He breaks down on a Saturday and Sunday when racing and for races over 200 miles he puts a hopper of peas in the loft from the Monday until the Friday. His smart widowhood loft is 16ft long, has a corridor with open door trapping and houses 14 widowhood cocks. The main family raced is Soontjens and his nine pairs of stock birds are paired up at the same time as the racers, so the eggs can be floated. Kevin's 14ft x 10ft young bird loft is designed for the darkness system, which has been very successful. His 40 youngsters are put on the darkness for eight hours a day from weaning and the young birds race through to Maidstone (250 miles) with outstanding success.


Twice 1st Up North Combine in one week! That's what Wright & Lowe recordedin the 1998 season - a fantastic performance! The Wright & Lowe partnership was formed in 1990 but Dave has been a fancier all his life, formerly racing with his late father, who was his tutor. Wright & Lowe won 1st UNC Beauvais on the Saturday and 1st Open UNC Folkestone on the Wednesday. The partners like to race from the shortest through to the longest race and previously won 3rd Open UNC Folkestone with their champion Cutthroat who, in turn, bred a pigeon to win 2nd Open UNC Folkestone for Wright & Lowe. The partners' Beauvais combine winner was a Herman / Busschaert blue chequer cock raced on the roundabout system. On his build-up to his combine win, he had every inland race, one Channel race from Lilies, one week's rest, then into Beauvais (377 miles). This game pigeon was an outstanding young bird being raced on the natural system and was ‘Bird of the Year’ in the club. Dave & Ray race on the roundabout system and send both cocks and hens to thesame race. The 30 pairs of racers are paired up in February and are only lightly trained, as they fly out around the loft, for an hour twice a day. The racers are never broken down and have mixture in front of them all the time. Ray says the partners had always been on the natural, winning 60 x 1sts in four years on the system and changed over to roundabout in 1998 to win twice 1st Open UNC. The main families raced are Billy Parkes Busschaerts and Hermans from Ward Brothers of Yorkshire. The partners have 10 pairs of stock birds and when selecting breeders, like good feather and eyesign. The lads won the Folkestone Wednesday combine race with a Herman x Busschaertblue hen on the roundabout system and she had every race on her build-up to thecombine win. This game hen is a granddaughter of the champion blue pied Herman cock ‘Cutthroat’ who won 8 times 1st and 3rd Open UNC Folkestone. A fantastic family of pigeons!.

That's it for this week! My phone number is 01372 463480. See yer!




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