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Joe Finds It Very Quiet 09-04-20




Joe Murphy


There is not much happening with the coronavirus situation just now, we are not allowed out or we have to stay self-isolated which is fine but a bit of a drag at times. Our son Mark and his wife Veronica have been doing the shopping for us and both Kevin and Beth either phoning or face timing us, we are blessed really. As far at the pigeons go I have just moved the youngsters this week 30th March and they are eating and drinking in the crates. They are a ‘cracking’ team of babies and I just hope the racing will be on for young bird season. But the way things are going I cannot see any racing for the old birds before the month of May if we are lucky.

Jock & Nancy Trail


Ralston Graham of Langholm: I’m sorry to report the passing of Ralston who was an exceptional fancier and took part in the BHW/ Joe Murphy Sporting Challenge compilations winning it in 2003. He also won 2 SNFC Gold Awards the first in 1976 with ‘Esk Valley Goldie’ and 2005 with ‘Esk Valley Jacky’. In 2000 his blue bar cock ‘Esk Valley Niall’ won 1st national cock 3rd section 5th open winning 1st national cock SNFC Newbury 3948 birds and he was again to the fore winning 2nd section 2nd open Gold Cup race from Messac 2029 birds. His sire was ‘Esk Valley Mark’ who won 7th section 11th open Rennes 2862 birds in 1999 he contained the Busschaerts lines of Esk Valley Spot’ that won 14th open Rennes who was bred from ‘Esk Valley Geordie’ who won 24 times for Ralston with 11 times 1st club. In 2002 Ralston did what we all dream about when he won 1st open SNFC Reims with his blue cock ‘Esk Valley Champion’ from an entry of 2650 birds. His sire was ‘Esk Valley Niall’ who won 2nd open Gold Cup from Messac. Dam of ‘Esk Valley Champion’ was a hen bred from a cock the same way bred as ‘Bishop’s Pride’ winner of 1st NFC Bordeaux when mated to a Highview Busschaert hen. Ralston became very friendly with his near neighbour Derrick Nordon who lived in the same street.

Ralston Graham


Two pigeons from Derrick bred ‘Esk Valley Pat’ In 2002 she won ‘Esk Valley Pat’ 5th section 9th open from the Gold Cup race from Reims 2650 birds. She was then sent to the last old bird national from Clermont national and she won 5th section 70th open 2794 birds. She won the SHU Dewar Trophy for being elected the best pigeon in Scotland that year.  In 2003 ‘Esk Valley Pat’ won 24th section 250th open from SNFC Newbury 5369 birds then 5th section 18th open from Gold Cup Reims race from an entry of 3168 birds and then she won 1st section 6th open SNFC Clermont 3257 birds thus creating history by winning the Dewar Trophy for the 2nd time. At this same time Ralston also had another exception chequer pied hen named ‘Esk Valley Jacky’, as a yearling 2001 she won 16th section 34th open SNFC Hastings against a convoy of 1915birds. In 2003 she won 7th section 139th open from SNFC Clermont 3257 birds. The following year she competed from the SNFC Gold Cup race from Le Ferte Bernard and she won 2nd section 12th open from a convoy of 2538 birds. She was then sent to the last old bird national from Falaise and she won 3rd section 10th open against 2366 birds and she won the runner up for the SHU Dewar Trophy. Sire of Pat was a son of ‘High Tower Kieran’ winner of 34th open Sartilly in 1996 1501 birds; he then won 9th open Rennes 3019 birds in 1998 as well as winning 19th open Sartilly 2042 birds the same year. Then in 1999 he won 17th open Sartilly 1973 birds.  He then won 93rd open from Messac 2029 birds in 2000 and that same year won 55th open from the Vire national from an entry of 1441 birds; then in 2001 he won 39th open from Portland from a convoy of 2397 birds all the above achieved in the SNFC.  Dam of Pat was a mealy hen a daughter of 3345 who won 16th section 43rd open SNFC Nantes; she also won 2nd section 12th open Nantes and 13th section 42nd open Nantes. A sister to this hen won 9th; 64th; 93rd & 98th open from SNFC Sartilly. The sire of 3345 won 9th open Rennes; 17th; 19th & 34th open Sartilly and his dam won 7th, 68th & 88th open from Rennes and she also won 53rd open from Sartilly. Unfortunately ‘Eskvalley Pat’ failed to return from the 2004 Gold Cup race from Le Ferte Bernard. I think you will agree Ralston had a fantastic line of winning pigeons.  In 2005 Ralston just about pulled off the mindboggling feat of winning the SNFC Gold Cup for the second time when he timed bred ‘Esk Valley Jacky’ to win 1st section 2nd open SNFC Alencon2245 birds, Ralston then sent her back to the Falaise national and she was home on the night to win 10th section 26th open against a convoy of 2366 birds; thus gaining her SNFC Gold Award for 5 times a winner from France and she was also runner up for the Dewar Trophy. I think you will agree Ralston had some great pigeons and it brought out the best in this brilliant fancier. I visited him on a few occasions unfortunately he did not keep the best of health as he had respiratory problems. His lofts were at the top of a field at the back of his house and he used a quad bike to get from his house to the lofts. Readers of my column may remember I said that I phoned Pat to ask about Ralston and she informed me that he was in hospital and very poorly, however I did not expect to hear of his passing. Ralston was a very gifted fancier and his name will rank in the annuals of our sport for years to come. Rest in peace Ralston, to Pat and their family I send my heartfelt condolences.  Joe Murphy.

Joe’s Joke

A child goes to his father and asks, "Father, how do parents think of names for their children?" The father answers, "Well, son, the night before the mother gives birth, the father goes into the woods and camps for the night. When he wakes the following morning, the first thing he sees is what he names his child, which is why your sister is named Soaring Eagle. Why do you ask, Bear Poop?"

Proud granddad Keith with Lockie and below Andrew with Lockie

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