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The Joe Murphy Column 26-07-19

The Joe Murphy Column

Kevin asked if I would like to go with him and his club mate Charlie Cameron to the SNFC Reims race marking in Bo’ness. I have not attended race marking for years after the carry-on with the charlatan whom I believe attended the recent Gold Cup race marking at Bo’ness. I met up with a few good fanciers and had some excellent conversations with them. They were all looking forward to the Reims race which is the longest race in the Scottish National Callander and 127 members sent 334 birds to the race liberated at 06-15 hours into a west wind. The small convoy cleared the race point in one batch heading in a north westerly direction. We did not go up to Kevin’s as I did not think there would be any birds on the day however Craig Halbert of Eastriggs timed his 3 year old grizzle cock to win 1st section and open SNFC Reims being the only bird into Scotland on the day flying 502 miles at 22-31 hours recording a velocity of 906.

Craig Halbert of Eastriggs 1st open SNFC Reims 2019.


While speaking to a fancier he informed me that Craig’s grizzle cock was timed on the day from Reims last year to win 1st section A 3rd open doing a velocity of 1033. (As I do not have the official national year book I did not know when reporting that Craig had the only bird into Scotland on the day). However on checking Craig’s results this same grizzle cock has previously been a winner in the SNFC. As a yearling he won 25th section A 118th open from Bedhampton. In 2018 he won twice being 63rd open from Buckingham but no section prize. He then went to the Maidstone national and won 17th section A 128th open.  Craig is no stranger to winning the Scottish national and this will be the 3rd time he won 1st open as he previously won 1st open Ancenis in 2014 and then from the same race point in 2016 won 1st open again. In both these Ancenis races Craig timed both winners on the day of liberation. The sire of the 2019 national winner is out of a daughter of ‘Solway View Boy’ winner of 1st open Ancenis in 2014 while his dam is a grizzle hen whose sire was bred from a grandson and granddaughter of ‘Morning Joy’ pairing. The dam of this grizzle hen is a daughter from a pair of Louella Stud Jan Aarden’s. Everyone whom I have spoken to regarding this race has nothing but admiration for this grizzle cock saying he is without doubt a ‘Champion’ to win 1st & 3rd open Reims in successive years is truly outstanding.  Craig is also a very good ‘Doo Man’ and his achievements of winning 3 Scottish national races on the day from the 3 longest race points speak volume for the man. Our congratulations go to Craig Halbert on this wonderful success and we wish well in the last old bird race from Roye national. On studying the Reims result which had only 48 bird’s home from the entry of 334 over a period of 3 days it is very disappointing and at the same time is killing our sport. For example there were no pigeons recorded in section G (North Section) and these lads have to travel down to Bo’ness to race mark their birds. I wonder how many fanciers from the central belt of Scotland would travel down to Annan to send their birds to a national race. (And to make matters worse they got NO birds home) I have highlighted that Craig Halbert won the national twice from Ancenis on both these occasions the birds were convoyed by the Midland national flying club. Last year the birds went with the Up North Combine to Reims and the winner was in Dundee to John Wiseman doing a velocity of 1159. With 5 pigeons making it home on the day 4 of these winning 1st section and the other 2 section winners made still made it into the top 12 open positions being timed just after 7’o’clock in the morning. So can anyone tell me why we did not go back with the UNC to Reims their race was last week but surely it makes sense that the more birds in the convoy the better the race we would have. You just have to look at the Troyes national race with 45 birds sent and only 4 birds making the result in race time. Another point is when you look at the result: it is the same old names but the sad thing is it is most of these people are retired and the younger generation do not send their birds to these races WHY? Because they do not have the time to sit and wait for 3 days on a bird to return home; Kevin is in his late 40’s and in a high powered job and cannot take time off to sit and wait for pigeons from these type of race they want the race to be over in one day or the weekend. He sent 4 birds and has one home 5 days after the liberation and one bird reported in Wakefield, and hopefully the other 2 will return as well. Here are some of my observations on the Reims race; 1st section D 2nd open flying 568 miles is Martin Sneddon of Bo’ness with a 7 year old dark pied cock who has previously won 6th section D 89th open from Clermont in 2015 he also won pools in the Alencon race that same year.

Andy McKenna & Henry Diamond 1st Fed Ypres 

1st section E 3rd open is J Newbigging of Lanark with 4 year old dark chequer hen who won 5th section E 37th open from Reims last year flying 568 miles.

1st section F 5th open is Robert Reid of Beath who is having a fantastic season (anyone who reads my weekly column can confirm this as his photograph is in it most weeks) Robert timed in a 3 year old chequer hen. 1st section C 6th open is Eddie McWilliams of Blairhall with a 2 year old blue chequer hen; Eddie also timed a blue hen to win 7th section C 41st open. This hen has previously won 11th section C 41st open from Billericay flying 351 miles in 2015; the following year she won 15th section C 46th open from Reims flying 572 miles and last year she was again sent to Reims and won 79th open but no section prize. I think you will agree a quality pigeon well done Eddie.    

Robert Reid 2nd Fed Ypres

Robert Reid 3rd Fed Ypres

1st section B 10th open is John Bosworth of Elphinstone flying 548 miles with a 5 year old blue bar cock that won 4th section B 13th open from Reims in 2018.

Unfortunately there was no bird’s recorded in race time in Section G which is the north section. However president Bill Smith of Maxwelltown in the Solway timed in his grizzle hen to win 2nd section A 7th open flying 518 miles this hen has previously won 59th open no section prize from Falaise in 2017 flying 456 miles then last year she won 71st open Roye again no section prize flying 458 miles. Another south section pigeon that caught my eye was the chequer cock of J Ferguson of Eastriggs who won 4th section A 29th open flying 502 miles. This cock won 42nd section A 258th open from Littlehampton in 2016 flying 309 miles. Then last year he won 3 times in the national. The first race from Buckingham he won 88th open no section diploma flying 224 miles; he then went to Maidstone and won 36th section A but no open prize flying 304 miles, he was then sent to Reims and won 5th section A 30th open flying 502 miles so has a good racing pedigree. Regarding the last old bird national from Roye 215 members have sent 935 birds with - Section A: 147; Section B - 185; Section C - 291; Section D - 92; Section E - 153; Section F - 8; Section G 59. As I write this article on Thursday 18th July a day prior to the appointed liberation day. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is not very promising with the following predicted. ‘Britain will be battered by heavy rain and thunderstorms today, with the recent sunshine set to disappear this weekend, the Met Office has warned. Heavy showers are due to hit the South East in the morning - with thundery showers set for the North and West of the country, according to latest weather reports.’ I don’t expect the birds will get up till Sunday 2nd August but will wait and see. Good luck to all who participate in the last race of the old bird season.


Race Results


Fife Federation of Homing Pigeon Societies


News from Geordie Todd with information from the Battle open race flown on the 13th July the members sent 176 birds liberated at 06-45 hours into a light south west wind. Topping the east section and open is Tam Laing of Kennoway with another in 3rd section and open. D Baldie of St Andrews is 2nd section and open with near neighbour John Harcus winning 4th 6th & 9th section 4th 6th & 12th open.  Brian Chalmers of Kennoway is 5th open with Turpie & McCord of Glenrothes and Leslie winning 1st centre section 7th open. Big Wattie Forman of Novar is 1st & 4th west section 8th & 27th open with J Hynd & son of Crossgates club is 2nd west section 9th open Jock Brockie of Lochgelly club is 3rd west section 10th open he is followed by club mate Jim Beveridge who wins 4th west section 11th open. 2nd centre section 17th open is Sean Diamond of Kennoway club with Brian Kinnear of Glenrothes & Leslie club winning 3rd centre section 24th open.

Tam Laing winner of 1st Fife Fed see text


Dunfermline LRPS

News from David Kennedy with the Battle results were 5 members sent 21 birds. Taking 1st place is Frank Mitchell again with a velocity of 927 ypm; Frank timed a yearling cock feeding 15 day old young birds he was bred by Andrew Lawley of Elson from his M & D Evans bloodlines. This season this bird has been 2nd club Alnwick, 2nd club Peterborough and 2nd club Berwick come back and now wins the red card. Second this week is Adrian Simpson with a velocity of 839 ypm, he timed a 2 year old cock sitting eggs. The bloodlines being: B R Long and Cox x Hagen Brothers.  Taking third is Frank Mitchell with a velocity of 838 ypm his timer is a 2 year old cock feeding 15 day young birds and was also bred by Andrew Lawley of Elson from his M & D Evans bloodlines.


Frank Mitchell winner of Dunfermline club see test

North of Scotland Federation

George Duthie informs us that 46 members entered 230 birds with the East section having 23 members sending 110 birds and the west section had 23 members sending 120 birds to the race from Battle the convoy were liberated into a North West wind. Topping the east section and open is Gordon Willox of Peterhead & District with his 2nd bird winning 3rd section and 7th open. John Thomson of Elgin & District is 1st 3rd & 9th west section 2nd 4th & 16th open with R Bain of Buckie & District in 2nd & 5th west section and winning 3rd & 8th open. R Higgins of Fraserburgh West End is 2nd east section 5th open with Elgin members B & N Hadden winning 4th west section 6th open. R Wilson of Keith is 6th west section 9th open we are then back to the east section with R Adamson of Inverurie winning 4th east section 10th open. G Wilson of Devern Valley is 7th west section 11th open he is followed by Walter Masson of Fraserburgh & District who wins 5th east section 12th open. A MacGillivray of Elgin & District is 8th west section 13th open. C Donaldson of Peterhead & District is 6th east section 14th open he is followed by club mate Stuart Maskame who wins 7th & 10th east section 15th 25th open with A J Reid of Keith club makes up the top 10th west section and 17th open. Back to the east section and 8th section 19th open is Dave & Calum McDougall of Peterhead & District with club mate H Hailwood winning 9th east section 24th open.      


Clubs first bird; Peterhead & District is won by G Willox; Elgin & District is won by J Thomson; Buckie & District is won R Bain; Fraserburgh West End club is won by R Higgins; Keith winner is R Wilson; Inverurie is won by R Adamson with Devern Valley won by G Wilson and Fraserburgh & District is won by Walter Masson.  

Well done to Gordon Willox on topping the federation and to John Thomson on winning the West Section.

Joe’s Joke

A teacher shows her class an experiment with worms; she places 4 worms in 4 separate test tubes; 1st has beer in it; the 2nd has wine; the 3rd has whiskey and the 4th has mineral water: The next day the teacher shows her class the results. The 1st worm in beer - Dead; 2nd worm in wine - Dead; 3rd worm in whiskey - Dead, the 4th worm in mineral water is Alive and Healthy. The teacher asks the class; what do we learn from this experience? Wee Johnny responds; whoever drinks beers, wine and whiskey does NOT have worms. 


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