Eight of the Best Part 2
Over the years Fife has produced some outstanding pigeons and some quality pigeon fanciers into the bargain. I’m lucky in the fact that I have spoken to the majority of them and have had the pleasure of handling some of these quality pigeons. It was not until I started this feature and on checking the SNFC hand book that you realise how ‘gifted’ the Kingdom of Fife has been with quality fanciers we have had over the years. The first national winner was George Robertson of Cupar with his hen ‘Isabella’ who won Beauvais in 1963. Three years later Jimmy Hamilton of Kennoway winning 1st open Nantes with ‘Nan’s Pride’ then in 1972 we had George Sneddon of High Valleyfield winning Avranches; in 1979 we had Jock McKinnon of Ladybank winning with ‘De Lorna’. In the 80’s we had another High Valleyfield partnership Brown & Gormley winning the national from Dorchester 3 as we never managed to race from France that year. Moving on to 1988 we had the partnership of Stuart Donaldson & Len Downie of Rattray winning Nantes flying 650 miles on the day. The following year the longest race point was moved to Niort near 700 miles to Fife and fanciers became household names within the annuals of long distance racing as they won 3 of the 5 nationals from this race point. The 1989 winner was John Duthie of Methil a very quiet unassuming man, who flying 691 miles won 1st SNFC Niort, the next year 1990 a household name in the sport Dennis N Dall of Ladybank won 1st Niort flying 697 miles. Then in 1992 Fife had 2 SNFC winners and both were brought up in the same village as young boys. 1st open Rennes was John Honeyman with ‘Honeyman’s Dream’ a dark chequer cock. The other winner was from Sartilly 2 and was Joe Murphy & son Kevin of Kirkcaldy with ‘Mystical Rose’. Two years later was the 100th centenary of the SNFC and the winners were Matt McLauchlan & son of Glencraig with ‘Astrix’. Then in 1996 we had Jock Traill of Thornton winning from Niort a distance of 690 miles and low and behold the following year he won 1st open SNFC Nantes 620 miles. In 2002 the longest race point was changed to Chenoise with Jim Farmer of Lochgelly winning 1st SNFC flying 582 miles. Two years later Fife was to the fore again when the Cowdenbeath partnership of MacAndrew & Dow won from Falaise (1) flying a distance of 519 miles. In 2005 we moved to a new race point this being Alencon and the winner as Frank Tarnawski of High Valleyfield flying 549 miles The following year the Leven partnership of Ian & Robbie Gilmour won 1st open Falaise flying 522 miles. Then 2 years later Fifers are again at the top of the National when Willie Hay of Methil won 1st open SNFC Leicester young bird national flying 259 miles. Moving on to 2010 and from the Belgian race point of Ypres Austin Whittaker of Methil took the top award flying 442 miles. Two years later Jocky King of Kirkcaldy won 1st open SNFC Clermont flying 523 miles and then in 2016 Kennoway’s Jocky Scott won 1st open SNFC Roye flying 510 miles and the following year Dave Baldie of St Andrews won 1st open SNFC Ypres flying 445 miles. Then last year 2019 Jim Doig of Cardenden won 1st open SNFC Falaise with ‘U Dun It’ his grizzle hen flying 446 miles. I think you will agree Fife is a very competitive federation with some quality fanciers within the membership. Plus when you consider there was a breakaway within the federation and some top quality fanciers leaving it to form the Kingdom Federation and the RPRA, they have also achieved some outstanding results over the years flying with the SNRPC.
I now come back to 2 of my top Eight of the Best pigeons who are also bred and raced into Fife federation. These history makers within the pigeon sport in Scotland are named ‘Mary’ raced by Jocky King of Kirkcaldy and ‘Kingdom Spirit’ raced by George & Brian Hunter of Dunfermline. I’ll start with ‘Mary’ bred in 2004 and was a gift to Jocky and named after his wife, she was bred by Pete Patrick of Thornton and what a pigeon she turned out to be. A winner 11 times from France into Kirkcaldy in Scotland and she won a Gold Award in the SNRPC and then a SNFC Gold & Silver Award for Jock. Her positions were as follows; she won 140th east section 152 open SNFC Clermont 2003: the following year she won 29th section 92nd open SNFC Falaise; In 2005 she was raced in the SNRPC and won 8th section 19th open Alencon; she then won 1st section 8th open from Falaise; in 2006 she won 8th section 16th open SNRPC Reims, then went on to win 5th section 35th open from Falaise with the same club; she won 29th section, 58th Open Alencon. In 2009 Jock joined the SNFC season and ‘Mary’ won 4th section 26th open Andrezel flying 579 miles from an entry of 305 birds then 14 days later she won 2nd section C 23rd open Falaise flying 520 miles competing against 1619 birds. ‘Mary’ won The Dewar Trophy for Scotland’s Bird of the Year for the BEST performances by old bird in the 2009 season. The following year 2010 she won 1st section C 11th open Bourges flying 667 miles when only 22 birds made the result, the following year she was again to the fore winning 34th section C 70th open Clermont flying 523 miles against an entry of 1741 birds she then sent to the longest race in the national Callander from Tours a distance of 627 miles and she was again to the front winning 1st section C 6th open Tours from an entry of 236 birds. Winning her SNFC Gold Award. This was not the first Gold Award Jocky has won in the SNFC as his good chequer cock ‘Fairisle Supreme’ won his in 1993 (I remember training him in a single box when I was a long distance lorry driver). Back to ‘Mary’ she is bred from the very best of top SNFC national winning bloodlines. Sire was SU00F13050 and his sire was a direct son of Jock McKinnon’s of Ladybank ‘Lorna’ winner of 1st SNFC Falaise in 1979, the dam of 13050 was bred from a son of Jock Traill’s ‘Traill’s Spark’ winner of 1st Fife federation Dorchester at 400 miles in 1992; and in 1995 he won 27th open SNFC Niort 690 miles and the following year he won 1st open SNFC Niort. The son of ‘Trill’s Spark’ was paired to a hen from Jim Hannah of Blantyre (Jim gave Jock Traill 2 hens: one was from his famous ‘Pied Queen’ winner of 13th open SNFC Rennes and the other was direct from ‘Blue Girl’ winner of 1st west section 2nd open SNFC Sartilly she was a granddaughter of ‘Westsound’ winner of 1st west section 4th open Rennes for Jim in 1984. Therefore one of these hens was the dam of 13050. (I have spoken to Jim Hannah and he kindly told me about the 2 hens he bred for Jock).
The dam of ‘Mary’ was 01F3697, her sire flew Niort twice for Jock Traill and was bred from the dam of Jock’s loft who won 2nd open Fife federation Avranches for him; she was mated to a cock from a pair of eggs Jock received from Keith Cochrane that contained the best of Eddie Newcombe bloodlines. The dam of 3697 was ‘Survivor’ bred by Jock Traill and a winner of 2nd & 50th open SNFC Nantes 620 miles for Jock Traill and sold for £3000 at his clearance sale. ‘Survivor’ was bred from a direct son of ‘My Little Lady’ winner of 4th open SNFC Rennes 560 miles for Mr & Mrs Keir & son of Thornton and her dam was a daughter of Bobby Caruthers famous pigeon ‘Moneymaker’. The nest mate to 3697 was 3696 and she was the dam of Pete Patrick’s 1st SNRPC Saintes winner. As a matter of interest ‘Survivor’ obtained her name as she was in the race basket when a youth broke into Jock Traill’s loft and killed all his pigeons in the loft including his national winners. This was a very sad day for the Traill family and the pigeon sport not only in the Kingdom of Fife but for the whole of Scotland. Jock also won the Dewar Trophy with his 4 year old chequer cock ‘Jock’s Choice’ who won 1st region C 14th open SNFC Messac with 1159 birds entered by 385 members; flying 577 miles 737 yards and recording a velocity of 1159; ‘Jock’s Choice’ also went to SNFC Clermont and won 24th region C 58th open against 1741 birds entered by 356 members flying 523 miles 1015 yards recording a velocity of 1228. This cock has previously won 49th region C 140th open SNFC Eastbourne in 2009 and 18th region C 135th open SNFC Bovington & 8th region C 42nd open SNFC Reims in 2010. He was also a SNFC Silver Award winner in 2011 having won 3 times from France.
Dam of Kingdon Spirit and below the sire
We now come to my other candidate the wonderful ‘Kingdom Spirit’ At this time one of the names that kept cropping up regularly in the Scottish National results was the partnership of George & Brian Hunter who race in Rosyth pigeon club near Dunfermline in Fife. They owned and raced one of the best long distance hens in Scotland at that time, ‘Kingdom Spirit’, a late bred in 2008 with an old ring placed on her leg was a winner of 2 Gold Awards in the Scottish National Flying Club; and she also won 2 SNFC Silver Award. She was winner of the Scottish Homing Union Dewar Trophy for Champion Bird of the Year in 2010, and Runner Up for the SHU Dewar Trophy for Champion Bird of the Year in 2011 and she also won the last Joe Murphy/BHW Sporting Challenge in 2012. ‘Kingdom Spirit’ normal perpetration for the season was paired up in March and reared 2 babies till they are 15 days old, at which time she was taken away and prepared for the roundabout system. The cock finished rearing the babies, and she normally had 3 race out to Leicester a distance of 257 miles she is then repaired to her mate and entered into the SNFC Gold Cup race from Alencon sitting 10 days on eggs. On return she generally does not go back onto the eggs. She is then allowed to go back to nest and receives 2 short training flights sitting 4 day eggs. In 2015 she returned to her eggs which; was the first time she had done so in her racing career. You will see from her performances this magnificent hen has a fantastic record in the Scottish National Flying Club races as she has been 9 times in the top 100 open positions out of the 10 races she flew in this 5 year period.
George & Brian Hunter of Dunfermline
Her SNFC performances over this period of time are as follows: from the 2010 Reims race she won 7th section C 26th open flying 567 miles against a convoy of 1187 birds; in the same year she won from the Clermont race she won 2nd section C 30th open flying 524 miles from an entry of 1102 birds; In 2011 season she won from Messac 2nd section 32nd open flying 573 miles from an entry of 1159 birds. That same year she from the Clermont race she won 31st section C 67th open flying 524 miles from an entry of 1741 birds; In the 2012 season she was entered into the Gold Cup race from Alencon with an entry of 1250 birds and she was to the fore winning 4th section C 36th open flying 547 miles; In 2013 she was again sent to the Gold Cup race from Alencon with an entry of 1355 birds and she was 8th section C 22nd open 547 miles; In 2013 she was entered into the Clermont race with an entry of 1500 birds and she won 41st section 90th open flying 524 miles; In 2014 she was again set up for the Gold Cup race from Alencon with an entry of 1427 birds and she won 18th section C 120th open; the following year 2015 she was again sent to the Gold Cup Alencon race with an entry of 1416 birds and she won 2nd section C 58th open and 3 weeks later she was sent to Clermont with an entry of 1547 birds and she won 28th section C 67th open this winning 10 times from France. She flew a total of 7429 miles 127 yards competing against 13,638 birds showing what a quality pigeon she was and gained her SNFC Double Gold Award to rank side by side to the famous ‘Fortune Lady’ bred and raced by Mrs & Mrs Smith of Elphinstone. These 2 birds are the only birds to achieve this feat in the Scottish National Flying Club, whereas Jocky King’s hen ‘Mary’ won her Gold Awards in the SNFC and the SNRPC. George and Brian are not a one bird loft as they had other outstanding superstars raced at that time namely: ‘Kingdom Kate’ a full sister to ‘Kingdom Spirit’. Both their parents were bred by R Cook of Chatsworth Lofts of Colchester Essex both contain the bloodlines of Geoff Kirkland 1st national winner ‘The Pest’. ‘Kingdom Kate’ was runner up for the SHU Dewar Trophy for Champion Bird of the Year in 2012 as she won the following positions: SNFC Ypres she was 2nd section C 45th open flying 445 miles competing against 2100 birds; she then went to SNFC Clermont and won 24th section C 34th open flying 524 miles against an entry of 1700 birds. ‘Kingdom Anna’ was a chequer hen, winner of a SNFC Silver Award in 2013. She was runner up for the SHU Dewar Trophy for Champion Bird of the Year in 2013. These are her performances: in 2011 from the SNFC Tours race she won 2nd section C 13th open fling 626 miles from an entry of 280 birds; then in 2013 she competed in the SNFC Ancenis race a distance of 609 miles and she won 2nd section C 6th open competing against 268 birds; then in 2013 she won 16th section C 158th open from SNFC Newbury flying 334 miles against a convoy of 3328 birds. That same year she was entered into the SNFC Clermont race and won 37th section C 85th open flying 524 miles against 1500 birds. So readers will see that there are good top quality pigeons housed in this small back garden loft in Dunfermline and note the outstanding consistency this partnership has achieved over a 4 year period being either winner or runner up for the Dewar Trophy for Champion Bird of the Year in the whole of Scotland. ‘Kingdom Spirit’ won it, and was runner up the following year, her sister ‘Kate’ was runner up and now ‘Anna’ was also runner up for this prestigious award.
Fanciers throughout the world reading this Eight of the Best must admired these is quality Scottish Pigeon’s and I bet many will wish they had one of the above pigeons of the calibre of ‘Mary’ and ‘Kingdom Spirit’ in their lofts at the present time. I would like to congratulate Jocky King; George & Brian Hunter on their pigeon’s brilliant racing achievements and wish them all the best for the future.
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© Compiled by Joe Murphy