MR & MRS ELLIOT
1st Open Scottish National Flying Club Messac 2011
by Tom Corrie
Nestled in the picturesque countryside of South Lanarkshire, just south of Carnwath, is the home to in my opinion the best distance fancier ever to fly a pigeon into this side of the country. With two SNFC National wins and twelve sections within the two SNFC and SNRPC to date and more diplomas than a University, Mr & Mrs Elliot are simplly magic at the distance. When you are privileged enough to enter this stunning location you think what a place to fly pigeons; with the open countryside and breathtaking views it just oozes class. The lifestyle seems more relaxed and you have a sense of wellbeing, something obviously recognised by the Elliots in the early 1970s when they set up home here.
Mr & Mrs Elliot with their national winner
I would like to provide a background of one of the most potent 500-600 mile lofts in Scotland. The pigeons present are the same birds David started with all those years ago, those so called old fashioned pigeons of many a decade ago that most have changed for the new super fast Belgian-type birds that the fancy papers bamboozle us all with - fancy pictures and worthless pedigrees and on a whole they don’t meet our expectations. David can tell you in great detail the foundation of his birds and ring numbers off the top of his head and he is not talking about another person's Champions but his own that have decade after decade won at the highest level, and when distance races are mentioned the name of Mr & Mrs Elliot are always timing in with regular consistency. Only people with superior pigeon knowledge are always there and thereabouts.
The base of the birds were from J Lumsden from Blackburn, West Lothian with other introductions from Bower Mackie of Edinburgh and Syd Newcombe. These birds had the best of Leishman Brothers x Wilf Flockhart x Kilpatrick bloodlines that at that time were household names. Other introductions from Alan Emsley of Harrogate and Dale Newcombe, and Ellis of Elphington lines all helped to create a dynasty of potent distance birds and more recently birds from J & I Alston and Stuart Young have come in.
In 1981 his Champion racer, and I mean a Champion not one of these kiddy on over inflated sales hype pigeons, a red chequer hen he called Wendy, became a history maker being first pigeon ever to win the coveted Golden Award, five times a winner of a diploma in the Blue Riband Rennes race in the SNFC with birdage at this time 7,000 birds - a golden era for the National. The half-sister of Wendy won the National for them in 1984 from Hastings. This was a mealy hen called Tinkerbell. That race saw the partnership put eight pigeons on the result with their second bird being 12th Open and that year they also won 12th Open Nantes.
The old bird loft
Within their dynasty, winners include a 1st Open Lille Lanarkshire Federation. His most recent star and winner of 1st Open Messac Gold Cup race SNFC on 25th June 2011 against 1155 birds is a 08 Red Chequer hen, Newbigging Lass, timed at 18.58 on the day to record a velocity of 1195. This is the first time the Gold Cup has been won into the west section in 31 years. The breeding of this hen can be traced back to Tinkerbell - Red Chequer cock from a Mealy cock direct son of Tinkerbell, dam a Red hen from Ellis of Elphinstone and Mealy hen direct of Edwin's Choice - 1st section 5th Open Nantes. They had a brilliant performance in this race winning 1st, 15th & 23rd Open. This was a great day for myself to handle the winner of a SNFC Gold Cup winner a couple of weeks after winning such a prestigious race. She handled like a dream pigeon, small in build with excellent balance, tail straight out with one tail definition, the feathering silky and eyes the colour of her red plumage. She was from the generation of all these brilliant pigeons and looking at the stock birds represented them in every way with the red chequer being very prominent.
A sample of Dave's pigeons
I sat in their conservatory overlooking the lofts and feeling privileged to sit and ask someone of Dave’s calibre questions he may feel routine and without substance, but being relatively new to the job I asked my list of questions anyway.
What is a regular day - 5am till 10 30 pigeons.
Lofts - 30x14 two storey (top for racers bottom for stock facing south), 18x10 stock, 15x8 young bird (south west facing), 8x8 old bird and young bird (called the Tardis) - the birds race to this all their racing career. (faces north-east).
Pair up time - February.
Racing system - Celibate till after first Inland National then allowed to pair and go to nest.
Exercise - Flagged around loft, possibly three tosses before the first race then flagged until paired and then trained line of flight up to fifty miles for intended race and race most race s up to around 250 miles.
Medication - Treats for canker throughout the pigeon season using different products to stop birds getting resistant; feels this is very important.
Vaccination - Once per year for Paramyxo.
Best Product and Advice - Likes to give plenty variety of mineral blocks and grit (Versela Laga block). Very important to provide different variety of grit for calcium intake. And stopping pigeons getting bored.
Feeding - This year its Gavro - Sprint up to first National then Marathon (very impressed with this feed) Over the years Dave has changed with the availability of scientifically composed feeds.
Floor covering - Mostly grills and natural droppings to maintain the immunity of his birds. Dave is not a prisoner to the scraper and advocates birds being happy in their environment not the fancier.
System - Birds are initially fed once per day and as the season progresses twice per day, flagged twice per day and fed thereafter; birds should never be over fed.
What motivates you - Habbit
What de-motivates you - Politics in pigeons.
Biggest influence in sport - Eddie Newcombe.
Best achievement - Winning Gold Award with Wendy - 5 times Rennes diploma winner.
Favourite pigeon - No favourites, they are all their for a purpose.
Favourite distance - 600miles.
How many pigeons - started 2011 season with 80 racers, 40 stock and 60 youngsters.
What distance for racers - Yearlings including late breds go over channel if fit, youngsters go full race programme and a number going to SNFC Leicester race.
ETS or Conventional clock - Ets introduction 2011. This is the best invention in pigeon racing in the recent past. His most recent National winner was clocked to the Unikon system, unknown to David who was on the phone talking to a fancier in the South about possible arrival time.
Future Ambition - Win Tours.
In your opinion who is the best fancier in you area - J & I Alston and A Alison.
Do you show your birds - No
What is the future of racing in Scotland - Central marking for federations, deteriorating number of fanciers, loss of clubs.
Any advice for new starters - Look at what you see and listen to what you hear.
The 1984 national winner Tinkerbell
Well how can you top this loft report, a true living legend, a partnership made in heaven that has stood the test of time and will continue to flourish into the distant future because they know what it takes to win at the highest level. Brilliant bloodlines and a willingness from them to continue to sprinkle their superior knowledge to evolve with time.