After months of planning, a few ups and downs along the way, we finally made it to Vowley for the 2022 British Falcon Races. The children worked incredibly hard over the summer, practicing their falconry skills, honing their bird-handling techniques, and getting the birds in peak physical condition for the big day.
After an early start everyone arrived for practice day excited but also a little nervous, knowing that we would be competing against other skilled falconers from all over the country. The children were able to do one practise flight each to familiarise themselves and the birds with the race area in preparation for the real thing the following day. Given the unexpected wind, everything went smoothly and the day was finished off with food and an early night.
The early night didn’t go so smoothly for all but, everyone made it up and out on time for an early start the next day. Race day brought beautiful blue skies and a lot of nerves! The Junior Flat Race was the first race of the day with seven entries in total. The children competed as teams of two, each with one falcon. One child slipping and the other child luring. Competing against other children, some of whom were much more experienced, and despite the wind which refused to settle down, the children did us proud and all falcons finished. The rest of the day was spent watching the both the Novice Flat Race and the very exciting Novice Hunt Race.
Sunday saw us all much more relaxed – with no races entered for the day the children were able to have a good look around the trade stands and watch both the Open Flat Race and Open Hunt Race. We were also very honoured as a club to be able to take part in the Queen Elisabeth II Memorial.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend. The children were welcomed by everybody at Vowley and we were touched at how much time some very seasoned Falconers took to chat to them and to share the knowledge and advice. It really was a wonderful experience for both ourselves and the children, one that they hopefully will never forget. We hope that the all returned home with a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that they have achieved something truly special.