Sunday 15 July 2007

Festival of Falconry

I visited this amazing one-off event today. Two impressions really stand out: First, the majesty of the birds themselves, from the tiniest hawk to this impressive golden eagle. And second, the sense of culture and tradition surrounding this sport, with falconers from all over the world coming together in a colourful melee of birds, dogs, horses (even camels) and traditional costume - the stands included Bedouin tents and Far Eastern yurts, as well as the more familiar game fair style canvas shedding.

I can't help feeling that some of our traditional sports in Britain have rather lost their roots. Perhaps we should resurrect some old shooting and hunting songs, and invite a few indigenous hunters from around the world to parade at the CLA Game Fair??

One thing that didn't surprise me was to learn that DEFRA are all over falconry like a rash, with countless forms and licences and approvals and best practice guidelines. Thank heavens they don't leave it up to us. Can you imagine what a mess we'd make of things?!

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