The UK Falconry & Hawking Event 2011

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the first Kiezebrink UK Falconry & Hawking Event at the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent, Gloucestershire and, as with most of the fairs I go to, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay on site for the whole event with my friends over at Predator Logistics.

While the main festivities weren’t going to be ready until Saturday, staying on site has its perks.  After being informed that traders could arrive as early as Thursday, we decided to get there as soon as we could and get all set up so that we able to relax and just enjoy the weekend (Yes, we were the first to arrive and, in fact, the only ones to arrive on Thursday).

Aside from the extra work and associated headaches of trying to get everything ready for the show, it was business as usual at the Centre on Thursday & Friday, which meant many fantastic flying displays from Jemima & Co, and the largest array of birds of prey I’ve ever seen at a single venue (I don’t recall the exact number, but it’s well over 200).

This is the first time such an event has been held at the ICBP, and it was a somewhat unique experience, for me at least, as these things go.  Rather than the usual price wars and vendor overcrowding, this was a relatively small affair, with all the stands spread around the main flying display arena;  Meaning that everybody got a good amount of exposure to the visitors attending.  From pretty much any point at the Event, you could see everybody else there, which made for a much more fun and intimate show.

Having all of the traders camped up together also made for several very enjoyable and entertaining evenings.  Several of us actually decided to spend Friday evening going on a pub crawl in Newent, but as there’s only three pubs in Newent, we ended up going to each one two or three times, and then walking home as the taxi companies had all seemed to have closed quite early. They were the longest 3 miles I’ve walked in a long time.

If you’ve never been to the International Centre for Birds of Prey before, I highly recommend you go and visit.  The flying displays are some of the best I’ve ever seen, some are extremely entertaining too (especially the little burrowing owls!), you definitely won’t have a lack of things to point the camera at, and there are some species there you’re unlikely to see anywhere else in the UK.

Friday’s long walk home aside, I don’t remember when I’ve had so much fun at a falconry related event and I really hope Jemima decides to turn this into a regular thing.  I’ll certainly be back for the next one!

Thank you Jemima and your crew for putting on such a fantastic show!