The Shetland Racing Pigeon Club
The Shetland Racing Pigeon club was formed in 1980 by when four members voted to form a club. David White was voted secretary and 'Star and Garter' rings were purchased through the 'Racing Pigeon' newspaper. The club's first ever race was from Sandwater, a sprint race of approx. 20 miles, and was won by a lady fancier; Miss Louise Adamson. At that time the race rubber numbers were telephoned to the secretary.
1981... saw the club accepted into the Scottish Homing Union. A sponsored swim raised £40. This, plus a grant from the local council, went to purchase STB clocks and baskets.
1982... and the first ever race from 'across the water' . The race was from the Orkney Islands and was won by Mr. Leslie Irvine flying a Blue cheq cock which took 12 hours for the trip and proved to be the only returnee.
1983… 3 birds make it back from Orkney including Mr Leslie Irvine's Blue cheq cock
1985… the club has its first ever race from Inverness, 200 miles. The race was won in under five hours by a hen which had flown twice from the Orkney Islands. Mr Chic Topen, who joined the club this year, was instrumental in obtaining good stock birds from the Scottish mainland for some club members.
1986… three pigeons from Orkney were timed to one fancier in 2 ½ hours, this being one of the fastest ever races from Orkney.
1989… the club was presented with a silver trophy from the NRCC. This one-hundred year old trophy was re-plated and to this day is the most prestigious to be flown for, being presented to the winner of the longest race in any particular year.
1992… a Shetland fancier beat Orkney and Thurso members in a joint race from Beauly. Only the Wick pigeons beat the Shetland bird which was flying some 130 miles further.
1993… saw the furthest ever race into Shetland from Cuper in Fife won by Kenny Gifford. This record only lasted a couple of weeks, as a later race from Penicuik was flown successfully.
1994… the furthest ever race into Shetland was flown this year from Morpeth, England when early on the second day, a mealy hen was clocked. The hen which was nicknamed the 'ugly mealy' was lost from Fair Isle in 1992, it returned and stayed with another club member before returning in 1993 when a cat went into her new loft. Sadly this hen was killed by a Great Skua in the summer of 1995.
Since 1994, the club has struggled with races from the British mainland. Families are emerging bred off survivors, and hopes are high of being able to compete in the future, alongside clubs such as Wick, Thurso and Orkney in a 'Highlands and Islands Federation' which was set up in 1997.
1999... this year the club enjoyed two excellent distance races, one from Beauly and one from Forfar. All members taking part had birds return in good time, and after several poor years it was most heartening to have good returns.