When Colin Hill was eight years old, a friend gave him a pigeon. ‘I brought it home and put it in the aviary with Mum’s budgies, but when my father came home he let it out and it flew straight back to my friend,’ he recalls.
‘When I appeared with it a second time, my father relented and built me a little pigeon loft at the bottom of the garden.’
It wasn’t long before Mr Hill acquired more birds and the obsession he calls ‘the pigeon bug’ bit harder when he realised it was possible to race the birds.
In the past, Mr Hill has owned up to 80 pigeons, but he currently has 28 – it takes roughly three hours a day to clean them out and exercise them.
‘I set up a deckchair in the garden and wait for them to come back. That’s the most exciting part, seeing them arrive and thinking of the distances they’ve covered,’ says Mr Hill, who’s raced pigeons from as far as Thurso on the north coast of Scotland and Pau in southern France.
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