To many fanciers and especially those with long distance interests, the Barcelona International race is the high point of each season's racing. The 2014 Barcelona race attracted an entry of 20,669 pigeons from all over Europe and amongst this massive convoy were 314 birds from UK lofts. The breakdown of entries from the various marking stations is shown below.
ASH 24/ 56
BATH 15/ 28
GWENT 8/ 19
TOTAL 106/ 293
With 21 PIGEONS DUPLICATED FROM THE BBC. The figure for the total International entry shows a reduction of more than 4,500 birds on the 2013 entry.?
Next we'll move on to the race itself but first a quick review of the city of Barcelona, its location and history.
Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain and the country's 2nd largest city, with a population of 1.6 million within its administrative limits. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 4.5 million people, being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Madrid, the Ruhr area and Milan. About five million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. It is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Bes˛s, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres (1,680 ft) high.
Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni GaudÝand LluÝs DomŔnech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean is located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics
Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plain approximately 5 km (3 mi) wide limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat river to the southwest and theBes˛s river to the north. This plain covers an area of 170 km2 (66 sq mi), of which 101 km2 (39.0 sq mi) are occupied by the city itself. It is 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the Pyrenees and the Catalan border with France.
Tibidabo, 512 m (1,680 ft) high, offers striking views over the city and is topped by the 288.4 m (946.2 ft) Torre de Collserola, a telecommunications tower that is visible from most of the city. Barcelona is peppered with small hills, most of them urbanised, that gave their name to the neighbourhoods built upon them, such as Carmel (267 m), Putxet (181 m) and Rovira (261 m). The escarpment of Montju´c (173 m), situated to the southeast, overlooks the harbour and is topped by Montju´c castle, a fortress built in the 17-18th centuries to control the city as a replacement for the Ciutadella. Today, the fortress is a museum and Montju´c is home to several sporting and cultural venues, as well as Barcelona's biggest park and gardens.
The city borders on the municipalities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Sant AdriÓ de Bes˛s to the north; the Mediterranean Sea to the east; El Prat de Llobregat and L'Hospitalet de Llobregat to the south; and Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Just Desvern, Esplugues de Llobregat, Sant Cugat del VallŔs, andMontcada i Reixac to the west.
There you go then. Barcelona in a nutshell! No need to spend your money visiting now is there??? Instead, by the Mrs a new loft scraper for Christmas!!
The convoy was liberated at 8 am BST[9am CEST] on Saturday 5th July. The winds at the start of the race were forecast to be light and variable but turning south or south westerly as the birds reached the bottom of the Rhone Valley and increasing in speed from the south west further up France. It looked as if it was going to be a "fast" race and there was certainly the hope that pigeons would be clocked on the day. This was to prove to be the case, as pigeons were clocked just north of Reims at around 8 pm with further birds getting across the border into Belgium just north of the Ardennes forest not long after. There was also a pigeon clocked into south west Germany at Saarbrucken recording 1300 mpm so the race was certainly on. However, the International winners proved to be clocked at the Nijverdal, Holland loft of Jelle Jellema at 4.14 on the second morning. To be closely followed by a second bird to the Jellema loft at 4.38 am. These two loft mates were split on a decimal point by a bird flying to the Heino loft of H Van Gurp clocked at 4.41 am to take 2nd Open International and all three birds making over 1400 mpm at 1488 ,1448.4 and 1448.3 mpm. Heino and Nijverdal are only a matter of some 20 kms apart and both are on approximately the same latitude as Colchester in Essex. It would appear that these three pigeons either flew through the night, or alternatively, were very close to home on the day.
The British contingent had to overcome twin obstacles of the English Channel and very bad weather at the home end, with heavy rain in the Essex and Kent areas throughout the night and into the next morning. In fact as Peter Archibald told me it didn't stop raining in Dover until early afternoon and the channel was completely blocked out for all of that time. The following is a brief report on those birds clocked on the second day. A fuller report will follow in due course.
First to clock at 11.11 am doing 856mpm,was a bird to the father and son partnership of Peter and Heath Archibald of Dover. Peter and Heath have come so close to winning a BICC race on a number of occasions the most recent being their runner up spot behind Mark Gilbert's winner in the 2012 Barcelona race. It gives me great personal pleasure to see Heath and Peter finally get their and their pigeons' just reward after so many near misses. This win will give Peter, who has been struggling with a serious illness for most of the past 12 months, a great boost. Well done both I'm as pleased for you as you must be yourselves.
The partners Barcelona winner is a seven year old blue cock flown on the widowhood system. This one is a real trooper as he has the following positions in BICC International races to his credit:- 2nd & 16th Open Marseille and 35th Barcelona in 2013. Lightly raced this year, he had the BICC Poitiers race on 14th June when he was first bird to the loft after 11 hours on the wing. Since then he has just had free flight around the loft twice daily when the cocks are locked out and allowed to do as they please.
He, like the partners other great Barcelona pigeon Barcelona Bob, is bred from pigeons that Peter and Heath introduced from Robert.O. Jones of Resolven in the mid 1990's. They are of Jan Aarden x Old Welsh Long Distance bloodlines that have been winning through to Lerwick in Wales for donkey's years. Barcelona Bob mentioned above, has 2nd & 4th Barcelona and 5th & 35th BICC Pau International to his credit. Two top class long distance sloggers racing home to two dyed in the wool long distance enthusiasts.
This is what Peter Archibald has to say:-
Gareth, further to our previous conversation some more details about our winning Blue cock. As I have already told you he is again complete Robert O Jones breeding and we have decided to name him PETE'S DREAM. This is because as you know, I am terminally ill and my hope was to see the 2014 International season out, and even more of a dream was to win an International race. Now, through the efforts of my son Heath I have completely lived both dreams and can die a happy man.
To get back to the cock - he has had 2nd &16th BICC MARSEILLES and 35th BICC BARCELONA. in2013. We thought he had not had enough wing time so we put him in the BICC POITIERS and in a tough race up this end, he was our 1st bird in 11 hours for 317 miles.. He is completely on widowhood and flies freely round the loft until they are called in. I must point out that this success is entirely down to HEATH as I cannot get up to the loft and have been no help to him this year."

Well done Heath and Peter you certainly deserve your success. Take care my friend.
A loft report on the Archibald set up can be found on the BICC web site but rest assured that an updated version will soon be in place for long distance enthusiasts to study. In second spot is yet another father and son partnership from Dover, Kevin and Lee Buddle. Their timer recorded 854mpm to be narrowly beaten by near neighbours the Archibalds. Kevin and Lee have enjoyed great success with the BICC over the years clocking good pigeons well up on most of the BICC International race results. In 2009 they had the only two birds on the day in the UK from the Pau International and have carried this form right through to the present day. At Barcelona they clocked at 11.16 am on the second morning with a second bird later in the afternoon .The first in the clock is a 2009 Hen called "Madam 44".
This is what Lee had to tell me about their two timers:-
"She has been a very consistent race bird of ours for a few years now winning in the past:- 6th section E 33rd Open NFC Tarbes 548 miles 2011, 41st BICC Perpignan Int 579miles 2013, 91st BICC Agen Int 484 miles 2013. Her Sire is a son of our foundation hen "Buddy" and her Dam is a Dtr of Mr & Mrs P Fauchon's 1st Open BICC Barcelona 2005 winner "Cracknut". in preperation for Barcelona "Madam 44" had 3 channel races with the EECC. our 2nd in the clock is another 2009 Hen who has also been on the results from BICC International races in the past which are 51st BICC St Vincent Int 531miles 2013, 75th BICC St Vincent Int 2012 & 78th BICC Perpignan Int 579 miles 2013. Her Sire is the "K-Ring" cock who is also a son of our foundation hen "Buddy" and her Dam was bred by Chris Gordon being a G-Dtr of "Syndale Express" his 2005 NFC Tarbes winner. This hen also had three races with the EECC in preperation for Barcelona Int. Both of these Hens are flown on 100% widowhood all season and are fed on Verselle Laga Superstar plus with a little Verselle Laga Best All Round added to it for more strength. Many congratulations to Heath & Peter Archibald on winning this super Barcelona race".
Latest news in as I write this on Sunday evening, is that Kevin and Lee clocked their good long distance racer Pipi at his fourth attempt at Barcelona at 18.07 to provisionally take 9th Open vel 645 mpm. Pipi had previously won 5th & 10th Open Barcelona in two of his three previous jouneys from northern Spain.

Previous King's Cup winner from San Sebastian, Joe Raeburn of Melksham in Wiltshire comes in with one for 1st West section 3rd Open.vel756 mpm. Joe clocked a blue chequer 6 year old widowhood cock that has been a good cock over the years, having been timed three times from the Grand National Tarbes with his best position being 26th open in 2011 . This year his preparation for Barcelona was two inland races then Carentan with West of England South Road Combine where he was 2nd club 23rd Combine from 4,181 birds.
He was then sent as a trainer to BICC Tours his flying time was 9 hrs 9 mins then just left to fly around home . Fed on versele-laga Superstar plus with Willsbridge no 1 added plus Joe's own fat mix .
His sire was a son of Jimmy Shepherd's Noble Lad 1st BICC Pau 2005 when paired to inbred grand daughter of Joe's Champion racer and King's Cup winner Gwen. Joe asked me to congratulate the winners Heath and Peter Archibald on a great win.

The next pigeon on the result at 2nd West section 4th Open vel 732mpm, had to battle against a 15 mph north westerly wind over the final leg of the journey from the Catalan capital to its home loft at Cwmtillery in the Welsh Valleys. This was one to the well known marathon aces Vince and Dave Padfield and to rub salt in the wounds[literally] it had been badly hawked on its 757 mile journey!! Dave Padfield had this to say about their latest long distance hero:- "She is the result of the first cross between our successful Wim Muller lines and Dale Newcombe bloodlines via Andrew Loveday. The sire is a son of Vince 1st National Pau when mated to a daughter of The Don 2nd National Palamos. The dam is bred from a son of Jock Traill's 1st SNFC Niort winner when paired to a daughter of Jim Donaldson's 1st SNFC Sartilly winner.
Last year as a two year old she flew Tarbes 608 miles and then had a 15 hour fly from Saintes a few weeks later.
This year she has been flown on round about and has had 3 inland races then Carentan and Cholet with the NFC. The hen arrived hawked with all the secondaries missing in one wing". At the time of writing this report the Padfields have clocked a further three pigeons at 757 miles to finish at 25th,26th & 29th Open. Some flying that!!

Mike Mitchell of Dover comes in next with his single entry to take 3rd East section 5th Open vel 697mpm. This is the same six year old Stoffel Mealy hen that was 2nd Open BICC Barcelona in 2013. She is a celibate hen and has been raced un paired so far this season but in the run up to basketting for Barcelona she was taking a healthy interest in the inmates of the cocks' loft and so was allowed into their section for a couple of hours on basketting day. The hen has had just two short Channel races in the build up to Barcelona supplemented by a couple of 100 mile trainers from Bedhampton with the Wingham club. Mike's hens are exercised once per day and are allowed an open loft to come and go as they please and rarely fly for more than 30 minutes at a stretch.
The winning pigeon in the Centre section recording 690mpm, was clocked at the Hamble, Southampton loft of none other than auctioneering impresario Tony Cowan. This one, a grizzle cock, contains a lot of Brian Sheppard's bloodlines and was sent sitting 8 day eggs having been flown on the widowhood/ roundabout systems earlier in the season. Tony was one of the instigators and founding members of the BICC and in recent years has gone back to what he loves best - long distance pigeon racing. This is Tony's take on his first bird in the clock:-
"Dark Grizzle cock, 3 times Tarbes, always in race time, one race this year Cholet with NFC, left alone no training, just locked out, chased all day by the Hawks and strange sea birds which frequent the area, living yards by the sea. Sitting 7 days. Thanks to Brian Sheppard for breeding the sire and dam of "Wonder Van Hamble 2" the mother of "Sheppard's Delight", Brian must surely be one of the best long distance fancier in the UK, small loft, this year started with just 15 widow hood cocks, and looking back over the years his record is supreme. On the sire side is "Lucas", the late and great Brian Long's favourite pigeon, two sons of him was gifted to me.
I stated in last week's BHW that long distance racing was now my objective, so it's quite pleasing with this result. I must thank Brian Wall of Gem products for supplying top class feed and his natural additives, and still in 25 kilos bags. The breeding of my Barcelona cock is as follows:-
Sire a Son of Lucas gift from Brian Long, Dam "Wonder van Hamble 2" all the best Old lines of Brian Sheppard, 6th Open Tarbes as a yearling, 2nd race of her life."

The Mountnessing partnership of Gosling & Jarvis clocked to take 4th East section 7th Open vel 687mpm. The partners timer is a three year old widowhood cock that has had three inland races plus Messac, Tours and Poitiers leading up to Barcelona. His sire is named Kiro and contains all the best of the Biss bloodlines including Vend, Salve and Turban. The dam is a Ponderosa Muller Aarden x Carteus Cartier blood. The partners exercise the cocks twice daily when they are locked out of the loft for 60 minutes to do as they please. Feeding is Versele Laga Super widowhood mix along with Liege and a few peanuts. Two cocks were entered and they were allowed their hens for three days prior to basketting ensuring that they were cool, calm and collected when basketted not roaring like a pair of bull elephants in musk.

As mentioned earlier Lee and Kevin Buddle clocked the second and third and fourth birds of their five bird entry to take 8th, 9th & 37th Open vel 686mpm and 645mpm.
The top ten in this very difficult race is completed by a pigeon to BICC Chairman Albi Deacon. This one records 575mpm to take 2nd centre section 10th Open. This is what Albi had to tell me about their latest long distance pathfinder:-
"Our GB 07P 20377P is a 7 year old Chequer hen sent sitting 12 days. She has been a very consistent winner for us , being 39th Open B.I.C.C. Tarbes '09, 31ST Open B.I.C.C. Pau '10, 43rd Open B.I.C.C. Tarbes '11, flew Barcelona '12, was rested in '2013. Her preparation for Barcelona was Stratford, 97 miles, then Wakefield, 200 miles, which was a hard race with strong head winds.
We had nearly given up when she came from Barcelona as it was 9.30 p.m. and the light was beginning to fail so we had to bring her into the house to see the ring number and wing stamp to take 10th Open & 2nd CS Sect, B.I.C.C. Barcelona 2014.
Her sire is "Garincha", a dark cock, who won several top positions for us in the B.I.C.C. International racing". That's what you call a "sticker" keeping going until late in the second evening.

Cardiff fanciers Jim and Hazel Hooper clocked one early on the third morning to record 556mpm to take 3rd west section 11th Open. Jim has this to say about his latest long distance ace:-
. "When I received a very welcome phone call from Clare the BBC secretary informing me that our bird was winning the section from Barcelona you can imagine that I was up on cloud nine as it was only our second attempt at this distance since the mid sixties due to being involved in administration which did take up a great deal of our time, leaving not much time to give to the birds. Competing at this type of race, long distance racing, it is a bonus when not only getting the bird safely home but doing so well in the actual result.
The cock I timed was our only entry but sent with every confidence as he has been a good and consistent bird having flown Pau 591 miles on the day and then on to Barcelona 743 miles homing just a couple of hours after race closure plus other performances previously. So this year he was earmarked just for Barcelona and how he has done us proud for although being in the pigeon game nigh on most of my life with my Dad before me, after clocking him in, it took me quite a while to come back down to earth after seeing him back home being greeted by his hen myself included. The excitement of it all is unbelievable such is the thrill of long distant racing.
I would like to thank all those who have phoned /e.mailed etc to congratulate Hazel and myself it is really appreciated.
The cock timed was sent sitting on eleven day eggs at basketing and has been bred down from a hen bred by Tony leggatt when mated to cock who is a mixture of Ken Hine, Lol Green, Derek Reid, all of which I might add were gifted to me and my own Kirkpatrick family, all full of well known distance bloodlines.
We send our own congratulations to all who get a bird home from Barcelona as it is a very special race The Blue Riband in any club."

The winner in the North Central section was covering a staggering 844 miles to his Cleethorpes home was clocked by Mr & Mrs Wilson and recorded a velocity of 557mpm This dreadnought had previously flown Tarbes 712 miles on three occasions and was pulled out of retirement to compete from Barcelona. The dark Chequer cock of Desmet Matthys x Frencken Brothers bloodlines was sent feeding a large youngster without it's hen for several days before basketing !! It certainly spurred him on - well done on a terrific performance at the extreme distance.

Yet another long distance enthusiast and past winner of the Barcelona race, Paul Stone of West Drayton, clocked one of his famous Southwells to take 3rd section 13th Open . This 5 year old hen was 10th sect 26th Open BICC Barcelona in 2013 and in this year's race she returned badly hawked with a cut to the breast and all secondary flights missing in one wing and almost no tail. Hearts of lions these long distance racers.

Mr & Mrs Rhodes come in with a 6 year old cock feeding a big youngster and driving his hen to nest to take 7th section 14th Open vel546mpm. This one was at BICC Pau a few weeks back and his full sister was 8th Open BICC Barcelona in 2013. He contains all the best of Mr & Mrs G Bates Funny Face and Silver Jay bloodlines.

Another previous Barcelona winner, namely John Lane of Whitstable, comes in next 8th east section 15th Open vel533mpm, with a white grizzle hen bred by his friends Micky Dunn and daughters Jade and Charlie. John clocked a second pigeon on his third trip from Barcelona a little later to take 11th east section 19th Open. This dark chequer cock was bred down from Terry Johnson's Pippin 2nd Open Barcelona and Frank Perry's Llanover Lady 1st & 6th Open Palamos, bloodlines. Both John's timers were sitting 12 day eggs.

Barry Wigg flying under the Wigg Brothers flag comes in with one to take 1st North East section 16th Open vel 532mpm. Barry's timer was flying 792 miles to its North Norfolk loft. This four year old Mealy cock contains Gilbertson, Cannon and the old Westcott blood that won the King's Cup from Lerwick in 1975 for the Wigg partnership. This will be a great boost to Barry who has been under the weather lately. The Mealy has had, 2 RACES THIS YEAR WITH EECC, CANAPPEVILLE WHEN HE WAS 6TH N/SECT 18TH OPEN & SARAN. He was SET UP FOR THIS RACE SITTING A 4 DAY OLD YOUNGSTER, HE IS BRED FROM A BLUE COCK 1/2 TOM GILBERTSON 1/2 Barry's OLD WESTCOTTS HIS DAM IS A MEALY A 1/2 WESTCOTT X ERIC CANNON BOTH SIRE & DAM ARE STILL WITH ME THOUGH THEY ARE BOTH 10YEARS OLD THIS COCK HAS NEVER HAD A RACE OVER 380 MILES, TOURS BEING AS FAR AS HE HAS BEEN. HIS G/SIRE HAD SCORED OUT TO TARBES 665 MILES & HIS G/DAM WAS ONE OF Barry's BEST LERWICK HENS , THE COCK IS IN TERRIFIC NICK WHICH IS MORE THAN can be said for Barry after all the excitement of clocking from Barcelona !!! His WIFE RECKONS that IF I Gets any more excited he'LL HAVE A HEART ATTACK!!
The second bird in the North East section was clocked at the Great Shelford, Cambridge loft of N & J Callaghan vel 441. Noel's pigeon is a seven year old cock flown on the natural system. He is of Bricoux bloodlines through Bill Kitchen and Jimmy Hamilton and has a number of National prizes to his credit including 17th sect 283rd Open NFC Tarbes; 28th sect 219th Open MNFC Bergerac and 36th section 145th Open MNFC Bordeaux so he's certainly been around the block a few times.
Previous Perpignan International race winners, Geoff and son Clayton Preece clocked for 531mpm to take 9th section 17th Open. Unfortunately, once again despite attempting to reach Geoff by phone on a number of occasions and by email, at the time of going to press I have no further information on the Preece pigeon.

Alan Turner[Wally] comes in next at 10th section 18th Open vel 530mpm, with a blue Delbar cock sent feeding a big young bird and sitting 3 day old eggs. Barcelona was this cock's first competitive race of the season as he had previously only been entered in 100 mile training races with the Wingham club.

Next we move across to the west section and see that John and David Staddon come in with one on 517mpm to take 4th west section 20th Open with Shapway Star. I'll leave it to Dave to give the background info' on this battler:-
"Once again we are over the moon to time our great cock Shapway Star into Somerset flying 709 miles to record provisional 4th West Section 18th Open, he was our all pooler. He was in the most amazing condition considering what a hard race this turned into with the weather being so poor in northern France. Many congratulations to the Archibalds and Buddles and also a special mention to our great mate Joe Raeburn on his section winner, a great performance as the west wind was bending the trees over all day. Star has been fed on Matador corn all season and he is raced on the Chaos System. He was given four channel races in preperation for Barcelona, this including Tours 92nd Open and Poitiers 56th Open with the BICC, after which he was rested and exercised around the loft daily for 1 and half hours. He was sent to Barcelona in 2012 but returned after 3 weeks with a badly injured leg which we think may have happened at liberation. He recovered well in due course and we felt we should give him the opportunity to atone at Barcelona in 2013. He clearly learned plenty as he was 2nd West Section 7th Open Barcelona 2013 and followed this up with 4th section 75th Open Perpignan a month or so later. He has now done Barcelona 3 times and scored high in the result twice.
He is a broken pigeon and was originally raced from our old loft location in Merriott about 20 miles from our current location and broken out at Evercreech in 2010. His racing record has also been useful at both locations. 3rd Section C 10th Open NFC Alencon, 6th West Section 37th Tarbes/Agen BICC, 19th Section G 162nd Tarbes NFC, 37th Section G 260th Tarbes NFC, 93rd West Section 100th BICC Carentan, 92nd Open BICC Tours 2014, 56th Open BICC Poitiers 2014, 2nd West Section 7th BICC Barcelona 2013, 4th West Section 18th Open BICC Barcelona 2014.
He is bred from a son of Dave Impetts 1st Section L 13th Open NFC Tarbes 748 miles a Brugemann Bros pigeon, when paired to a Deweerdt daughter of Mark Gilberts Southfield Pau when he was paired to Southfield Jean. "

So there you have it, the 2014 Barcelona International race over and done with. A race of two halves in many ways as the Continentals had the best of the winds and the weather on the first and second days of the race, whilst the British pigeons had to contend with strong westerly winds , the English Channel and inclement weather on both the first day and until well into the second day when the Channel was blocked out until after lunchtime. Nevertheless, the pigeons struggled on through against the elements and its interesting, if not surprising to see the "usual suspects" once again clocking good pigeons. Congratulations to you all and here's hoping that many more pigeons make their way home in the coming days.
Gareth Watkins

Heath-&-Peter-Archibald 1st Open-BICC-Barcelona

Peter's Dream 1st Open BICC Barcelona

Dave and Vince padfield 4TH OPEN bicc bARCELONA 2014

Mike & Cynthia Mitchell 2nd Open BICC Barcelona 2013 & 5th Open Barcelona 2014 WITH THE SAME PIGEON

TonyCowan 1st centre section 6th Open Barcelona

Gosling & Jarvis 1st East section BICC Falaise & 7th Open Barcelona2014

Racing loft of A & T Deacon. Albi was 2nd sect 10th Open Barcelona

Jim Hooper 11th Open Barcelona

Mr Wilson 1st North Central section 12th Open Barcelona 844 miles

John and Kath Lane8th sect 15 th & 19th Open Barcelona

Barry Wigg 1st NE section Barcelona

BICC Joe Raeburn pictured with his winner of 1st west section Perpignan of a couple of years ago. Joe was 1st west section BICC Barcelona 2014

Lee & Kevin Buddle with their two Barcelona timers

NoelCallaghan 2nd NE section Barcelona