Teesdale couple launch falconry business
PUBLISHED: 13:57 12 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:11 20 February 2013
The love of hunting with birds of prey led to a whole new business venture for a Teesdale couple Words by Sue Campbell
Its not until you get up close and personal with a bird of prey that you see how beautiful they are. And how deadly. Breathtaking plumage, coupled with wickedly sharp talons, make them truly fascinating creatures.
But how about if you could actually see them in action, flying across moorland and woodland, and watch them glide and hunt as they were meant to do?
A new business near Barnard Castle in County Durham aims to let you do just that.
Tori Goodall and her partner, David Toms, started their new venture, Northside Falconry, a few months ago as a result of what was their long-term hobby.
Tori, who is 29, has lived in the area all her life and as well as being a keen falconer, has a long standing love of country sport and breeds and trains Labradors.
Her partner David, 39, also a North Easterner, has 20 years experience of flying and breeding birds of prey, specialising in rearing and training Goshawks.
He explaings that he got into falconry almost by accident.
I went into it through shooting. But it really started when I found a bird which the handler had lost. When I took it back, he asked what I wanted as a reward and I asked that he let me go out with him and the bird. Ive been hooked on the sport of falconry ever since.
Tori said: We know there are other places where people can go and see birds of prey and have their pictures taken at 20 a time. But ours dont just sit on perches. They are real working birds and are exercised and taken out regularly.
The idea of the business evolved after they were asked to take a group of visitors to their next door neighbours holiday cottages out with the birds.
Tori said: They loved the whole experience and it made us think that other people would find it equally appealing. So we set up the business last summer.
We have had all sort of people here, including some corporate clients, and are already getting very good feedback.
Northside is home to a team of Harris Hawks, Goshawks, one Eagle owl called Ozzy, six ferrets and assorted dogs, including two German wire haired pointers which David works alongside the hawks.
Northside offers some great experiences. There are Hawk Walks, where you learn to call and hold the birds properly, then are taken out for a walk cross fields in the lovely Teesdale countryside with the birds flying and landing close by.
And there are Hunting Days, where you can be provided with tuition to pursue a rabbit or pheasant (in season), with access to more than 3,000 acres of land.
Tori said: Although we have been involved in falconry for some time, turning our hobby into a business seemed to be a great way of helping others experience the real thrill of the birds.
Northside Falconry, Boldron, near Barnard Castle.
Telephone 07815 746386. www.northsidefalconry.co.uk