Rankin Strain OF Scotland
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
upon domicile I refer to this strain as being
Scottish although the founders are from Ireland.
As one who is proud of my nationality it gives
me great pleasure to pay this tribute to George
and Gareth Rankin of Glasgow. In fact George was
born in Bangor, Co Down, in the north of the Emerald
Isle. Being of a farming background he had pigeons
from am early age which included Tipplers and
Tumblers but at the age of eleven he had his first
racing pigeons and soon joined the Donaghadee
RPC in 1953. By 1954 he had won his first Old
Bird Average Trophy in his club with a dozen or
less yearlings. His triumph included winning the
Penzance race (310 miles), with his bird on the
wing for about 14 hours. This was the beginning
of an illustrious career in the sport, especially
at the distance.
successes included winning the prestigious and
coveted Miller Gold Cup from Landerneau, France,
(427 miles) into a north east wind, being the
only bird on the day and one of only 17 in the
race time of three days. This win also yielded
six other trophies plus a Gold Medal. Other Irish
victories included in 1968 7th Open Penzance Young
Bird National followed in 1969 with 11th Open
Old Bird Irish National from Nantes (550 miles).
Another tough race with only 99 birds in three
days. Then in 1972 George left Ireland for Scotland,
with his family, and there began another phase
in his pigeon racing career.
due course the Rankins began to win dozens upon
dozens of Scottish National Flying Club Racing
Certificates plus thousands of pounds. In fact
as an example of their phenomenal successes, from
1989 ( including '90, '91, '95, and '96,) from
Niort in France the loft was the only one in the
Scottish nation to be in the first 25 Open positions.
And that at a distance of 673 miles. Scoring 4th
Open, 17th Open, 24th Open, and 25th Open. In
1996 alone this outstanding family won 20 trophies
as well as being 24th Open Niort and 13th Open
Sartilly in consecutive weeks. Fantastic flying!
would appear according to sources that George
Rankin was heavily influenced by the late Leslie
Sloan of the Sloan and Whyte partnership, a great
Irish racing combination at the distance. In fact
when Leslie Sloan died George Rankin sold the
pigeons on behalf of Leslie's wife. The Sloan
influence would have ensured the need for proper
base stock if one wanted to tackle the endurance
tasks of distance racing. That is why the partnership
obtained the best from such as Andrew Deans and
Joe Murphy, two of Scotland's best flyers.
conclude, at the time of writing the two Irish
exiles are still winning at the ultra distances
and what was Ireland's loss was Scotland's gain.
However as the two peoples have always been close
to each other both physically and culturally both
can lay claim to the Rankin strain of long distance
and marathon racing pigeons. There comes no better!
by: Liam O Comain