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Euan Naylor & Jenny Sandiford at the Quiraing, Skye
Euan Naylor & Jenny Sandiford at the Quiraing, Skye

Flying start for island venture
A young couple who met while working with birds of prey in Northumberland have brought their experience and interest in their feathered friends to the Isle of Skye.

Euan Naylor (22) and his partner Jenny Sandiford (21) have based themselves at Kensaleyre, near Uig, on the north end of the island along with a collection of owls, hawks and falcons.

They have seven different species, ranging from a barn owl, Harris hawk to a Saker falcon. All have been hand-reared and none taken from the wild.

The couple aim to expand into a large falconry centre. The venture has been made possible with help from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) and Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise - both financially and with advice for a small business.

Euan has worked with falcons since the age of 10, following in his father's footsteps. he helped build and worked at the Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre in Northumberland.

It was there he met Jenny who was employed in a summer job while completing her national diploma in land use and recreation. She also has a conservation background, having worked with the RSPB at Haweswater on golden eagle nest watches.

Eventually the pair teamed up and decided it was time to work for themselves. Skye offered that opportunity with a family home on the island.

Jenny said: "The response from businesses and organisations on Skye has been nothing short of overwhelming, particularly from the likes of hotels who are interested in running courses in falconry."

As well as flying for sport and pleasure, Isle of Skye Falconry plans to promote awareness through schools and tours, enabling youngsters and the public to understand conservation of these species and their environment.
Highland News Group, August 24, 2002

Tourists get chance to meet the killers of Skye
by Bob King

A young couple in Skye are giving visitors the chance of a walk on the wild side with a difference - with a variety of birds of prey.

Euan Naylor, 22, who has worked with falcons since he was 10, and his partner Jenny Sandiford, 21, have set up Skye Falconry at Kensaleyre, near Uig.

The falconry, which received backing from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, has seven different species of predators including a Saker falcon, a Harris hawk and a barn owl.

Others are a Lanner falcon, a kestrel, a buzzard and a tawny owl.

The Isle of Skye Falconry builds on Mr Naylor's experience at Northumberland's Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre, which he helped to set up and where he worked for 2 years.

Ms Sandiford has a conservation background, having worked with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at Haweswater on 24 and 48-hour golden eagle nest watches.

While completing her national diploma in land use and recreation, she found summer and spare time work with Mr Naylor at the Northumberland centre.

The couple decided to move to Skye, where Mr Naylor's parents have a retirement home, because nobody else has a falconry project on the island.

They moved in May and are currently finishing housing for the birds which should be completed this week.

Ms Sandiford said: "The idea is to allow people to have a hands-on experience with the birds, look at the basics of falconry and learn how to fly the birds.

"Visitors spend the morning familiarising themselves with the birds and their equipment then, in the afternoon, we take them out in the field to fly them."

Ms Sandiford said she and her partner run a course for children and a hawk walk for three hours which concentrates on the Harris hawk.

Another course dealing with raptor management takes up to three days and is aimed at people who want to have their own birds.

The courses are aimed at anybody interested in the subject from tourists who fancy something different to locals.

She said: "We also give demonstrations to schools and hotel guests and take part in special events such as gala days. We are hoping also to get involved in films."

The couple received 2,000 grant and loan assistance from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust as well as 1,000 grant from Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise and a business start-up grant.
The Press & Journal, August 21, 2002

Trust Spreads its Wings
HELPING A BUSINESS FLY: The Isle of Skye Falconry Centre is one of the more remote ventures to receive the backing of the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust. Euan Naylor, a 22-year-old who developed an interest in falconry when he was 10, and Jenny Sandiford, his 21-year-old partner, aim to promote not only the ancient sport of falconry but also conservation of the species and its habitat. The falconry centre is based at the north end of the island near Uig.
The Herald, August 21, 2002

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