TO the members of one society in Cumberland, the word fancying has a very different meaning.

Pigeon fancying is the art of breeding domestic pigeons and has been practiced across the world for at least 5,000 years, making it one of the world's most ancient hobbies.

Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society was founded by current chairman John Gregg in 1979 and offers a chance for young or old, novice or experienced fanciers across Cumberland to enjoy their pigeons.

The society holds shows for its members throughout the winter months and an NPA Championship Show every October.

On October 21, the society held its NPA Championship Show at the H and H Borderway Mart in Carlisle.

Sean Morrow and Steven Pybus were among two proud pigeon owners, claiming best in show and reserve best in show respectively for their LFCL Tumbler and Dutch Tumbler pigeons.

News and Star: Sean Morrow's best in show LFCL TumblerSean Morrow's best in show LFCL Tumbler (Image: Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society)There were around 1,300 entries in total, with people travelling from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Mark Rudd, one of the secretaries at the Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society, has around 300 pigeons of his own. 

He said: "I have an allotment around 1.5 miles from my home. I need to go down there every night. It's 24/7. You can't afford to have a night off. Once the dark nights come it's a bit more onerous."

News and Star: Two of the section winners from the contest.Two of the section winners from the contest. (Image: Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society)

Pigeons are judged by representatives from the National Pigeon Association, where Mark is chairman, with the birds awarded a score out of 97 points, as there 'is no such thing as the perfect pigeon.'

A quick look through the photos from the Carlisle event will likely show you pigeons unlike any you have ever seen before. 

News and Star: Steven Pybus' reserve best in showSteven Pybus' reserve best in show (Image: Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society)

Mark said: "Everybody sees the street pigeon. Everybody sees the pigeon in the bus station. Everybody sees the ones on your washing line. We've got all those but we've also got the fancy arm of it. We've got so many breeds."

Egremont Fancy Pigeon Society is looking to attract new, younger members, with upcoming trips planned to Airdrie, Lancashire, and the North East.

Mark added: "It's a big social gathering. The pigeons pull us all together."