Abergavenny paragliders can soar with birds of prey
2:10pm Monday 25th February 2013 in News
IF YOU dream of soaring high up in the air alongside birds of prey then “parahawking” may be the hobby for you.
The art of combining paragliding with falconry is capturing the nation – thanks to the likes of TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams.
Mr Williams was seen on television “parahawking” alongside Abergavenny expert Steve Milson.
The activity involves a falconer launching a bird from the ground while you take to the skies above Monmouthshire in a tandem paraglider.
Once in the air you can interact with the birds in their own environment and get to feed them as you fly.
Mr Milson, who runs Axis Paraglider – the only Welsh company to offer the experience – can regularly be seen launching off the Blorenge Mountain flying in the company of birds of prey such as peregrine falcons and red kites that are trained to fly alongside the glider as chicks.
The former film assistant director-turned paragliding instructor, works with falconer Martin Cray to provide people with the experience of flying in a tandem paraglider for around 20 minutes.
Mr Milson, who has been paragliding for 23 years, takes both gliding and wildlife enthusiasts up in the air.
“People who are interested in birds of prey can get very close to them,” he explained.
“To see it soaring and flying from the air is amazing.”
“It’s a miracle every time you see it.
“We give the passenger some food as a reward for the bird and it will come and land on your falconry glove.
“We often take two paragliders up together and so the bird will fly between the two.”
He said the Brecon Beacons offers some of the best paragliding terrain in Wales.
A flight normally lasts around 20 minutes but those who want to become a pilot can sign up to a eight to ten day course to become a solo flyer.
“We’ve taken Iolo Williams and Barney from Blue Peter to film parahawking footage and were even presented with our very own Blue Peter Badge which was a dream come true,” added Mr Milson, who has thousands of flying hours under his belt.
Mr Milson is also registered to take people with disabilities on a tandem paraglider using a speciallyadapted harness.
Parahawking experiences cost from £300, available from www.paraglide.co.uk