For many of us, in todays society, the everyday relationship with mobile phones, computers and the daily grind of work in big cities and highly built up towns has sadly ensured we have lost touch with the old values that has helped build strong morals and principles that our forefathers once upheld.
For many of us visiting museums, art galleries and opportunities to learn about our old English traditional culture offers a rare chance to grab a glimpse of the great British country we once cherished. Today a sad reality is that the old traditions of garden shed engineering or age old traditional craftsmanship has almost dwindled from our lives.
Few of us have strong relationships to our ancient historical past or have been passed on generations of cherished knowledge by those that lived before us.
It takes a rare personality to have such a love and admiration for something it captivates your imagination and spirit enough that you decide to devote your life to it. A mind that has the patience and self belief that no matter how long it takes and without the urge to cut corners or rush to become great at what you do, or even contemplate greatness or command respect or admiration from others as a reason for learning, just imagination and pure devotion to something that fills your dreams and your life with new horizons, commitment, endless rewards and a feeling of self achievement....and all this began unknowingly so many many years ago!
Ian Middleton has gained great knowledge over the past 3 decades of his life, he has devoted his life to the protection and understanding of Raptors, Birds Of Prey. Imagine sitting aloft a mountain pass, the rich open grasslands rest like a watercolour carpet far below, the soft white clouds roll gently round the mountain tops like a summer morning mist rising. The air is fresh and the scent of pine trees and summer meadows heightens your senses, whilst filling your soul with warmth and comfort, while alone in this wild rugged landscape. Then, in the distance you hear a high pitched cry that pierces the wilderness, rodents stand stiff to attention in the long grass below and the fish playing in the clear freshwater springs dive for cover as the silhoette of a Raptor breaks the glare of the noon day sun. As you sit and watch this awesome predator silently swoop down from the heavens and circle the valley below you call out to the spirit of this awe inspiring bird of prey....he turns to you as you lift your arm....he soars down and with talons out before him he uses his wings to break his speed as he lands on your arm and stares intently into your eyes....
This is exactly the kind of story that captivates Ians imagination and his love for Falcons, Hawks, Kestrels, Eagles, Vultures and Owls. Ian Middleton has been nicknamed "The Bird Whisperer" with good reason. His amazing understanding of birds and the many years he has spent patiently learning and understanding them has captivated the hearts of those that have had the pleasure of meeting Ian and his family of birds. His help and advice is a priceless source of inspiration to those who choose to listen and digest all that he has to teach. Ian and his partner Carole Rose, who is an unconditional rock of support to Ian and their family of birds at Wild-Wings, rescue birds when called upon by the public or RSPCA (who they work with regularly in Lancashire) they also teach anyone who wants to learn about birds of prey and they display their birds all year round.
Now....let us rewind a bit, yes Ian has a wealth of knowledge with birds and is called upon by many budding Falconers for help and advice, but what many don't realise is that Ian has a world-wide reputation for hand-made, hand-stitched falconry equipment, predominately his Glovemaking skills. After all, this is Raptor Craft Traditionals and you might be wondering why i have deviated slightly in the past few paragraphs, well i just wanted to let you into a little bit more of who and what Ian Middleton is about...now back to the Falconry equipment!
Ian has been making gloves for Falconers world-wide since 1985, from the U.S.A to the U.A.E, Japan to South Africa. Ian has been commissioned by the Leeds Royal Armories Museum to make authentic 17th century French reenactment gloves for the head of Packard Bell, has featured exclusively on Spanish TV, written about in multiple magazines - local and national newspapers, created traditional Turkish falconry gloves, Eagle gloves and much more throughout his long career as a traditional Glovemaker and Falconer.