PECKFORTON Castle’s head falconer is fulfilling his Wildest Dreams as a reality TV star.
Jimmi Hill, aged 23, swapped his beloved birds of prey for wild animals on a much larger scale when he made his television debut on BBC One’s Widest Dream programme last Wednesday.
Jimmi, from Chester, was a contestant on the new reality wildlife show based in South Africa.
He applied for the show after seeing an advert in a newspaper, looking for people from all walks of life who were passionate about animals.
More than 12,000 people applied, a short list was drawn up and after going through an interview process the nine finalists were chosen.
Jimmi’s employers at Peckforton Castle Hotel, where he looks after 25 birds of prey, including two golden eagles, agreed to give him time off to take part in the show. Š
The series is based in the Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert, and Jimmi’s favourite area the Drakenberg Mountains where he encountered a variety of African Vultures.
The teams have to capture different elements of wildife on film after being set a number of challenges.
ŠA contestant is eliminated each week and Jimmi is sworn to secrecy about who the eventual winner is.
The highlight for him was the time he spent with the wild birds and the excellent friends he made.
He said: “We got to see some magnificent animals very close up from rhinos to lions, and we learnt how to track large game, which was fascinating.
“But for me the bird life was still the best element. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.”
Filming is now finished and Jimmi is back at Peckforton Castle where he gives daily flying displays with the birds of prey, including personal tuition for guests who want to fly the birds themselves, and hawk walks.