The oldest recorded account of falconry dates back to Mesopotamia in 2000 BC. Tribal leaders later embraced the hobby and by the seventh century, hawking had become a favourite recreation of wealthy sheiks and Bedouins. Today the sport of kings is considered an art form – a cultural activity that has no equal in the Arabian Peninsula. In 2010, UNESCO even proclaimed falconry as ‘an intangible cultural heritage of the world’. A worthy endorsement rarely bestowed on any activity.
So perhaps it should be no surprise that one of Bentley’s latest accessories celebrates one of the most exclusive and revered pursuits. The new Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner is the ultimate vehicle for any hunting enthusiast. Fully equipped for a successful falconry expedition, the luxurious package centres on two, natural cork fabric-covered units fitted in the boot. One of the bespoke installations contains a master flight station, the other a refreshment case. Both sit on a movable tray, to allow for easy access.
The ingenious flight station houses a wood veneer drawer – complete with falcon crest. Beneath that is a Hotspur hide stowage space, carrying binoculars, a GPS bird tracking unit, plus hand-crafted leather hawk hoods and gauntlets. A matching refreshment case is for the falconer, not the bird! It features three metal flasks and cups, as well as cooling face cloths – a must for any desert-flying scenario. The Bentayga’s powered tailgate also acts as a shade for handler and bird.
Two individual perches are stored in a separate, cork-trimmed case, which slots into a pocket at the side of the boot. In transit, the falcon stands on a removable perch and tether, bridging the central armrest between the front seats. However, the piece de resistance is a beautiful piece of marquetry, crafted on the dashboard. The desert scene depicting a falcon in full flight has been pieced together from 430 individual veneers of wood. Uday Senapati, head of Technical Operations at Bentley Mulliner, explained: “Exceptional falcons can fetch up to $1 million in the UAE, so it was crucial we made the Bentayga Falconry as luxurious as practical, to appeal to our wealthy customers involved in the sport.”