FLY-UK 2004 successfully achieved its aims John O'Groats to Lands End and on to the Wight Party. And all despite the weather!
Diary of events:
Friday 18th June
We all met up at Hartpury, Gloucestershire, where we stayed overnight for a quick getaway the following morning.
A good meal in the local inn that evening gave us a chance to meet old pals and form new friendships.
Flew through rain showers to Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, where there was a fly-in to celebrate the activity of Rolls Royce at this historic airfield.
A few of us were delayed and had to stay for the excellent air display! Refuelled at Bagby, North Yorkshire, beneath the white horse of Kilburn, finally arriving at Eshott, Northumberland for a barbeque kindly provided by our hosts and an evening camped on the air-field.
An early start led to a refuelling at Perth, Perthshire.
Then a flight following the A9 trunk road, through the valleys of the Cairngorms and on to Dornoch, Sutherland, while the AX2000 took the coastal route and stopped at Insch, Aberdeenshire on the way.
The Lowry Tea Rooms in Dornoch did us proud and opened up with a Steak supper put on especially for us.
We all took early flights to John O'Groats, returning via Wick, Caithness, to Dornoch, for breakfast.
Then, while some then flew through the north-west Scotland danger area (by arrangement) via Plockton, Ross-shire, and the Isles of Skye and Mull, the rest took the direct route, following Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal, to Oban, Argyll, where there was glorious sunshine. The shorts were on (and the wellies were off) as we celebrated the late afternoon of Mid-summer's day basking in the sun. The evening was whiled away very pleasantly in the hotel at the end of the runway, just a short staggger back to the tents.
After a flight across the island of Bute and the Lowther hills we arrived in Carlisle, Cumbria, where the early arrivals got a meal - after 3.30 it was snacks only. We had modified our original plan to visit Kirkbride, due to our need to progress southwards before the weather closed in. We diverted to Barton, Lancashire, that evening, and liked it so much that we stayed for two days.
With strong winds, the weather was so poor that we stayed in Barton, visiting the Manchester shops and cinema while awaiting a change in the weather.
Some made the shops again while others stayed at Barton, taking full advantage of the excellent airfield cafe and watching the weather blow past.
With a change in fortunes we set off for our destination at the Isle of Wight. Seven aircraft made Land's End, while others took the short cut direct to Sandown and the Wight Party.
What a flight!
What a party!