This is the travelogue of one of our members, Iain, of his part in the 2018 Fly UK tour. Iain flew most of the tour with other YFC members Ian, Paul, Stuart along with Mike & Darren.
Fly UK is an annual charity tour in which up to 100 microlight pilots tour the country, aiming to visit many of the airfields on the selected route, dodging bad weather, enjoying the views and concentration of full time touring, and relaxing with like minded pilots.
The tour raises money for the Children with Cancer charity, simply by asking for donations – so if you enjoy reading this, please do consider donating, mentioning YFC in your comments on http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fly-uk
Day 1 – Friday 15 June 2018
Day 1 of Fly UK, 2.5 hours down to near Sleap airfield, near Shawbury, tent up, wing down, tea on its way. Rain forecast tomorrow so may be a late start back northward to Scotland.
Day 2 – Sleap to Headcorn
Day 2 of Fly UK has turned into Fly Europe for the Rufforth Four, bad weather ‘up north’ for the next few days forcing us to vote to devolve Scotland from our flight plans. Instead, we’ve embraced the European Union and head to France for a fairwell Brexit sojourn. We flew about 5 hours today, dodging bad weather and winds and have now made it to Kent, a stone’s throw from the Channel, and a planned trip to Le Touquet tomorrow, weather permitting. More then…
Day 3 – Headcorn to Cromer
So much for our plan B, turns out the France was frogged out. Sorry, fogged out. So, after watching a great display of spitfires in Headcorn, we set off up the east coast from Margate to Southend to Clackton and up through Suffolk and Norfolk and landed at Cromer. Dropped in on the way up at a little farm strip and nearly got arrested as smugglers from the continent. We managed to escape though with some schmoozing and carry on our journey. Good flying again and in position to head west tomorrow.
Day 4 – Cromer to Fenland
No sign of a football match (world cup is on) in the Plough Inn in Holbeach. Day 4 of Fly UK took the Rufforth Four up the coast from Cromer to Weybourne, then up to Wingland on the edge of the Wash, and then for lunch at Fenland, only to find the cafe shut . And then the wind picked up to hooly levels and grounded us for the rest of the day. Everything is now tied down and we’ve gone to the local pub. Better day forecast tomorrow…
Day 5 – Fenland to Skegness
The Rufforth Four theme of today was Fly Lincolnshire as we raced round as many airfields as we could, cuppa & a chat with loads of great friendly flying folk along the way and chalking up a grand total of 13 airfields, 14 including the one we set off from (and it’s a nicer number). Great day of flying, now we’re off to the pub in Skeggy holiday park! It doesn’t get better than that!
Day 6 – Skegness to Shobdon
Frustrating day with high & gusty wind thwarting our efforts to head to Wales. Good use of time though with a bus ride to Skeggy and an ice cream on.the front . By the time it was 6pm, the Rufforth Four had become Two and we’d no chance of making Wales. Undeterred, Paul & I set off and had a fantastic flight landing in Shobdon, a stone’s throw from Wales as the sun set. Just making a mug shot & rice for tea with a nice cup of Shiraz. Early start tomorrow hopefully…
Day 7 – Shobdon to Westonzoyland
Day 7 of Fly UK saw efforts Above and Beyond the call of duty by the Rufforth 2, formally known as the Rufforth 4. After arriving in the Brecon Beacons after closing time last night, the intrepid flyers got up at 4am, as the sun came up for the day. By 6am we were airborne heading for Llanbedr. After less than an hour it was apparent that we had a 40mph headwind meaning that we’d not reach our Rendezvous until everyone else had long departed. We decided to divert to the next place, but low cloud thwarted our efforts so we decided to return to our starting point for a well earned breakfast! So we substituted the official Fly UK route for our own fringe festival of landing places, dropping into severa more of the airfields most sane people would not venture. All in aid of charity! So, 4 more airfields and a few hours flying and a good day out. The next few days look like much better weather so we should cover some serious ground!
Day 8 – Westonzoyland to Bodmin
Day 8 of Fly UK saw the Rufforth Two head down through Devon & Cornwall. RAF maneuvers on the Devon coast forced us inland so we stopped at a couple of lovely little airfields around Exmoor and Dartmoor on the way down. We then headed down towards Lands End but when we spotted Lundy Island, 12 miles off the coast of Cornwall, we just had to fly out and land on it! I should have some lovely aerial photos on my other camera, so when I get home I’ll share some of them. On from Lundy to Lands End, which was actually a more formal airport than we normally stop at, which adds a bit of stress dealing with all the air traffic control protocols, where you can’t sneeze without permission. But what a lovely spot to land, albeit in a more than forecast breeze. Slightly surreal sitting having a coffee in the departure lounge while people were checking in for their flight to the Scilly isles! And then finally back to Bodmin, dropping in on a golf course with its own airfield, another unusual one in the logbook. So all.in all a great day for flying, 6 airfields and 6 hours in the air. Last day tomorrow before heading home on Sunday.
Day 9 – Bodmin to Rufforth and Home
I woke on Saturday, with high expectations for our final day of touring, great weather and a plan to fly out 26 miles to the Isles of Scilly, before crossing the south coast back to Isle of Wight. And then it all changed with a phone call from home, to let me know that my father in law had died in the early hours of the morning. It was not a surprise but still a shock, and very sad news. So, all my plans changed immediately, and within the hour I was packed and loaded, and sat with engine warming, ready to head for home, alone, leaving the rest of the Fly UK pilots, including Paul, the now Rufforth One, to complete the journey and return to their own homes the following day. So it was with a heavy heart, and a sense of urgency to get home to my family that I set off across Cornwall and Devon, past Bristol, up past Gloucester, Worcester and Birmingham, and around East Midlands airport, over Sheffield and up to York. Covering much of the country, 5 hours 20 minutes in one hop, I landed grateful for good weather, thankful for safe flight, satisfied at a fantastic weeks flying, and sad for my wife’s loss of her father. RIP Eric.
If you’re not a pilot but like the idea, why not give it a go. Microlight aviation is affordable flying for most people, and opens up the world to see from another perspective. Contact YFC to find out more.
Whoever you are, if you’ve enjoyed coming on the journey with us through these ramblings and photos, it would be lovely if you could make a donation to our charity, Children with Cancer – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fly-uk
And for those who like the detail
|Iain’s G-SEEE 2018 Fly UK Log|
|16/06/2018||Enstone||Lashenden – Headcorn||17:15||19:15||02:00||118.0|
|17/06/2018||Lashenden – Headcorn||Eastchurch||13:50||15:05||01:15||74.0|
|19/06/2018||Stubby North||Ashleys Field||18:55||19:10||00:15||10.0|