Time: 12:10 - 13:55 (11:10 - 12:55 GMT) and 18:15 - 19:25 (17:15 - 18:25 GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDMS
Lundy on a Monday (and Newton Peveril and Dunkeswell)
OK, yes I know I have borrowed the title from someone else, but it does fit. Ian and I have taken the day off work with the aim of going to Lundy - a small island in the Bristol Channel, 10 miles off the Devon Coast. I have wanted to go there for a long time and for once the weather seems to be co-operating. We get the plane out, check it over and fuel it. We also get a pair of lifejackets and the PLB that we part own. I also want to get another letter for the AlphaBet Challenge - I need an N, I have been to Newton Peveril before, but time is running out before the challenge ends, so this is our first stop. It does mean that the legs are rather uneven, but never mind.
Ian has the first leg to Newton Peveril. We take off on 21 and head straight down the gap between Boscombe CMATZ and the Southampton zone then straight towards Tarrant Rushton, then just round the corner of Bournemouth zone under to 2000' airspace step. We join downwind and land on 27. Only a small break here to stretch our legs and recheck the aircraft. The airfield owner comes over for a quick chat, but soon we ready for the off. I call Lundy and I'm told it's OK to come in, but there's lots of sheep on the runway. We don our lifejackets ready for the water crossing.
My turn in the left seat for the big leg to Lundy. My initial route is north-ish to Blandford Forum to avoid the Weymouth Paralympics zone with a good margin. Past Hermatage, Sutton Bingham Reservoir, Crewkerne and Chard. Then to Culmhead, past Tiverton, round Eaglescott and past Belle Vue, where we stopped last time we were in this area. Then onto Bideford Bay and follow the coast round past Clovelly to Hartland Point. From here we can now just see the island - the visibility isn't bad. There is a fair amount of low level of clouds, so I climb above them before coasting out and heading north over the water at about 4000'.
The long thin island comes into clearer view and when we arrive we can see that the runway is indeed covered in little woolly blobs. Joining overhead for 24, I then approach to do a low pass (as instructed) to attempt to scare the sheep off. This shows the undulations in the airstrip where it is initially uphill, then flattens in a dip. Round the circuit and it is clear there is still too much lamb on the runway, so we do another buzz (lower) over the runway.The next time round they haven't had time to reconverge and I land on the first uphill section which we are told is in better condition than the rest. We taxi carefully watching for rocks and holes and park off to the south.
We tie the plane down and then walk up to the lighthouse as it seems the closest habitation. It's open to visitors and we go up to the (disused) lantern - there are some fantastic views from up here. The island looks somehow a bit bleak but very beautiful. A Chinook helicopter arrives and orbits the south of the island (including the lighthouse) and then puts down near the church - I can't see if anyone has been dropped off or collected, but they soon lift and depart back to the mainland.
We then wander to the tiny village and find the pub, where we have to sign in and pay for our landing - £15 for the plane and £5 for each occupant (unless you happen to be a National Trust member). Sadly, we are too late for cooked food, so we get some tea/hot chocolate and cake and consume this outside in the lovely sunshine. Time for a walk; we walk down towards Harbour - the sides of the island are quite steep but very pretty. Another helicopter is dropping off a load slung beneath it, near to the (working) lighthouse, near Rat Island. We then head back to look for the shop, but never really find it. We did look round the museum building, and then head along the east side of the island, a little way past the threshold of runway 24, then back to airfield.
Quick checkover and we're off again - this time with Ian flying us to Dunkeswell. But the first problem is the flipping sheep. After warm-up, we taxi from the parking area and head up the runway, then turn round back towards the threshold; weaving left to right to chase the sheep away. No matter how hard you shout "get out the way you woolly bastards" or "mint sauce", they don't seem keen to move. A quick turn at the threshold before they drift back and we take off along the left side of the runway - when we walked along it previously this looked the smoothest. The uphill slope delays takeoff, but we are soon rising up and over the cliff edge to the sea, before turning downhill. We then (as planned) fly round the islands coast in an anticlockwise direction. At the north end of the island is another lighthouse, where we turn south and along the west coast. It shows an excellent example of how the (clear) moist air from the Atlantic is pushed up by the island as it passes over it and condenses into clouds. These then disperse as they fall off the other side and the air sinks back down. At the south end we have gained some height and can see the Devon coast in the distance. Nearing the mainland the clouds begin again (again condensing as the air rises onto the land). Our route back to Dunkeswell is pretty similar to the outbound but a little further south. Keeping clear of North Hill gliding site, we join downwind for runway 22 due to the parachute jumping.
We sign in and go to the cafe. Unfortunately, our quest for food was again thwarted as we (apparently) had just passed the chef as he was leaving. We did manage a couple of pre-made sandwiches and some tea. The new cafe does look quite smart -just don't know how it tastes.
Another checkover and I'm doing the last leg home. Again this is pretty much the same route as outbound - not surprising as it is the most direct. A deadside join at Popham and land on 21.
Another lovely day out - frequently mentioning the poor people at work today.
Video clip of take off - click here.
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