Sunday, July 24, 2011

Air Show

The Windermere Air Festival, to be precise. It'ss been going for a few years now and seems to be getting steadily bigger and better, with two days of air displays over the lake, fun fair, stalls and various other events. Last year the Saturday was rained off (you simply can't fly aircraft down steep valleys in rain, mist and cloud - it's too dangerous) and we were distracted by our neighbour's burst boiler. This year there were no last-minute disasters and the sun shone pretty much all afternoon, meaning every plane that was scheduled turned up and performed.

And it was amazing watching them. We had a series of grandstand viewpoints - first sat right on the lake shore at Bowness (getting mugged by the swans), then on the pier with a cup of tea, and lastly by the railings at the boat yard. All three places had a clear view of the skies and we watched as aerobatics teams, jets and the Battle of Britain memorial flight (Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane) climbed, looped and zoomed right above our heads.

After three hours we'd seen most of what we wanted so headed for home and put our feet up. Half an hour later there was a tremendous roar and we dashed to the windows to find that the Vulcan bomber had turned up. I say 'the' rather than 'a' because out of all the ones built in the 1950s, only one remains in an airworthy condition. It's based in Leicestershire and had flown across country to Cumbria to give us all a stunning display as it soared and swooped right over the lake. We've seen it at ground level before but never in the air and you really get no idea of their scale until you see one filling the sky. They are, quite simply, huge, and very, very loud. People were lining the streets, heads craning heavenwards, to see what was going on. And I managed to get a photo of it out of our bedroom window.

There's another day of displays today including the Red Arrows so I'll probably be waxing lyrical about those tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a couple of pics. I didn't have full zoom on so the planes look rather small, but it gives a good indication of scale.

They have specially trained swans in Bowness. One distracts you and another steals your sandwiches while you're not looking. I'm serious.

There were more boats out on the lake than usual. This is a nice shot of the fells through some of the masts.

The RV8tors display team in action over Bowness Bay.

The Vulcan bomber. Very difficult to photograph since it was travelling very fast, but I did my best.

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