From beach to mountains in a day: Day 2 from Padstow to Caernarfon! Capt. Paul White continues his memoirs of the UK trip

From beach to mountains in a day: Day 2 from Padstow to Caernarfon! Capt. Paul White continues his memoirs of the UK trip

Day 2 – Tuesday 18th June

After breakfast, Matt took the opportunity to do his usual morning run. Lee also headed off for a stroll on the beach (must be all that time in OZ 😉). We met up at Padstow Harbour and took the ferry across to Rock where after a glorious morning first thing it promptly started to rain! Some of the group started to walk up the hill to the helipad and got soaked whereas the rest of the team including myself took shelter in a closed café doorway until John Bray (the owner of Rock Helipad) kindly picked us up and took us to the top of the hill where we met up with the rest of the now rather damp team.

After a short delay waiting for the weather to ease. Some headed for Bodmin Airfield to refuel but then we all followed a similar route following the coastline passing Tintagel, Bude, Hartland Point, Bideford, a quick flyby of Instow where I had holidayed with the family last year, Ilfracombe then into Bristol’s airspace. Once at the Severn Bridge that joins England to Wales, we headed inland past Highgrove House (home to Prince Charles and Camilla) and into Kemble Aerodrome (also known as Cotswold Airport) for lunch. When I had visited previously, I had enjoyed a fabulous meal at their restaurant. Unfortunately, this time it was a little more rough and ready and lunch was burger and chips from a van as the roof had recently been blown off the restaurant! We were slightly ahead of the others so sent word about the burger van for lunch to the others (which actually was rather nice) and we promptly set off for Wales.

Our route after that took us back to the Severn Bridge and into Southern Wales and continued following the Southern coastline crossing places such as Barry, Rhoose, Llantwit Major, Porthcawl and Port Talbot across to Swansea where we then headed Northbound to Caernarfon. The others followed a similar route except for Team Phil Flying G-FPEH one of our Cabri G2 who headed to Haverfordwest first as Philip was determined to navigate via the UK coastline and from Castle to Castle and if there wasn’t a castle with a 10-mile radius then a stately home would do! Our trip was beginning to attract a few followers now…. I remember a fab video posted by Cardiff Heliport on Instagram who had spotted us in the R66.

“The two Phil’s are machines!! They flew more than they slept!! Fantastic” Capt. Matt Storey

Of course, whilst in Wales we couldn’t resist the chance to fly low level around the Machynlleth loop which was simply stunning and over the top of Snowdon. Snowdon was a challenge as the cloud base was dropping below the summit but a few of us were lucky and found a break in the cloud and managed to fly right over the top.

“I would pick out the trip round the Machynlleth Loop in Wales that Chris and I flew was the best part of my trip” Capt. Neil Day

On our way down into Caernarfon Airport we got a fantastic view of Caernarfon Castle which is right on the coast. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

Once landed and obligatory group selfie taken, we made way to our accommodation for the night the historic Plas Dinas, which dates to the mid-seventh century. This former retreat of Lord Snowdon was full of wonderful family portraits and beautiful antiques. Over dinner in the rather grand Gun Room we relived our adventures so far with the whole team and planned the next stage of our trip Day 3 Caernarfon to Carlisle!

“The stand out moment of the trip for me was flying past Snowdon and coming though the valley, to see Caernarfon castle in the distance. Staying at Plas Dinas Hotel with dinner in the Gun Room that evening in such good company, was a perfect end to the day!” Capt. Lee Smyth

Follow Capt White’s UK Trip Memoirs in next week’s blog #helisontourrelived If you are keen to join our 2020 tour or have been inspired to learn to fly then please email  training@flyingpighelicopters.co.uk or call 0207 118 8998 for more info.

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