I have always been a keen aviation enthusiast, however my interest was in
the main with civil aviation. I lived close to Barton airfield and from
around 1963 on I made regular trips to all the major airports and numerous
airfields in this country and abroad. It was after a trip to Ringway
airport (Manchester to you young ones) which spurred me into becoming an
anorak. In the years that followed. I would occasionally write articles
and along with photographs send them to various aviation publications,
where to my surprise most of them were published. A change of job meant a
change of address and I moved to the Lake District. Soon after moving to
the area from Salford I had a day out at Fell Foot park, at the southern
end of Lake Windermere (a very popular picnic and swimming area). It was
here that my interest in trying to capture on film the activities of
military low flying began. Whilst there, that afternoon numerous aircraft
types treated us to some low passes. I was converted to chasing military
I made a short trek up a road almost opposite the park, which lead to
Gummers How, from the summit of which all the southern end of the Lake
District and Morcambe Bay can be observed in good weather. I would then
watch from here on a regular basis and study the routes that the aircraft
took after they entered low level, at the south end of Walney Island, by
Barrow-in-Furness, then follow the coast to their entry point. From
Gummers How I picked out the passes and the valleys through which the jets
used the most. This had to be done as the RAF don't publish a timetable
for fast jet movements and I wanted to optimize my chances of being in a
good photographic position with a chance of seeing something when I picked
a hill to sit on. I have spent days waiting for something to use the
valley that I'm watching, only to see jets flitting around the hills I'd
passed to get to this one. Then one day without warning bingo they all
seem to know that you are there, and you have the best seat in the house,
that's when its all been worth the wait.
Manno got interested in military activity from watching aircraft
transiting the area, and making visits to shows and airfields. Alan uses
his camcorder extensively and has found quite a bit of success with some
of his results being used in promotional videos.
Terry like the rest of us got interested after watching aircraft from his
back garden in Ulverston where he can watch aircraft enter the Lake
District and also target the viaduct over the estuary there.
that should you venture up onto the fells check the weather forecast, take
the right kind of clothing I have seen the weather change so fast, from
sunshine to being enveloped in fog, or a howling gale, be careful, tell
someone where you are going. Also be polite, courteous and considerate it
may be a National Park, but it isn't your backyard. As
you will probably already know good reliable information is the key to the
detective work required in finding out where and when things may happen.
With that in mind I try to collate as much information and rumors to build
a picture of what may be. So if you intend to venture up here contact me.
If I can I will bring you up to speed. Likewise if you have anything to
say please pass it on via the net or if you see any of us about we enjoy
nothing more than to talk about what's happening.