Coventry Airport, United Kingdom
First stop to fill up with fuel.
Coventry Airport, United Kingdom
I landed at Coventry where my friends Ben and Anne Marie were waiting to help me refuel to the top. I couldn’t take off from Shenington full of fuel to get me to Wick in Scotland. The runways are too short.
I didn’t really say goodbye to them either. I really am bad at that sort of thing. They are coming out to America this year, so hopefully we may meet up again in the USA.
I then had a bit of a problem going to my destination of wick. It isn’t open on Sunday? Well I didn’t know, so my friends John and Pete sorted things it out so I could go to Inverness instead. It was almost as far.
Climbing out of Coventry I followed a route east of the Birmingham airport control zone and I beat up my parents and my childhood home in Stonnall, before heading on the way up to the east of the Manchester zone. My parents were in the Lake District, where my Dad was flying model float planes off Ullswater lake. I flew over the mountains then down to just above the water, sort of like the Dambusters. I pulled up over their camp site and saw them waving. It was the best equivalent good bye I could give them as I climbed away waggling my wings.
Nothing much to add after that, but low cloud over the Cairngorms to fly around. The radio was working well and so was the plane. As the fuel burnt off the centre of gravity shifts further back. This makes the plane more twitchy and you have to move forward the control column. Thing was, without my parachute, which I normally wear, but there is not much point over water, and there will be no one or nothing to hit where I am going, I lay slightly further back. I was now holding the control column almost with just my fingertips.
Inverness was welcoming. Pretty quiet, but it was a Sunday night. By the time I had parked the plane up outside my friend Pete’s old company, Direct Flight, and dragged everything I needed from the plane, the last bus to town had left and it was only expensive taxis that would pick me up. Town was only 6 miles away and I felt like a walk. An hour later and walking up the main A92 road with traffic belting past, I thought better of it. I did find a reindeer horn though in the wilderness on the way to the road, which cheered me up. My journey was coming alive, putting a smile on my face that I have not had for years. A certain sparkle was happening, something almost spiritual with me. Anyway, on the main road I eventually got the last main road bus to town. I found a B+B, put my bags in my room and went out to have a look round Inverness and its River Ness and castle. I phoned a close friend back at Shenington and we chatted about the fact that indeed I can’t believe I’ve finally got away. A month or two late from endless sleepless nights trying to get the plane ready. But at the end of a fantastically happy and sad first day, quite overwhelmed and emotional, I went back for a shower, which I have not even had time for a few days. And clean and fresh and feeling exhilarated from my jail break, I hit the sack and was out in seconds.
Thought for the day: I can’t believe I’ve broke away from Shenington. Like a prisoner being set free from jail, yet I had committed no crime. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I may feel better about this, but the feeling most felt is just one of relief.