RAF Scampton, Linconshire, UK 14 February 1999
As I passed through the security checkpoint, it was obvious that today would be another grey day! Driving through the deserted airfield buildings, I half expect to see Steed and Mrs. Peel, as this place is straight out of the Avengers (you must remember all the desolate airfield sets?)
Chris Croft’s ‘buggy support vehicle’, was already parked, as I pull up, and with him is Barry, buggy builder extraordinare, all the way up from Kent! Chris wasn’t feeling too good, as yesterday he had crashed through the ceiling, from a bathroom to the kitchen, while at work. He’d bruised his ribs pretty bad, but was otherwise unscathed!
Next to arrive was Rodger Aldridge, and we begin to kit up. The wind was fair, but pretty nippy, so out come the fleece hat, Gore-tex jacket, and gloves.
I set up my Mirage 2m and Predator 3m, and decide to get the feel of the wind, with my Mirage. The wind was blowing straight down the main runway, which is a bit of a bugger, as it takes a hell of a lot of tacking to get up to the wind sock, but who’s complaining!
More folks are arriving by the minute, so I pull up for a hot coffee, and a chat. It’s raining and it’s only 10:30. People are out buggying, but I decide to see if the rain’s going to stop, and stay in the car.
45 min later and the rain’s passed. Gary Neal and Garry Box have arrived, and a bit later Matt Hurrell and Dave Roberts also turn up. Garry Box wants to go round the perimeter, anti-clockwise. I team up with him, and we set off. We never normally go anti-clockwise, because it’s a tough trip to make, but this first half is going OK.
Ready! Turn across the wind at the bottom of the runway, and feel the power kickin!! What’s wrong with Garry??? I pull up along side. “The right footpeg’s bust, and the front wheel bearing just seized,” said Garry. Terminal stuff! So I leave him to take the “long walk”, and I set off into the wind.
Hell’s bells, I’m just about managing to keep up a ‘brisk walking pace’. This was going to take some time! Garry had already made it back to camp, when I rolled in. “I think I’ll stick to going clockwise,” I muttered, as I had another coffee.
By now a group of us were ready for a clockwise trip. I decided to change to the Predator, as the wind had dropped a little. I cheat, and set off early, to gain a head start. I’m nearly halfway round before they catch me up. The upwind leg is far less work than earlier.
At 3:00 p.m., drizzle sets in. Gary Neal had invited me home for Tea, along with Chris, Barry, Matt and Dave. So we packed up and set off at 4:00 p.m.
Not only does Diane make “Cakes”, we were presented with Lasagne, Curry, and a Chili to chose from. I admit I had some of everything, well too much really!
Thanks Diane. You made a cold hungry man, very happy!