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Mid-crossing and tuned into Scottish Information, we heard a lone helicopter Pilot with a worried tone of voice asking if the conditions were any worse further North ?

“Standby” they replied.

1 minute later the ATC controller read off the latest TAFs (aerodrome forecasts) and current conditions for every airfield in the local area the helicopter pilot could have ever wished for. It was encouraging to hear them go out on a limb to help him. It was also useful for us, as diverting to East Fortune if it had got any hazier had not completely left my list of options.

Wispy low-level mist had started to form in the valleys below as we passed Bamburgh castle, rising dramatically above the coastline. Brunton With 30 minutes of daylight left, we landed at Brunton to nil wind, admiring the skydivers as they piled out of their plane in formation for the last jump of the night.

George, the skydiving Chief Drop Zone instructor let me use his Internet connection and the forecast for Saturday was not good. The predictions on the Met Office site were for a windy 30 knots, and it was already starting to get stronger as I read the report. We were relieved to have tied the wing down in the lee of a portacabin.

TINGWALL – DORNOCH : 11:30 – 14:30
DORNOCH – INSCH : 15:00 – 16:00
INSCH – BRUNTON – 18:30 – 20:00
TOTAL FLYING: 5hr 30 mins

We deliberated for an hour before deciding to scrap flying for the day and go and visit Alnwick Castle, staying in the town for the night.

Blue skies smiled on us for what would be the last leg home. With some battle scars from the trip including a small crack in the wheel spat, we set off for Caunton in Nottingham, the home of my Pegasus Dealer.

It was never going to be a smooth ride on the last leg home. We had been extremely fortunate with the weather and it was a blustery 15-20 knots - but at least it was a tailwind. Heading south, we were achieving a hands off trim speed of 96MPH as Newcastle airport gave us permission to transit through their airspace.

Teeside also allowed us through, and asked me to call in sight of the field. 3 miles away it became visible out of the gloom.

“G-AZ, field in sight.”

“G-AZ, reporting passing river Tees”

We were asked to track west of the runway, and as we passed, an airliner took off heading east out over the sea.

A bumpy 2 ½ hours and just over 200 miles later, we arrived at Caunton with a motor glider hovering overhead ??????
of the newly installed clubhouse.

For the final 45 minutes to our home strip, we were still being pushed along by the wind. The rape seed crop had grown noticeably in the last week since we had left, and approached overhead. The ripples on the local reservoir showed there was still some activity at ground level and I took a final look at the cloud formations above.

It seemed difficult to imagine that we had arrived home, 550 miles from Shetland. We covered over 1200 miles with only 3 non-flying days. Looking back, three things stand out about the trip. Gigha, the warm reception we received by everyone, and the inhospitable sea.

BRUNTON – CAUNTON : 15:30–17:30

TOTAL FLYING: 20hr 35 mins

Don't forget... you can find a large selection of pictures from the trip in the Pictures section.

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