Neil's Great Scottish Tour For X-Plane 11
By Neil Birch
This book is just for fun and isaimed primarily at the microlight/GA pilots who enjoy exploring thewilderness and like testing their skills. In this book we're going toexplore the wild parts of Scotland and discover areas that not manypeople have really seen, plus there are a few challenging fictionalstrips (ramp starts available). I am going to write it like all myguides in bite-size chunks. The book is written so as to be used inconjunction withOrbx TrueEarth Great Britain North,but can also (possibly) be used with any photographic scenery.However, Orbx also supply most of the AGN, and as Orbx's scenerycovers "ALL" of Scotland including all the islands, it is well worthpurchasing it, plus they drive on the left. In between the flights Iwill also fly you around the islands telling you as much about them aspossible (you can miss these chapters out if you like). I stronglyrecommend you buy or borrow some maps of Scotland so it will give someidea of where we will be going.
We start our journey where mylast guide bookended (Settle-Carlisle Railway Tour) at Carlisle Airport. Volume 1will cover our journey up to the Isle of Skye. I have created a fewfictional airports on the way up as well as dollied up a few realones. There is no need to download any other libraries as they are allincluded in this package. I am cheating and have designed my sceneryusing FSX and Instant Scenery and simply converted it using JonathanHarris's excellent FS2xplane tool, as well as WED for creating theairports. Again I would strongly recommend a good map!
For all my flights I am going to be using the Columban Cri-Cri. Asyou can see from the image above, it looks tiny parked up at CarlisleAirport. Not sure about the pony tail!
Carlisle to Kirkcudbright
"Following the Romans"
As I have already mentioned, I am going to be using theColumban Cri-Cri.I have just discovered this little beauty. It's a single seater so wehave great visibility, two engines for our overseas flying and almostenough instrumentation (could do with a timeclock though). A greatturn of speed with a stall speed of around 50 kt. Well worth themeasly asking price of $15. The Cri-Cri is the smallest twin engineaircraft in the world and comes in both 2 stroke and jet poweredguises. Personally I am waiting for an electric version). Oh...did Imention it's also very aerobatic (in the right hands).
Starting our Adventures at Carlisle Airport
Below is a map of the route. The first leg to Kirkcudbright is 43 nm@ 265°. The second leg to Castle Kennedy is just 31 nm. Use whateveraircraft you wish, just bear in mind many of the strips are grass andshort.
Our first leg will take us to the first of my fictional grassstrips I have created near to the town of Kirkcudbright, but you canif you wish fly straight onto Castle Kennedy airfield in one hit,depending on time. First we head over to Carlisle Airport and choose aGA parking spot. We'll start our tour on June 8th @ 11.00 hrs. Load myCarlisle to Castle Kennedy flight plan, contact tower on 123.6 (notcompulsory) carry out your checks, and set your weather as youlike. For myself, I set visibility to 25 nm which is about right forthe UK most of the time. Next we taxi around to 19.
Half flaps, final check, power up and let's begin. Turn onto trackwhen you reach 200 feet AGL and almost immediately on our left is themassive 18 hole Eden Golf Club. Opened in 1992 it has become a premiergolf course and hosted the British Seniors Championship.
Cruise altitude 2500 feet.
Next we cross the river the golf club is named after, the RiverEden, snaking its way towards the Solway Firth.
Our next waypoint is the M6 Motorway which starts at Birmingham andchanges to the A74M just north of Carlisle, then connecting up withthe M8 motorway just south of Glasgow.
Ahead lies the great city of Carlisle which obviously has its owncastle. After passing over the northern part of the city with thelake district away on our left we pass over the main railway linewhere the Settle to Carlisle railway terminates (another one of myflights and guide books).
Just before the Eden meets the Solway Firth, there is a monument toKing Edward 1st.
King Edward 1st Monument
By Rosser1954 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
He apparently died of dysentery on this spot in February 1307 whileon his way to yet another of his many battles. Edward's body wasbrought south, lying in state at Waltham Abbey, before being buried inWestminster Abbey on 27 October 1307. The Society of Antiquariesopened the tomb in 1774, finding that the body had been well preservedover the preceding 467 years, and took the opportunity to determinethe King's original height of 6' 2" which was tall for the era. Alittle know fact is that Edward 1st in the 13th Century expelled allthe Jews from this country so Hitler wasn't the first.
King Edward 1st Opened Coffin in 1747
The money this guy spent on wars and senseless killing wasabsolutely ridiculous and just like today the peasants paid!
Anyway...back to our flight. If you are on the same heading as me(and I hope you are), if you look out front you can make out a longstraight road. At the side of this road are the remains of Hadrian'sWall. Would you believe this wall is nearly 2000 years old, with workstarting in AD 122 a little further eastwards at Bowness on Solway,and taking a little over 6 years to build. The wall is 68 miles longending at Wallsend over on the east coast of England. It was a massiveundertaking and word has it that the SNP are thinking of re-buildingit (just joking)! You can clearly see the remains of the wall as wefly past.
There are a myriad of old airfields in this part of the country, ifyou look carefully to your left while travelling along, you will seethe RAF station at Great Orton. Opened in 1943 it wasn't really activefor very long, but legend has it you may see the ghost of a Wellingtonor the odd Hurricane taking off.
Just before we reach the coast, on our left are the remains of RAFKirkbride, while ahead are the remains of RAF Anthorn. Constructionbegan at Kirkbride in 1937, with the runways being completed in1941. Being so far north, Kirkbride was never an active airfield assuch and was manned mainly by civilian staff. After the war theairfield became a massive scrap yard for many of the redundantaircraft; at one point there were over 1200 aircraft storedthere. What a gold mine it would be today! The RAF left the airfieldin 1960 but the airfield is still open to GA aircraft.
While RAF Anthorn was not finished until almost the end of the warin Europe (1944)...it did go onto greater things, becoming HMSNuthatch. Whilst not a front-line station, it was used to receivefresh aircraft from the manufactures and modifying them for Royal Navyuse. The base closed in 1958 becoming a VLF Radio Station (excellentlyreproduced by Orbx) and used primarily for communicating withsubmarines. I believe there are also three atomic clocks installed here.
If you look off to your right as you approach Anthorn, you may justcatch sight of a small pier jutting out to sea. This is all thatremains of the 1954 foot long Solway Railway Viaduct. Originally openedin 1869 by the Solway Junction Railway Company, it created a brand newroute into Scotland.
Damaged by the expansion of frost inside some of the pillars in1874 this led to costly repairs (same again in 1881). The First WorldWar saw a rise in trade but fluctuated afterwards, and by 1921 thestructure was deemed unsafe for trains. It was finally closed anddemolished in 1934. Legend has it that after the bridge was closed, itwas still used by trespassing pedestrians from Scotland crossing todrink in English pubs as the Scottish pubs didn't open on a Sunday! Itis also said quite few didn't make the journey back across anddisappeared into the Solway mud forever.
All that remains of the bridge today.
As we fly out into the Firth, if you look left as we leave thecoast you can see the remains of yet another RAF airfield, "Silloth",and being so far from the action it was used to train pilots fromaround the world. It was also used by Coastal Command keeping the sealanes open. It was opened in 1939 and transferred to "Bomber Command"in 1943, operating mainly Wellington bombers. Some of these braveyoung airmen's graves can be seen in the cemetery at St. Paul'sChurch, Causewayhead, just outside Silloth.
After the war, civilian operations took place here, operated byManx Airlines, flying a scheduled service to and from the Isle of Manin 1956.
One sad story during the war is of a young Czech airman called JanVella who arrived here in 1941 and was so well liked by the civilianworkers that when he was posted to another airfield the workersclubbed together and bought him a gold watch which was inscribed onthe back. Three years later while flying down to London to receive theDFC for bravery, his aircraft crashed in the Scottish hills, all fivemen on board were killed. Remarkably in 1973 a young hill walker foundthe remains of the crashed aircraft, and while looking around foundthe back of the watch and although he tried to find information aboutthe man he failed.
He then placed the watch in a drawer where it lay for the next 32years until he saw an an online article on Crashes in the ScottishMountains and came across Jan Vella's name in an article written by ayoung lady called Lindsay Druce. He got in touch with her and in 2006he and Lindsay, along with a small group of people, flew over to Jan'shome town near Prague and presented the watch along with a replica DFCto his daughter, Blazena Husakova-Vellova.
The two images below show Jan Vella's daughter receiving his DFC(replica) and the watch (left), and also Jan Vella himself (right).
As we leave the coast, we have approximately 22 nm miles to fly toKirkcudbright. We (should) reach land over Southerness HolidayVillage, with another large golf course situated next to it.
Our next waypoint is Hestan Island which lies at the mouth of theRiver Urr. Back in the 18th Century the island was very popular withsmugglers who used the many caves to hide their booty, and it'spossible to walk out to the island at low tide.
Right, now time for our landing!
Check your GPS, and as you approach the field, descend down to800-1000 feet aiming for St. Mary's Island in the estuary. You should beable to make out the strip. 16/34, 1228 feet by 164 feet, elevation 8 feet,sloping up slightly to 34.
Fly around the island ahead, whilst slowing down and descending.When making preparations to land, keep an eye on the field. If you areflying the Cri-Cri, remember your landing speed is 55/50 kt and fullflaps.
Well I hope you got down safely.
Okay I'll have a brew and end this chapter here. We can carry onour journey in the next installment.
See you soon!
Materials Needed For This Tour
Orbx TrueEarth Great Britain North
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