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150k from Portsmouth to Dorset

For some time, I have wanted to fly from my mother’s house in Denmead, near Portsmouth, to Cattistock in Dorset, where my parents-in-law live. I needed a light easterly air flow to take me there on my 4-stroke engine and it needed to be a weekend preferably. Last week, the forecast looked perfect and on Saturday 26th September at 11.20am I took off from a damp field near Closewood House, where my mother lives. I needed to fly around the north of Winchester to avoid the Southampton airspace before heading SW towards Fordingbridge, Blandford Forum and then Cattistock.

The visibility was not great but it was just about acceptable. I spent much of the flight at 800 feet mainly because it was cold higher up and I hadn’t put enough clothes on! It was a glorious morning – as I flew over Meonstoke, I saw (Za Rowe) a friend of Mum’s waving, so I waved back but she didn’t see me. Then I flew low, over a huge traffic jam just north of Winchester: I waved at the cars again. Onwards towards Fordingbridge and Blandford where I flew over my old school (Bryanston). That was the highlight; to remember the good old days! I headed on towards Catistock and flew over Milton Abbey which was indeed a striking sight – we used to play them at rugby and I have given some climbing lectures there in the past. I could see the Cerne Abbas Giant carved in a chalk hillside nearby – (meant to be lucky for fertility if one stands underneath it) – before flying over ‘Easters‘ where Anne and Ross were waving. I did a couple of circuits and landed at a private airstrip which belongs to Chalmington Manor. Thank you to David Woodford who greeted me there with his wife. I had done it – Thank you also to my dear wife, Diana, who arrived with little Sebastian more or less at the same time. It had taken me 2 hours and 40 minutes and I had used only 7 litres of fuel on my Bailey 4-stroke 175. What a machine.

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