Yesterday we spent the day on CAD East where we watched RAF Hawks and Texans going through the loop. Today we were back on the Bwlch, the viewing point where we have spent the most time on all our visits. The Bwlch’s car park had been full when we had passed the day before so we made sure to leave even earlier this morning.
Day 3 Thursday 14th July 2022 – the Bwlch
When we arrived at the Bwlch’s car park there were only two other cars there. After our climb we later looked down and the car park was now jammed.
Looking up the valley we waited for the first plane.
RAF Hercules at 9:32 am
This morning we had had plenty of warning to set the speed of our cameras down from fast jet to a propeller driven plane.
By now we had been joined by 8 or 9 more photographers. two of whom were also staying at the Red Lion. We learnt that special planes were expected in the morning from Lakenheath. The plan was for them to go through the loop and then head up to RAF Fairford for RIAT.
F15E Strike Eagle at 10:40 am
As promised the two display fighters from the USAF at RIAT came towards us.
I was concentrating so much on the following F35A pass the Bwlch that I missed anymore shots of the Strike Eagle…
F35A Lightning II at 10:40 am
I have to admit that I did a lot of celebrating at seeing my first F35A in the loop.
However, I did miss better images of the decorated F15E as it banked below us
F15E Strike Eagle at 10:43 am
Then the pair came through again – this time the Lightning was even closer to the Strike Eagle.
F35A Lightning II at 10:43 am
Late morning on the Bwlch
It was cold and windy while we waited for any more action. Below us we watched a group of hikers making their way down the mountain side to the pass.
Away from the wind they looked to be dressed for Summer unlike us!
Lunch was our usual excellent sandwiches from the Red Lion plus lots of tea from my flask.
USAF Osprey at 12:49 pm
Then a USAF Osprey came through – definitely my lucky day!
Afternoon and evening
That was that – no more aircraft. We watched the traffic, the birds and became colder and colder!
On our way back to the Red Lion we stopped to check out the viewing spot Bluebell, which is a promontory of rock above the main road.
For the record dinner at the Red Lion is always excellent!
On our last day we decided to forego visits to the Loop but instead explore some of the recommended locations in my excellent North Wales guidebook. Then we planned to set off for RIAT via an overnight stay near to Worcester.