I leapt at the opportunity to get close to an RAF F4 Phantom II when the Timeline Events photo shoot was advertised. The event was at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk. I then decided that an overnight stay was needed rather than driving back after the shoot. This would also allow me to call in Colchester at my university there on the way home.
I left mid morning and had planned a route that would take me through the Dartford Tunnel and then onto the A12 and the A14. As it was a Sunday there were no queues on the approach to the tunnel and I was soon on the A12. This road could definitely do with some TLC as the carriageway was littered with potholes as I came up to Colchester. My sat-nav then determined that I should leave the A roads and take a more direct route through the back roads. I stuck with the A12 and the A14.
The Beacon Hill Travelodge that I had booked was were I left the A14 for Wattisham Airfield.
I called to double check that I could have a late check-in at the Travelodge after the shoot. Across the car park was what once had been a Little Chef. The next door Burger King had to be the smallest that I have ever visited, with only a handful of tables for eat-in customers. The burger that I had for lunch was OK though!
To finish my journey I now was reliant on the sat nav as I left the A14 and headed off into Suffolk! There was one particularly interesting turn under a low bridge to a blind T junction.
I arrived early at the airfield and had to show my passport to the guard who had a sentry with a rifle standing a few yards behind. Clearly this was a working airfield. I was the second to arrive and was instructed to park and to wait.
Wattisham Airfield is the home of the Army’s Apache Longbow attack helicopters.
To the Hardened Aircraft Shelter(HAS)
The shoot was to be at the Wattisham Station Heritage Museum’s workshop which was in a disused Hardened Aircraft Shelter.
Once the majority of attendees had arrived we were asked to follow cars of the museum volunteers around the airfield to the museum’s HAS. I gave a lift to three other attendees. We passed the large hangars and headed out to the North side of the airfield. We parked next to one of the HAS that looked to be the home of the local glider club and walked to the neighbouring HAS.
We were briefed on where the loos were, the order of planned shoots and most important of all where we could get warm drinks from the museum’s volunteers.