The Magnificent Mach Loop Part 1

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USAF F15E Through Cad East

Disclaimer/Health and Wealth Warning.

If you go further than this line and find yourself reaching for a camera and heading to the mountains of Wales, the author takes no responsibility for any subsequent  Loss of wealth, Large credit card bills and Marital Discord that this hobby ( addiction ) causes. You have been WARNED!

Back in early 2010 I was innocently looking through Flickr when I came across some amazing Low Level Military Aircraft shots. I was blown away by how close the aircraft were in the shots and the amazing backdrops of the beautiful Snowdonia mountains. I noticed they were tagged with “Mach Loop”. So I typed Mach Loop in the Flickr search and found even more amazing shots. Also seeing the tags “Wales” I thought “hmm I wonder how far away from me this place is” Time to hit Google and see what I can find out. I found that the Mach Loop was a little over 40 miles away, But even more importantly I found videos on YouTube. ( If you enjoy this video please go and have a look at Elwyn’s channel and like and subscribe Thanks )

Having watched the videos I knew I had to go and check this out for myself. So early one morning I threw my camera gear in my rucksack along with a flask and some sandwiches and headed for the mountains. I had decided for my first trip to head for “The Bwlch” and found the carpark with ease. As I got out and looked up at the mountain a young man offered to walk up with me and show me the place they call middle shelf. Over the style and across the field we went but once we got to the mountain my young “Helper” Turned into a mountain goat and shot up the hillside leaving a very red, out of breath old man ready to lie down and die immediately. So not wanting to slow him down but also in self preservation mode I said for him to go ahead as ” I am sure I will find it ok ”


RAF Typhoon

That was my first error. I followed the path up and up, only pausing to breath and to allow my now jelly legs to get some stability back into them. But there was no sign of my friend the mountain goat or any other people on the hill. As I looked forlornly around I noticed way down below me someone waving frantically. I had walked up way too high so thankfully I walked back down the hill and found Higher and then middle shelf on the Bwlch. After a little bit of banter about my diversion there was a rumble and the shout went up “Incoming” And around the corner came an RAF Bae Hawk T1


Ok confession time the above image was not taken that morning. What happened after that “Incoming” shout was not a pretty sight. I grabbed my camera and pulled it to my eye, It was all dark??? Why was it dark?? I had left the lens cap on. Pulls it off and promptly drops said cap which then heads rapidly down hill towards the carpark. So frantically tries again I can see the aircraft with my eyes why can’t I find it with my 300mm?? Ah there it is, click, Nice picture of the tail, Click, Lovely picture of the tip of the wing, CLICK! Beautiful landscape photograph NO PLANE!! What the????? Slow down Damn YOU!!! I want one picture CLICK!!! Lovely Blurred photo of Aircraft disappearing into the distance. As engine noise disappears my fellow togs look at the back of their cameras at their pristine shots and show each other their images. I want the earth to swallow me and deny all knowledge of having any sort of camera with me. You would think with this experience I would want to put my camera back in the bag head down the mountain, drive home and promise to myself never to do anything this silly ever again. But no, not one bit of it, I cannot even begin to tell you the rush of adrenaline at seeing these very skilled pilots manoeuvring their aircraft at speed through the valleys of Snowdonia. I was hooked.

Llangollen Outdoors--3

RAF Harrier

To Be Continued.


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