Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday 11 October 2015

Final farewell - XH558 "The Spirit of Great Britain"

All day Friday, when I wasn't thinking about the sad loss of Tony Harman and if what I had written being good enough? The guys at work were speaking about the Final Tour of the Vulcan Bomber. The southern leg being planned for Sunday 11th October; the route had been confirmed, and included Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington, Manston, Dover and Ashford, but no flight times, due to weather constraints. All that I could glean was XH558 was due to leave Doncaster "around" lunch-time?
With Emily staying, overnight, there was a morning trip across to Staple for an hour, or so, in the park and a walk to look for grasshoppers and stroke the horses. We made it back home, via a stop at Dad's, just after mid-day. A check of the Vulcan to the Skies website revealed that the plan was for XH558 to be airborne at 13.00 hrs - so it would be at Manston around 50 minutes later. I had, therefore, little over 90 minutes to get Emily home and myself in position for a final glimpse of this iconic piece of Great British aviation history.

This is straight off the back of the camera - a simply magnificent piece of our aviation heritage
Everything went according to plan and I had positioned myself on the embankment by the round-a-bout which lies just west of Cliffsend and Jentex, thus looking north across Manston airfield. Just after 13.47 hrs - there she was. So low that the roadside street lights became an obstacle to getting a photo! It was all over in less than 30 seconds and this awesome machine disappeared into the haze, vapour trail billowing in the wind. I can't understand why such an integral piece of our heritage is now stopped from flying? I know that there is a political unwillingness to preserve, what is, our "Cold War" nuclear bomb carrier - yet we still keep the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in airworthy condition, and those planes are over 70 years old.

Banking steeply as she departs south, headed for Dover
Very little else to report, on this, my 500th post! The overnight moths included 2 Diamond-backs, 1 Rush Veneer and 2 Silver Y, so these easterly winds are still assisting some insect migration. Five Swallows skimmed south, over the recently harvested maize field and I noted six Common Buzzards whilst I was awaiting the arrival of the Vulcan. It's been a funny sort of weekend - in a weird way!


  1. Great sight wasn't it Dylan. We were on the beach at Shellness, Sheppey and the plane came straight towards us across Harty marshes, over our heads and sped off towards Herne bay - absolutely fantastic!

    1. There are very few words that I could add - it is quite simply one of the most spectacular things I've ever been privileged to witness! - I'm at a loss to understand why my grandchildren won't be able to enjoy this same experience? The BoBMF will still be flying well into the next decade. - Dyl