[Updated below: Hawker beaten.] Today, Saturday 24th August, the Catalina Carnival at Oban Airport ran from 10am to 1.30pm. Catalina G-PBYA left for Dublin after 11am this morning, visited yesterday by a host of well wishers, with Council Leader Roddy McCuish above – and seen off this morning by another.
All were celebrating with the Catalina the centenary of Harry Hawker’s August 1913 flight in the first Circuit of Britain Air Race.
Yesterday was the start of the Carnival, with the amphibian doing two flights during the morning and a steady stream of people visiting the inside of the plane all afternoon.
There were food stalls from local producers, craft stalls and local interest stalls such as that from Ardchattan Parish Archive – with report coming in of some very useful new contacts made for information on the history of the parish.
There were Trike Tours, classic cars – and entranced children everywhere. 2013′s requests to Santa are now predictable.
At one point the classic cars lined up under the protective wings of the Catalina – looking as if she’d hatched a prety exotic clutch of chicks.
The marriage of thrill machines, cup cakes, bling and time travelling cast its spell.
This was a memorable and happy family event with lots of smiles and laughter from all ages and with locals and visitors caught up in the fun together.
The weather did a little obligatory drizzle just to remind everyone who the boss is – but was otherwise well behaved .
There was a volume of positive feedback in circulation and there are reports all over facebook of warm responses to the occasion.
This has been very good promotion for Argyll – by dint of the work of enthusiasts and those, like ourselves, supporting unique initiatives in connecting with the endlessly spectacular Argyll. The stuttering and underinforming professsional public relations operation on the overall centenary challenge never managed to take flight as the plane did.
The 2013 pilot, Jeff Boyling, is undertaking this challenging flight in tribute to his fellow Australian pilot, Harry Hawker [who flew a Sopwith biplane] – and to raise funds for the very special Imperial War Museum in Duxford, from where the Catalina took off on Wednesday 21st August, 100 years after Hawker did.
Tom Eddleston, his staff, fellow organisers and the providers of the range of attractions are due hearty congratulations for a well organised and very happy day for many people.
16.30 Update: Boyling beats Hawler
Catalina G-PBYA with Jeff Boyling at the controls, has beaten the distance achieved by Harry Harker one hundred years ago. The Catalina – 30 years younger than Hawker’s Sopwith – made to to the Dublin control point and on to the Cornish one. She arrived in Newquay at around 16.10 today, having taken off from Oban Airport in Argyll at around 11.15 this morning.
She flew over Jura and down the east coast of Islay, heading on to pass over her mark at Garron Point on the NE coast of Ireland arouand 11.50, and turning south there to run down the coast to Dublin, making that control around midday.
For Argyll is indebted to Ardchattan Parish Archive for the photographs and for commentary on the event at the airport, as opposed to the centenary flight. Here is the online tracker to follow G-PBYA.