I recently had to fly just a few hundreds clicks from Manchester to Cornwall. It just makes me appreciate the bliss of domestic air travel. So fast, so efficient. When time is an issue there is no other way to travel, especially as you get to see the quaint , remote little airports that are dotted around the countryside.
Newquay Airstrip above.
Its almost as if we go back in time, to the era when air travel was not that common, and our main airports nowhere near the throbbing size they are today. A time when the security would take you on face value. If they thought you worthy of further investigation then, by their discretion, you and your luggage were escorted away for a private interview … or more …
Isle of Man Airstrip above.
Make no mistake however, the modern day security is very much present at these tiny outposts, and just as serious as in the larger city airports. But there, on the outer rims, they just seem more relaxed, friendly even. More comfortable in their place of work. In fact the last security man I encountered was an Absolute joy! After greeting me with the a highly intimidating glare, he picked up my new hat, which I had placed in a tray beside my jacket. And after checking it thoroughly for gods knows what, he proceeded to put it on his head, above his now very large grin! And as if that wasn`t enough he even complimented me on my new fashion item – The hat was an old fashioned lady’s bonnet by the way ! But how lovely to have a more relaxed approach to our very important security.
To me, landing on the tarmac of a small rural airfield is just so endearing. The air is so much fresher, as there are less engines, and boisterous machinery. Less noise too, and – there are no queues!
Shetland Island Airstrip above.
Usually the planes are smaller too. Maybe 100 seats or so. The atmosphere in the cabin is more tangible. My companion on my flight back to Manchester from Cornwall, was a lovely young gentleman, who was unfortunately a bit of a nervous flyer. So I used my winged experience to help him stay calm and actually enjoy the flight. Which I am happy to say he did !
The airstrip is nothing more than a beach, and its all very weather, and would you believe – tide dependent! Barra you see is at the tail end of the outer Hebridean islands (off the west coast of Scotland). This is where our wildest British weather torments our shores. But I would love to look out of the tiny cabin window at the beach sea and isle, as they become closer and closer. Eventually to land on the very beach right alongside the sea herself.
I love all aeroplanes, big and small. They are the promise of a journey. A vacation, a move, a change. Traveling through the sky so blue, I feel at ease, I imagine the clouds are a land all of their own, soft and pure in their whiteness. And I know that where ever I land, I will have travelled, even just a little.