Saturday, 17 April 2021

Treasure those Memories … part 11 … North coast road to Perranporth Gliding Club …

 

Back in the day early 1960s … my grandfather and ‘Muddy’ of Muddy Label (Mary – who used pre-War to work as a retainer for my grandfather’s family) would go up to the Gliding Club – that he’d been a founding member of in the 1950s.



 

Some of my booklets ... 
Mary loved life, she with the one eye, … now when I started gliding she was looking after my grandparents in Carbis Bay – they’d built a bungalow for her in the grounds … she was delighted and so pleased to be included … and loved seeing any of us family from up-country …

 

 My first course, aged 15 – my parents, that year had rented a cottage near Falmouth so the family could learn to sail – not me, I was not at all keen … I preferred being up in the air, dropped me off in Perranporth – where I stayed at a B+B for the week – and people looked after me …

 

 

Copy taken from their site
… a chap, on the course, had a motorbike drove me up and down every day, another couple took pity on me one evening and fed me too many Cointreaus … I slept well – actually I flew all night too!!   

 

 

My second course – I could drive, but not legally on the roads – so my parents drove over and I had a car for the week … and they’d come back and pick me up … the logistics seem a bit strange – so not exactly sure – except I had a car at the gliding club – and as it was a privately owned … I could practise … so perhaps I had another B+B … but I enjoyed the freedom of driving around the airfield between flights.

 

 

Perranporth - the Gliding Club
is up the hill behind here!
Finally I could drive up from Carbis Bay – a beautiful route on the back roads – i.e. the minor coast road … through the Cornish fields – wonderful memories … the English countryside is just beautiful – sun out … long evenings … counting the magpies …

 

We used to fly up over these ... to ridge
soar ... and then back to land!
… then drive back to waiting family and ‘Muddy’ – who knowing the girl would be exhausted – from the fresh air – 10 hours+ of it … is wearying … especially with all the other things going on … flying, interacting, collecting the gliders as they landed – it was hands-on ‘work’ … push them back … find the cable … and bring that back – by truck or car …

 

 

It was basic – we were towed up by a truck or car at that stage – no aero-flights or winching launches … straight up over those cliffs – unless the cable broke when a rapid adjustment was made – to preferably land back at the launch point …

 

 

T 31 Glider (1961)
… if not … make any necessary ‘S’ bends and land back before the end of the runway!! to be towed back … the wings always needed to be held up, when transporting or launching … it was hands on.  We couldn’t use the fields: they were farmed – we had to land on the runways …

 

 

I am hungry now!
One memorable day – I came home … what would I like to eat … complete blank! … but then ‘Muddy’ (bless her) suggested an omelette … making me a wonderful fluffy omelette – not something we tended to do … so I’ll always remember her herby pluffed up omelette – delicious.  Funny how we remember somethings …

 

 

I had to get up early for another day’s gliding – so I was very happy for an earlyish night with a full tummy … after lots of chat in the kitchen, while it was being made and I happily ate it all up …

 

Converted Wheal
House into a B+B
Porthtowan
A friend here was going down last year – before the lockout completely kicked in – but they managed a week and I think were staying in this Wheal Engine House … and she’s now able to relive her visit – enjoyed through my posts …

 

 

The gliding club closed down, but has been revived as a Flying Club …

 

 

Looking down at the runways
Most of the flights were 2 – 6 minutes … two were very short … I had a few longer ones … maximum 40 minutes … most were adrenalin rushes …

 



 

One page of my log book entries
… I did manage to go solo at 16, the earliest age, it was a bit of ‘touch wood’ as the weather wasn’t very kind – and we had to wait for it to be kind enough for me!  The first three flights had to be with both a right and a left turn … I forgot – so had two right turns marked up – to be reprimanded that next time I needed to turn left!

 

 

Cornish Fields - wonderful to drive through
Happy days … a rush post – so a bit gabby … I’ve been interested and intrigued with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral … I do love our historical heritage and seeing our understated ways …

 



Another map of West Penwith
St Ives ... up the coast to just about
where the map stops is Perranporth


 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


28 comments:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Grand memories, made very real by the breathless way in which you've recounted them.

Elephant's Child said...

You were a glider? Wow. I never knew.
I do love your memories and am sure that the herb plumped omelette hit the spot. Perfectly.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Now I am a bit envious... I adore being in the air and would have given anything to have flying lessons - or gliders!!! YAM xx

Anabel Marsh said...

You are a woman of many talents!

Joanne said...

You are full of surprises. I bet that was all quite a rush as a kid. So glad you had such experiences and are telling us now. I think I'd have trouble concentrating on the flying - I'd want to hang over the edge and look at that lovely scenery. Nothing better than an omelet when "starving" after a day of fresh air. Quite the adventures - neat!

Botanist said...

Solo flights at 16? That's quite an achievement. And straight up and over the cliffs doesn't leave much room for error!

Liz A. said...

That sounds like quite the fun memory.

Ann Bennett said...

Wow, what a wonderful time you had. One day, I'm coming to England. I imagine I will be on a big tour bus. But I would love to see some of the country.

Janie Junebug said...

I don't believe I knew about you gliding. I love the way you write about it--so excited and thrilled to be up in the air. How did Mary happen to have one eye?

Love,
Janie

Pradeep Nair said...

O, wow! ... You used to glide? Lovely. I am sure it must be a great experience to be up there floating in the air surveying the vast expanse below!

Vallypee said...

How lovely that you used to glide! What a special memory that must have been to re-live, Hilary. It's something I would love to do as well. There's a gliding club near here and they use winches. It still looks quite basic, but great fun. It's something I've promised myself when Covid allows. Your photos of the scenery you flew over are lovely!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John – thanks … I’ve been somewhat distracted and so cobbled the post together … but at least you brought that part to life for me and perhaps others …

@ EC – yes: only about 5 courses over 8 years and I never pursued it … still it’s worth recording and remembering; that omelette was absolutely delicious … I don’t make them for myself – not sure why …

@ Yam – oh sorreeee … well perhaps you still can – after this present situation is over … they do do ‘trip’ flights … gliders, or small planes – I hope you can satisfy your wishes.

@ Anabel – not really … I was lucky with Grandpa going up there – they encouraged me …

@ Joanne – it was certainly an experience in many ways – the motorbike – didn’t enjoy that! Then staying away in a B&B by myself … In the gliders I flew in – you couldn’t help but see what’s around you … we weren’t very high up … often only 400 feet – making for a quick loop.
The omelette has lingered in my mind all these years … and the fun return to family …

@ Ian – yes I flew, before I could drive on the road … odd, but true. I must say those cliffs were pretty daunting – but ridge soaring was special – up and down the cliff edge …

@ Liz – thanks … they were great days

@ Ann – thanks for visit – those early days were great fun and learning experiences …
I do hope you get over here sometime … when travelling is easier – certainly going by coach makes life easier to see places.

@ Janie – I don’t mention it very often … but it was a Cornish experience for a few years. They were tremendous experiences … I loved having the opportunity and now those memories.
Mary’s eye – I’ve no idea – it must have been a War accident of some sort, or perhaps a pre-War estate ‘industrial’ accident of some kind … I don’t know … those were the days, when it was rude to ask … and then of course we were used to it – so Mary was just Mary …

@ Pradeep – yes … I was very lucky … and Cornwall is a wonderful place to glide above – even if most of the trips were very short … we hardly floated! Lots to do – to keep the wind in place and thus us up in the air …

@ Val – thanks … I remember those days with happy spirits. Oh wonderful – I’ll be delighted to read about your foray into the gliding world … so pleased there’s a club nearby – oh yes the winch will just make life easier and get you a little higher. On the good days, when the air is clear and one can see up and down the coast … it is stunning – as too seeing the cliffs and stormy sea below.

Thanks to you all … so pleased to read your comments – it’s an episode in my life that I’ll never forget. I do hope some of you will take the opportunity to give yourselves a try – a great thing to have experienced … cheers Hilary

Hels said...

The Wheal Engine House looked amazing! Do we know what the building was built for? And when it was first built?

Keith's Ramblings said...

Well, that came as a surprise! Living so close to Beachy Head nowadays, I'd have thought you'd have donned a pair of wings and launched yourself from there! Were you not tempted to become a professional pilot? More delightful memories Hilary.

Jacqui Murray said...

Amazing times, those. A friend (GP Cox) wrote about gliders during WWEII, and now you with gliders in the 60's. I ran into them in the early 70's and thought them new! Thanks for the context.

mail4rosey said...

It is the wonderful memories of childhood that make nostalgia so nice. I feel for the queen. That was a lot of years, and I am sure the queen feels her husband's loss dearly.

Mason Canyon said...

I love to fly in any thing but have never been in a glider. It sounds amazing. Such wonderful memories.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Hilary: I am racing along with you in this fast-paced and exciting account of your past. I didn't know you were involved with gliding, but it does not surprise me one bit! I bet you were as adventurous then, willing to have a go at anything, as you are now. The passage of years has not slowed you down. As always, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Hugs from Ontario. David

Inger said...

Wow, Hilary, you had some adventures in the air. Something I never could enjoy. My only time in a small plane was when a friend of my roommate took my dad in a one-engine plane from Princeton to New York. Landing at JFK in a tiny plane. So scared. Then having to fly back home. I never did it again.

But you had a great time and I learned something new about you. It's such fun to read about your adventures. You know I'm posting my young life too on my blog. At a very slow pace, I'm only at age two!! Looking of pictures from the following years today.

Rhodesia said...

Wow Hilary, you are full of surprises, flying solo in a glider at 16. I have never been up in a glider, but when in Rhodesia and we were on a country farm I did fly fairly often in a four-seater which is the smallest plane I have ever been up in.
You have some magical childhood memories and I am enjoying every one of them.

I hope all is well over there and you are keeping safe. Maybe things will start to improve very soon. Tale care, cheers Diane

Deborah Weber said...

This post absolutely delights me. I always dreamed of gliding, but don't know of anyone who actually has. Well, you've changed that. :-) What wonderful memories!

diedre Knight said...

You are the second of only two brave women I've ever known to enjoy flying! How fascinating. Does "touch wood" mean the same as "Knock on wood" means here in the states? I'd love to stay at the converted Wheat House!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Wow, how wonderful and wonderfully exciting! Cornwall looks even more gorgeous in aerial view.

I saw the highlights of the funeral, very moving.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hels – there are many of these mining houses across Cornwall – for the early tin, copper, silver mines … which held the machinery for the very early steam engines. They would have been built in the late 1700s/very early 1800s …

@ Keith – I’ve certainly thought about Firle Beacon as a lift off point … but not for me today. Earlier yes I’d thought about doing more, even perhaps buying a motorised glider back in the 1960s … but never got there – life wasn’t that easy … so just enjoyed those early air forays in a beautiful Cornish setting.

@ Jacqui – oh right – I must look up GP Cox’s blog to check out about gliding. Oddly gliders were first used back in the mid 1800s – then over the years became more sophisticated. The ones I flew in were very basic … until a more modern one was bought.

@ Rosey – thank you … I’m enjoying the comments I get to my simple memories. Yes – very difficult for the Queen … while her birthday is this week, and then the Opening of Parliament on 11th May … it was a very moving Service.

@ Mason – yes I love flying too … and does provide me with lots of happy times to think about …

@ David – it was years ago … and only really because my step-grandfather founded the club and they’d spend quite a lot of time up there in the late 1950s. I was fortunate and given my head to have various opportunities – but I still felt and feel … I didn’t do as much as I could have done – I jumped in at times!

I’ve always enjoyed ‘seeing what’s out there’ to experience. The passage of years left me single and open to change of life … but home always drew me back in.

@ Inger – thank you … as a child or young lady one takes opportunities – which I did. I’d have liked to have done more … but there were boundaries around. I’ve enjoyed my small plane trips too … I’m sorry you felt witless in your one and only flight …

I loved my gliding days … they were eye opening … I’ve been noting that you’re posting about your early days – and that you’re doing yours as you age – I’m going to enjoy reading them and snippets about Stockholm.

@ Diane – well – I’d loved to have ridden horses like you did … but we never got on! Yes, Africa is a wonderful place for small planes – I had a few flights in those too …
Thank you for enjoying these memories and letting me bring back some memories for you – your small plane trips above Rhodesia/Zimbabwe …

@ Deborah – so delighted to read your comment – well yes here is one glider pilot from long ago … so I’m so pleased I’ve stirred your thoughts …

@ Diedre – it was great fun … I guess it’s taking the opportunity if it’s there – and at 15 onwards it was all new to me … my first time away from the family etc.
Yes Touch Wood and Knock on Wood seem to imply the same … that Wheal House does look like an amazing place to stay doesn’t it – I know my friend here thoroughly her time there …

@ Nila – yes all those things – Cornwall is staggeringly beautiful – as are so many parts of our little island.
I agree the funeral service was special – simple, down to earth, yet Royal as it needed to be …

Thanks so much to you all – I’m delighted to read you’re all so enjoying these posts … at last it’s warming up here … cheers Hilary

H.R. Sinclair said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I connected with the funny thing we remember. I have some of those too, where the event was so amazing but one little detail -- a seemingly innocuous thing -- stands out.

Sandra Cox said...

How cool! And how lovely they built Mary a bungalow.

Silvia Writes said...

Wow, very impressed Hilary. What a great initiative and I bet a sense of freedom. My hats off to you, I couldn't do it.
Thank you for sharing this. Enjoyed reading the post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - thank you ... it's all part of my young days down in Carbis Bay - the location of the G7 Summit in June this year - yes all those little memories bring back lots more ...

@ Sandra - it was a wonderful time ... and yes I'm glad that Mary had somewhere to live ... she was so helpful - as we were always happy to see her.

@ Silvia - thank you ... it was fun - and easy to give it a go ... as my grandfather was there - then the members would look after me - I was very fortunate to be able to experience these delightful times ...

Thanks so much for reading and enjoying my flights et al ... all the best - Hilary