Flying around Co. Meath

We went flying today, and Yuko brought her camera.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good (for flying or for photography) but Yuko got some good photos nonetheless.

Here we are on the take-off roll, just on the point of leaving the ground.

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Cows don’t pay any attention to aeroplanes.

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Here’s our flight path:

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I decided to fly one circuit to a touch-and-go before flying east towards the coast. A touch-and-go means that you land and then take off again without stopping. This was partly for me to practise landing and partly to get a view of the surrounding area from circuit height (1000 feet) before deciding whether to continue the flight.

This was the (very unpromising) view towards the coastline to the east. The cloud base was around 1500 to 2000 feet, but visibility was generally poor.

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A short distance to the north, conditions were even more murky, which caused me some anxiety later in the flight on the way back to the field, as I considered the possibility that we may have to divert to another airfield if weather conditions at Navan deteriorated.

Flying east along the Boyne, we made a loop around Newgrange, a 5,000-year-old prehistoric tomb, older than the Pyramids.

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This is the town of Drogheda, looking east towards the mouth of the River Boyne. The railway crosses the river on the Boyne Viaduct, whose monumental stone arches and iron truss central span date from the 1850s.

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The little fishing harbour of Clogherhead.

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Waves racing towards the beach….

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…and breaking on the rocky coastline.

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Some rays of sunshine broke through the cloud layer.

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My intention was to fly down the coast as far as the Skerries Islands and Rockabill. These islands are just outside the Dublin control area. As long as you remain outside controlled airspace (in Class G airspace), you are not legally required to talk to anyone on the radio (or even to have a radio). However it is good practice to talk to ATC and let them know where you are and what you are doing.

In the end we didn’t go that far. The weather was a bit rough and there were showers of rain, so the prudent choice was to turn back to land and head for home. Coasting in near Balbriggan, you can see the mouth of the River Delvin, marking the boundary between Dublin and Meath:

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On the way back to Navan, Yuko took some beautiful pictures of Stackallen House, one of Ireland’s finest 18th-century houses. Check out the formal gardens!

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All in all, flying in these conditions isn’t a wholely enjoyable experience, and there were a few anxious moments, but we arrived back on the ground safely and home in time for lunch!

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7 thoughts on “Flying around Co. Meath

  1. Excellent , I particularly like the ones of Stackallen House & gardens, where exactly is that, Dara? But my favourite is the waves rushing to the shore. Brilliant.

    1. Thank you Eileen. It’s a credit to Yuko (and her camera) that she was able to get such nice photos. Imagine what that would look like on a sunny day!

      Stackallen House is at N53 41.800 W6 36.800, about 6 km north-east of Navan town. It is the home of the Naughton family that own Glen Dimplex. It’s really fabulous, isn’t it? Unfortunately it’s private and you can’t visit unless you become friendly with the family.

  2. I notice you skimmed over ‘a few anxious moments’ without further elaboration. That could have formed the most gripping part of your whole account. But the main thing is you’re back safely on the ground and by all accounts out hunting for wild mushrooms this Sunday morning. Although which is the safer activity might be open to debate.

    1. Yes, I deliberately skimmed over that bit. Let’s just say pilot error was involved and leave it at that.

      I will however share a story that happened 9 years ago, when I was a student pilot at Weston and flying in the circuit with an instructor. When it came to time to pull the carburettor heat on, I pulled the mixture control instead, and stopped the engine. When you are flying a plane, the sound of silence is not what you want to hear. In fact, it is terrifying. As the plane turned into a glider and we started to lose height, I scanned frantically to see what was wrong, and pushed the mixture control back in. The engine restarted. That’s the kind of mistake you only make once.

      The mistake I made yesterday morning is, similarly, a mistake which I do not intend to repeat.

    1. Thanks Vy. There’s an old joke (with a lot of truth in it): “How do you know if someone at the party has a pilot’s licence?” “He’ll tell you.” Well, I don’t want to be that pilot! Anyway, it’s something I missed while in Japan and then for various reasons it took me a few months to get back in the air after I came back to Ireland. This time of year isn’t great for flying but when the weather improves I’ll post more pictures and maybe write about some aspect of flying if there is something that I think might interest people.

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