“I feel the need…the need for speed!!!”

If that phrase conjures up something for you then I guess you might know where this is heading.  No, not to Miramar in Southern California but to someplace altogether different.  I’m referring to the Mach Loop in North Wales.  A particularly challenging yet visually stunning landscape used to help train British pilots as well as those in Allied forces.

The Mach Loop is set of valleys between Dolgellau and Machynlleth (hence the name ‘Mach’ loop but I like to think of it romantically like Mach as in speed).  This was yet another trip taken with my awesome photographer colleagues (we refer to ourselves as the Monster Men) in 2013.  After a few days of some serious hiking 2 of our group wanted to round it off with a climb up Snowdon.  Myself and Duncan decided we would try CAD West, a particular location on the Mach Loop famous for low flying planes where with the help of a little bit of a climb we could practically see right into the cockpits of passing aircraft.

It’s always pot luck if a plane will come by.  There are some rotas posted but they don’t guarantee fly bys.  So we took our chances, climbed the hill and waited.  We were lucky enough to meet other ‘enthusiasts’ (I won’t say anoraks), one of which had a radio scanner and a background in flying fighter jets.  So he was pretty confident from radio chatter that a fly by was eminent.  He wasn’t wrong.  Its like it was done for me when a US F (something or another) went whizzing by (I didn’t say I was an anorak).  I let out the loudest most involuntary ‘yeeeehaaaa’ you’ve ever heard.  There might have been some expletives as well.  It all happens so fast, so loud, so close.  The adrenaline rush for me as stratospheric.  I highly recommend it.  There is loads of information on the internet about Mach Loop and CAD West.

Ironically though, my actual submission to the landscape challenge doesn’t include aircraft.  But as with other posts there are more images than the one I submitted.  You can guess what is included in those!

First, my Landscape Challenge Day 4 selection is:

Here are some additional images from the Mach Loop: