What kind of a weekend involves getting away to another beach, beautiful aircraft in the skies and great company? The best kind.
Given the fact the Bournemouth is but a stones throw from the Isle of wight, it’s surprising to most that despite being an aviation enthusiast (or ‘AvGeek’) I’ve never actually attended the annual air festival. When the idea was sprung on me at the last minute it didn’t exactly take long for me agree and squeal inside with excitement.
This years show was a very special one indeed too, as it would be XH558 – the last flying Avro Vulcan’s last ever appearance.
After a short drive we arrived in Bournemouth and had a little wander around town before the displays started. We had a quick pit stop in Caffè Nero to rest my little legs ready for what would be one hell of a trekking day, I had my favourite Italian Iced Lemonade.
It was starting to get very hot already, I wished that lemonade had lasted forever! I had pondered over the idea of wearing my bikini top under my vest so if it got too much I could just hulk out of it and cool down, we were at the beach after all! I decided against it, not even packing it, and by mid afternoon I realised I had made a massive mistake. Luckily I didn’t get sun stroke though.
Top – Topshop, Shorts – Hollister
The crowds were insane. I don’t do so well in crowds, I think it comes from being 5’3″, but it wasn’t so bad and there was such a great atmosphere.
This Chinook was bonkers! The manoeuvres it was doing amazed me, the pictures I managed to get on my little vlogging camera really don’t do it, or any other of the aircraft, justice.
The beautiful Sally B, more pictures of her later in the post!
La Patrouille REVA, French aerobatic display team.
A few army vehicles were dotted around the beach. Huge trucks are always a bonus!
I also found a little tank and wanted to take it home.
Little did we know that we were in for a massive treat on the Saturday. Due to crowd numbers and safety, the Vulcan could only do a fly past Saturday and then do her display on the Sunday. Well I don’t know if word had got to the Vulcan team about the impending weather coming on Sunday, or the pilot was just awesome and milked the opportunity for all it’s worth, but we actually got a mini display from her!! I didn’t take any pictures, knowing that there was the very real possibility that her display could be called off the next day I just watched her with a little tear in my eye as it could be the last time I see her.
It was a fantastic first day, all of the aircraft and display teams were brilliant including the Red Arrows despite being one man down after he had to turn back due to a fault with his aircraft.
We decided to head back to the hotel as the rain was on it’s way and by then we needed a rest before heading out to dinner at The Funki Griller. We were able to watch the Typhoon from our sea view room just before the rain hit.
Dress – New Look, Shoes – New Look, Bag – Accessorize, Necklace – Tiffany & Co.
On with the food!
Scallops, steak and ribs!
I can’t tell you just how good this food was. Eating here whenever I’m in Bournemouth is now a must. They also serve cocktails!
The Espresso Martinis were divine.
The next morning we ventured out in search of breakfast. I had read about a nifty little place, The Real Eating Company which is situated above The Steamer Trading Company’s store in town. I had concerns that it would be packed given that it was still raining, but it turned out that the weather had actually put people off and we almost had the place to ourselves!
They did not disappoint. We both ordered the same breakfast, a personal favourite breakfast of mine which is scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and avocado served with toast. Included in the breakfast special price was not only a hot drink but also a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Great value, especially as it was so yummy.
Fuelled up we wandered back down to the beach for another day of displays. It was still raining by the time we got to the beach, but after sheltering for about 10 minutes the rain stopped, the sun came out and the skies cleared creating perfect air show conditions.
Much more manageable crowd numbers!
We decided to invest in a couple of chairs and found a nice spot to stay put for the afternoon. My poor feet were very grateful!
Sally B again, I WILL have my name on her one day!
The Red Arrows’ new formation celebrating the Battle of Britain – Spitfire!
A sand Sally B in the making.
The Spitfire and Hurricane were so fast, this is probably the best picture I got of either of them.
Just the one Matador! A great display to watch, you could tell the pilot was having a hell of a lot of fun doing his own thing.
And now for the emotional part of the post. Thanks to the weather clearing beautifully XH558 was able to do her display. As emotional as it was, it was fantastic to see thousands of people all enjoying her and saying goodbye from Bournemouth. She put on a great display and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
And that was that. By the end of the display I was crying my eyes out. The cool thing was though, that there were hundreds of grown men all doing the same. All of us waving goodbye to her for the final time, and I’ll never ever see her fly again. All because of silly aviation politics rather than money, but I won’t go into that. Above everything this was one of the best weekends of my life and I’ll be forever grateful that I got to see XH558 for the final time and say goodbye to her. Bye bye old girl x