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" Loweswater Farmers Summer Trip 2012 "
Date & Time: Thursday 2st May 2009. 8.30 am start. ( NY 115 295 )
Location of Start : Mitchell's Auction Mart Cockermouth. Cumbria, Uk.
Places visited : Dumfries & Galloway Air Museum and Hardlaw Bank Farm, Dumfries.
Walked with : Myself plus sixteen members of the Loweswater Discussion Group.
Weather : Dry and overcast but we avoided the two short rain showers.
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In Loweswater there are regular meetings during the winter months of the Loweswater Discussion Group, known locally as the Farmers Discussion Group.
The organisation is one of the oldest established Cumbrian village groups of its type as it started over seventy years ago. They chat over a beer or two on alternate winter Monday evenings at the Kirkstile Inn. . . and invite speakers on a wide range of subjects to talk at their various meetings.
Once a year they organise a day out which usually involves a bus trip, a farm visit, a meal out and no doubt a few more beers!!
This year the trip included a tour of an air museum and a lowland farm across the border in Scotland.
We reach the M6 north after using the new Penrith western by-pass which made getting past Carlisle so much easier.
It seems our Routledge coach driver also knows the new route which helps.
Our first destination . . .
About an hour's drive up to Gretna Green and turn left !
Welcome to the Dumfries aerodrome and the Control Tower which was the heart of the wartime complex.
Pride of place . . . or at least . . . opposite the door from reception was the fuselage of a Hawker Sidley Trident passenger jet.
After it ceased flying in 1989 the cockpit and forward salon were canabalised and have been used as a training model.
Inside part of the seating has been removed to allow a model Concorde to be displayed.
The cockpit of the Trident was remarkably basic for a commercial jet
It took its first flight in 1971 and was the last Trident to see active service for British Airways.
The pilot looked a bit dodgy too . . . Oh . . . sorry John it's you.
He's found an old flight data manual and is studying the approach and taxi procedure for one of the European airports.
Outside, the iconic English Electric Lightning
It saw active service in Saudi Arabia in the 1970's and became a display outside the Ferranti works in Edinburgh
before being gifted to the museum.
The Lightening is basically a double rocket with wings !
The engines have disappeared many years ago but the aircraft is still impressive.
Next to it was an example of the Hawker Hunter F.4 (WT746)
It spent the majority of its later life as a trainer aircraft.
The museum has an example of the Fairey Gannet, a carrier-borne aircraft used primarily for anti-submarine surveillance.
It had counter-rotating propellers and was driven by two Armstrong Sidley low-octane engines.
Brian and Ken are off to the next exhibit after reading the information and checking out The Gannet.
John, Brian and Richard chat with one of the museum enthusiasts about the Wessex Helicopter that they are renovating.
Unfortunately these exhibits have often been stripped down to basics before they ever reach here
but the gentleman was most informative about the aircraft and the work he is doing on it.
The Museum is basically manned by a small group of enthusiasts who work on these planes in their spare time.
He is hoping to renovate and re-paint this Wessex back to its navy colours given time.
Inside the three storey building is the most wonderful exhibition of old aircraft memorabilia
which would take more time than we have available today to appreciate fully.
But saying that we'll make our best efforts to see as much as possible.
This display is based around the Rolls Royce engine that is on display.
On the top floor, the museum have set out the control room as it would have been in the 1940's
when Dumfries was a busy wartime airport.
The Flight Indicator Board . . . written up as it would have been on that day in December 1942.
In amongst the displays you would suddenly find a special report . . . about early war etiquette
and . . . " The above action was the first time the Spitfire went into action in World War Two "
seen from the top floor of the tower.
Below is a well maintained War Memorial, with the inscription enlarged.
Next to the green cabins was a large turbo-fan jet engine which caught the attention of Chris and Alex.
This was one of four engines that powered a 100 series Jumbo 747s and had completed 61,246 hours flying time before being retired.
- - - o o o - - -
The door was open so we had chance to step inside those cabins behind . . .
The second was set out as a living room of that period.
A recent addition to the collection at the Museum is a display dedicated to the Parachute Regiment & Airborne Forces.
A restored fire pump made by the Coventry Climax Company
It went on to be developed into a racing engine for Colin Chapman's Lotus sports cars
- - - o o o - - -
Lunch was taken at Kilnford Farm Shop and Cafe.
Robert introduced us to the area and to his farm in particular, giving a potted history of the family's time there.
They own 80 acres and rents a further 160 acres on which they rear Aberdeen Angus Cattle.
In the last few years they have also introduced sheep by way of diversity.
He calls the cattle so that we can study them more closely . . .
but a bag of feed helps them to gather a little quicker than voice alone.
We check out the herd for the first time.
It is always an unknown factor as to the way cattle will react to a large group of strangers, so we stay close to the gate to start.
No problems as the Angus are a very quiet breed in that respect and don't mind the attention.
Comments were made about how easy they seemed to be compared to their Cumbrian bovine cousins.
Several of our group have had experience with Angus cattle and were busy comparing notes.
Robert is returning the herd to a pure Angus collection.
To do this he has kept several of his best bulls and brought in similar blood lines to allow him to develop his own breeding plan.
The one above is one of his three year olds that he has kept and reared to maturity.
Young 2012 pure bread Aberdeen Angus calves.
The yellow tags show a large ministry identification number and a second tag has local farm information printed on it.
Robert's father was out with us today as he is still very active on the farm.
Time to see the second herd in another field.
Rob drives the bike to herd them across, and Ken is in charge of the "bag of encouragement".
The farm does have dogs but doesn't use them for controlling the cattle.
Ken tries to influence (from a safe distance) which way the bull might like to go.
It makes more sense if we can see the cattle close up rather than huddled at the far end of a long field.
Back at the farm we were very kindly treated to some light refreshments.
Ken, Nick and Brian partake of a can of finest lager . . .
Could this make them " Tenant Farmers" ?
One last visit to the home-fields where the remainder of the herd are being kept.
Robert has the assistance of his three willing helpers this time . . .
Hence the expression . . . " Farmers are 'out-standing' in their fields ".
After a tour of the yards, the afternoon draws to a close
and Ken offers words of appreciation after our interesting and comprehensive visit.
No outing would be complete without a meal on the way home
so we stop at the Sun Inn at Red Dial near Wigton.
Traditional fare . . . right down to the Knicker-bocker-glory at the end.
It certainly gets a thumbs up from Jonty . . . praise indeed.
Come on . . . stop reading the adverts . . . it's time to get back on the bus !
- - - o o o - - -
and of course to Ken and William who organised the day out for the Loweswater Farmers Discussion Group
Finally including one memorable comment from the discussions at the end of the day . . .
The LFDG is an equal-oportunities organisation . . . they accept non-farmers AND vegetarians on their days out.
Cheers lads !
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . the shared knowledge of the group.
Previous walk - 28th May 2012 Latterbarrow Not Claiffe Heights
A previous " Farmer's Visit " - 22th May 2008 Loweswater Farmers Day Out
Next walk - 2nd June 2012 Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell with Ian