Saturday snippets: 16th August 2014

By | Category: Travel news

flybe400_thumbI have yet to receive a press release from Flybe announcing that they have pilots who  can fly better with one arm than some airlines fly with two.  Obviously their PR department has decided it might be too PC insensitive to do such a thing but you have to congratulate the pilot of their Dash-8 plane that flew from Birmingham to Belfast who landed w plane with one hand after his artificial arm became detached. All right the landing might have been a little lumpy but there were crosswinds and he was manually flying the plane. To do it in such conditions shows here is a pilot who is well trained and can react under pressure.

That more of us are travelling abroad is apparent from the figures being issued from some airports. Heathrow said passenger numbers totalled 6.97 million passengers last month, up 0.5% on July 2013 but they fly business passengers rather than consumers on most of their flights.  Gatwick said 4.1 million passengers used Gatwick in July, up 6% – and Edinburgh Airport said had a record month with more than 1.1 million passengers. Glasgow Airport has a busy time with more than 840,000 passengers and Aberdeen Airport reported a year-on-year rise of 9.2% in traffic last month. At Stansted, more than 1.9 million passengers travelled through the terminal in July up 12.2% on the same month last year and the busiest monthly total since August 2011. In Dublin, over 2.3 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport in July, an increase of 6% on the same period last year but the biggest increase was for those of us flying to North America which was up by 15%. No figures are available yet from any of the Belfast airports, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester or Newcastle.

Remaining with airport stories, East Midlands has announced that Monarch will withdraw all of its flights from the end of next April. It serves nine destinations from the airport but most overlap with other services.


Berkhamstead – a snake’s head or something else?

The Canal and River Trust loads maps onto its website to illustrate what there is to see. One it has loaded of Berkhamstead has raised sniggers with some claiming it looks like a penis. Judge for yourselves as I reproduce the map. It could also look like a snake’s head. It’s getting them lots of publicity so they probably aren’t too upset.

In Hull, there are proposals to turn the aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious into a tourist attraction. Why in Hull? Because the ship is about to be retired and because it could coincide with Hull celebrating its City of Culture celebrations in 2017. One of the local MP’s – Alan Johnson – is behind the idea but other coastal cities might vie to attract the vessel as it would certainly attract visitors

To another museum, the National Football Museum where the blonde, lengthy locks of ex-footballer, Robbie Savage have been donated. He might have uttered the threat jokingly but the museum has taken him up on it. The thought of what other footballers might donate doesn’t bear thinking about? Louis Suarez could donate some teeth impressions modelled in clay and any number of them could donate their gymnastic handbooks on how to dive!

Meanwhile another museum, the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum, has re-opened in Warwick after a two-year closure, which saw a complete refurbishment. The former courthouse, where it is based, has been revamped, after it was given almost £368,000 in a Heritage Lottery grant.



Croatia, which can do little wrong in the eyes of British holidaymakers these days, has had even more of us visiting it. British visitors to Croatia increased by 11 per cent from January – July 2014 compared to the same period last year. There was also a 16.5 per cent increase in Irish visitors. In total, 231,794 Brits travelled to Croatia, while 25,776 Irish visitors travelled to the destination between January  and July 2014.

Croatia is just one place we are visiting. Overseas trips are more popular with the Office of National Statistics saying that we have made 5% more visits abroad in the last twelve months. We are spending less however – just some £12.83 billion in the first six months of the year. Overseas visits made by UK residents rose 4% to 27.14 million in the same first half so on average we are each spending nearly £473 which suggests lots of short breaks might be in those figures.

Ireland has also been seeing a boom with double-digit growth from the UK. Now the Central Statistical Office in Dublin has come out with some more regional figures showing, for example, that Sligo has done well. Visitor numbers are up by 9%  with more 200,000 people visiting the county 140,000 being British. Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Killarney and Westport are also doing exceptionally according to Tim Fenn CEO of the Irish Hotels Federation.

If you are travelling to the US, you might want to look at a new app published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) people.  The Mobile Passport Control app, allows eligible travellers to submit entry process information via their own smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection. IPhone and iPad users can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store. trials of the new app began at Atlanta airport tthree days ago. It will be interesting to see how much time this saves passengers.

logo of Rocky Mountain

the centenary of the Rocky Mountain National park

Next month, the Rocky Mountain National Park will be celebrating 100 years since the park’s dedication with a number of special events from 3rd September 2014 lasting a whole year until 4th September 2015. Visitors can enjoy a number of experiences including free Centennial walks and talks with a ranger, unique art exhibitions and YMCA of the Rockies Centennial Hikes, which are free to guests who stay at the property and $20 for non-YMCA guests. 

Piers have been in the news lately, largely for unfortunate reasons. Not Clevedon Pier in Bristol which has been awarded a further £250,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund on top of the half a million that it has already been given. The money goes towards the £1.6m needed for a new visitor centre. The project has also received £720,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

off to the races?

off to the races?

The centre, which will be partly built from glass, will include a cafe, toilet and a meeting and education space. Clevedon is the only intact Grade I listed pier in the UK, stretching 259m (850ft) into the Bristol Channel.  Built from discarded railway track used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the Great Western Railway, the pier cost £12,000 when it opened on Easter Monday in 1869.

Finally a word about a small village in west Wales – Cilgerran.  A week today this is where the coracle championships will be held. Personally, the thought of me in a coracle is off-putting as I would probably spin in circles. But that’s half the fun I’m told. Experts  will mix with novices and the Teifi should provide an unusual – to most people – and  entertaining afternoon for those who want to go down there and enjoy the fun. For those who want more, they can head to nearby Cenarth and visit the National Coracle Centre which is just by the falls.

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