Saturday snippets: 30 May 2015

By | Category: Travel news
the Red Arrows who will be at the Sunderland Air Show

the Red Arrows who will be at the Sunderland International Air Show

The strike over the bank holiday that wasn’t has come back to haunt passengers. Now the RMT union has announced that it will hold a 24-hour strike from 17:00 BST on the 4th of June and a 48-hour strike from 17:00 on the 9th of June. The new deal from Network Rail that caused the last strike to be put off is, apparently, still not to the liking of the union. Passengers, travellers and tourists are left to wonder whether they should change their plans or bet that this strike will be put off because of pressure or a better offer from Network Rail. Caught in the middle again!

One of the most popular events in the north east is the Sunderland International Airshow which takes place over the weekend Friday 24 to Sunday 26 July and that is why I mention it so far in advance of the dates. This year, three displays from the Red Arrows are part of the line-up which will include the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight featuring a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire; RAF Tutor, RAF Hawk T2, RAF Typhoon and the Twister Duo. Completing the flying programme on Saturday and Sunday are: RAF Falcons, Royal Navy Black Cats (bringing their new Wildcat helicopters for the first time), Royal Navy Search and Rescue Sea King, The Blades Gerald Cooper, Norwegian MiG 15, Patrouille Reva, OV-10 Bronco and Curtis P40 Warhawk and P51 Mustang.

All through the year there has been a smile on the faces of those working for Tourism Ireland. The reason is that more of us are travelling and holidaying there. An extra 10% – 72,200 – of Britons over last year have already headed there between February and April this year and, overall, overseas visitor numbers are up by 14% which must be outstripping the average increase in tourist numbers this year. Visitors from Italy are up by 42% so what have they found to enjoy in Ireland that we haven’t spotted yet?

Aberdour Castle

Aberdour Castle

At Aberdour Castle this weekend, you can watch as Historic Scotland presents a special attraction, Raising Fife for the Covenant. Covenanters were bands of people who worked to preserve the Presbyterian doctrine and there were many uprisings and battles in Scotland that few English know about. Here is an opportunity to learn about a crucial part of Scottish history. On Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st May, visitors can find out what life was like for soldiers fighting for King or Covenant in a Scotland plagued by civil war during the reign of Charles I. Soldiers will be drilled and those interested can learn how to fire a musket or wield a pike.

Many Britons head to Australia in their gap year or as a rite of coming of age. Working in a bar or in the outback they earn enough to go and explore one of the most diverse countries on earth. Be warned though, the Australian government is about to make it more expensive. A tax, nicknamed the backpacker tax, has been introduced for all those on working holidays in the country. You will be taxed at 32.5% which is considerably higher than in the UK or Ireland. Not only that you will be taxed from your first pay cheque; there is no personal allowance before you start paying the tax. It comes into operation next year so if you fancy a working holiday in Oz, go this year.

For those who are fans of westerns, one of the things that should be on your bucket list is a trip to Cheyenne in Wyoming. Ever since 1897, Cheyenne has celebrated its Old West roots with Cheyenne Frontier Days but the centrepiece of the celebrations is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, which draws top professionals from across the country. Always held in July, this year’s festival will be held from July the 17th until the 26th. But it is not just men on un broken horses and trying their luck at staying on steers. Now there is a variety of events such as concerts from national recording artists including Aerosmith, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, a chuck wagon cook-off, an art show and parades and music. Looks like the singing cowboys of the Saturday morning cinema of my youth didn’t disappear after all.

The annual South Tyneside Festival, which runs from June until the end of August, is expected to attract more than 120,000 visitors. This year the summer parade will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. The parade will move through the streets of South Shields on Saturday July 4 with 2000 volunteers, a military marching band, piano players and a flash mob, giant caterpillar, Cheshire Cat and a Queen of Hearts disco diva. The diva is probably not what Lewis Carroll had in mind!



I often write about growth in tourism by Brits to overseas countries but, domestically, it wasn’t a particularly good year last year. In England, the number of trips taken last year was 9% lower than in 2013. Is this because more us holidayed abroad or in other parts of the UK and Ireland or did we just stay at home? There were also 6% fewer trips to visit friends and relatives and 10% fewer business trips. Seaside and rural areas experienced less steep declines than urban areas, a contrast with trends in recent years.

It’s that time of the year again when entries are called for the International Travel Photographer of the Year awards. The competition can be fairly stiff but Britons have won the major award in the last three years. The 2015 awards have three portfolio categories, three single-image awards, a New Talent category for aspiring professional photographers, an HD video category, Young Travel Photographer of the Year (for photographers aged 18 and under) and the new Smart Shot category (for images shot on a mobile phone or tablet). Inspiration for you might come from visiting two, upcoming Travel Photographer of the Year exhibitions. There’s a final chance to see last year’s exhibition of award-winning shots at TPOTY’s first touring exhibition at Lacock Abbey near Bath, England, from June 6 th to July 12 th , while the most recent winning images can be seen for the first time at London’s Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) from July 24 th to September 5. ntries have to be in by October 1st. Click here for more details or go to www.

Finally, you know its summer when the annual threat by Spanish air traffic controllers to go on strike is announced. This year they are planning to walk out earlier so if you are planning to travel to Spain then the 8th, 10th, 12th and 14th are the days announced for two two-hour strikes each day. Check with your airlines because they may try and re-arrange flights to avoid those two hour times. It may also affect those that have to fly over Spanish air space so there could be additional delays as well.






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