Saturday morning Eloise cashed in her five stickers for sleeping through the whole night in her bed all week for a Kinder Surprise and we hit the road.
We were in the car heading east again but this time not to St Andrews, we cannot show our face there for a while. We passed Edinburgh and pushed on into new territory through the fog until we arrived at the National Museum of Flight. Week two of Liam’s 30th celebrations were about to take flight.
As we entered, Eloise made sure that she picked up a map. She is such a mini Sophie, she quickly checked where the toilets were and asked if any of us need to go while pointing to their location on the map.
As soon as we entered we had our first sight of a Concorde. It was breathtaking, it was much larger than we had visualised.
Eloise spotted the spy challenge, threw her map to Super Mum and bolted over to the wall with Lachlan to learn all about the Concorde.
We made our way up the stairs, Lachlan seemed a bit confused, surely not another holiday. Sadly there would be no Mach 2.04 supercruise.
Liam was telling Eloise all about the mega delta wing, turned back and she had already gone inside to check out the cabin, the mini Eloise-sized cabin.
It is crazy to think that these aircraft were designed and did carry civilians at Mach 2.04, “Concorde’s fastest transatlantic crossing was on 7 February 1996 when it completed the New York to London flight in 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds”.
There are three Concordes in the United States, eight in the United Kingdom, six in France and a lonely one in Germany. “Only 20 of the joint Anglo-French airplane were made, and only Air France and British Airways bought the 14 that entered commercial service. Of those 20, one crashed, one was scrapped, and 17 are preserved and can be visited, or seen from very close in museums or open-air exhibitions”.
The Concorde is a retired Franco-British supersonic airliner jointly developed and manufactured by Sud Aviation (later Aérospatiale) and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Studies started in 1954, and France and the UK signed a treaty establishing the development project on 29 November 1962, as the programme cost was estimated at £70 million (£1.39 billion in 2021). Construction of the six prototypes began in February 1965, and the first flight took off from Toulouse on 2 March 1969… Concorde is a tailless aircraft design with a narrow fuselage permitting a 4-abreast seating for 92 to 128 passengers, an ogival delta wing and a droop nose for landing visibility. It is powered by four Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 turbojets with variable engine intake ramps, and reheat for take-off and acceleration to supersonic speed. Constructed out of aluminium, it was the first airliner to have analogue fly-by-wire flight controls. The airliner could maintain a supercruise up to Mach 2.04 (2,167 km/h; 1,170 kn; 1,347 mph) at an altitude of 60,000 ft (18.3 km). Delays and cost overruns increased the programme cost to £1.5–2.1 billion in 1976, (£9.00–13.2 billion in 2021). Concorde entered service on 21 January of that year with Air France from Paris-Roissy and British Airways from London Heathrow. Transatlantic flights was the main market, to Washington Dulles from 24 May, and to New York JFK from 17 October 1977. Air France and British Airways remained the sole customers with seven airframes each, for a total production of twenty. Supersonic flight more than halved travel times, but sonic booms over the ground limited it to transoceanic flights only… On 25 July 2000, Air France Flight 4590 crashed shortly after take-off with all 109 occupants and four on ground killed; the only fatal incident involving Concorde. Commercial service was suspended until November 2001, and Concorde aircraft were retired in 2003 after 27 years of commercial operations.
There was even a Red Arrows BAE Systems Hawk tucked away in the back corner. Eloise knew all about these from her Tom simulator in London.
Tucked away in the other corner of the hangar was a Boeing 707-436, the kids’ favourite, as this one was full of buttons.
We then braved the weather and headed outside to see the BAC One-Eleven which looked like it had seen better days. Eloise was glad it had rained as it meant plenty of puddles.
After getting a bit wet from Eloise’s splashing we dried off our shoes and checked out the civil aviation hangar, full of peculiar aircraft.
One of Lachlan’s favourites was the bright-coloured Scottish Ambulance Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.
Luckily there were plenty of phones staged at each aircraft for the kids to take turns talking to the pilots.
There was no shortage of unusual aircraft.
With the civilian aircraft out of the way, we moved on to the cool stuff. I had always been interested in seeing a real Spitfire, after living in the UK for a year and a half, they are everywhere.
There were some pretty wacky aircraft here too.
“The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet is a rocket-powered interceptor aircraft primarily designed and produced by the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt. It is the only operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft in history as well as the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed 1,000 kilometres per hour (620 mph) in level flight. Development of what would become the Me 163 can be traced back to 1937”.
We then finally found a way to get Lachlan to sit down, he found a rocket-propelled ejector seat and made himself comfortable.
Eloise found the folded wings a bit strange.
We made our way out past some mean-looking bombs and missiles, sadly there were no rollerons.
Just when we thought the day could not get any better we entered the educational aero centre with plenty of interactive displays for the kids.
It was a great centre which triggered flashbacks of poorly calibrated university practicals.
The air package drop target practice game was a big hit, Eloise was slowly getting her eye in, Lachlan was a bit trigger-happy. Eloise was very good at making sure that Lachlan had a go.
It was then a final pass through the gift shop where we miraculously left empty-handed. Eloise made sure to point out to Super Mum all the sets she has completed, which reminded us, she still has her F22 Raptor to assemble.
After a fun morning running around aircrafts we looked for a change of scenery. While we were in the neighbourhood we thought it was about time to dust off those Historic Scotland cards and check out a couple of new castles. The first stop was on the coast and a slippery walk up to Tantallon Castle.
The castle was closed for inspection, we noticed an interesting lighthouse all the way out on Bass Rock.
Tantallon Castle is a ruined mid-14th-century fortress, located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of North Berwick, in East Lothian, Scotland. It sits atop a promontory opposite the Bass Rock, looking out onto the Firth of Forth. The last medieval curtain wall castle to be constructed in Scotland, Tantallon comprises a single wall blocking off the headland, with the other three sides naturally protected by sea cliffs. Tantallon was built in the mid 14th century
Castle hopping we ended up at Dirleton Castle & Gardens. Again, we knew the castle was closed, but it was a nice walk through the gardens. It must be castle-fixing season.
There was no peeking inside Dirleton Castle, well, not by us at least. It was the perfect job for our semi-legal closed castle inspector Darryl, he was back! We had made up after he was furious we left him behind on our Australia trip and flown his Aussie cousin, Damo. Can you spot Super Mum pacing around the castle pretending to have nothing to do with Darryl?
Dirleton Castle is a medieval fortress in the village of Dirleton, East Lothian, Scotland. It lies around 2 miles (3.2 km) west of North Berwick, and around 19 miles (31 km) east of Edinburgh. The oldest parts of the castle date to the 13th century, and it was abandoned by the end of the 17th century.
Saturday night was a tricky one getting Eloise to sleep as she explained she was babysitting and all her babies had to sleep up her end of the bed.
Saturday morning we were UP bright and early to watch UP. Eloise was intrigued by the dog collars that allowed the dogs to speak English. After watching the movie she quickly set off on the task of making some for Delilah, Lily and Maya.
We thought it was then a nice day to tackle our first pram walk into town, about a two-hour one-way trip. Eloise and Lachlan were both big fans of Cluny Park bear.
We were almost halfway to the city when we decided to check out the Kelvin Aqueduct. Although with the steep slope, there were plenty of locks which made crossing difficult as the pram would not fit, much to Lachlan’s amusement.
We made our way around to find Kelvin Aqueduct however we, unfortunately, ended up at the bottom of it. Liam climbed up to have a look. To be honest it was underwhelming compared to the massive aqueducts we cycled over between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Kelvin Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct in Glasgow, Scotland, which carries the Forth and Clyde Canal over the River Kelvin. We then passed the Scottish Park 17 equivalent. Yep, don’t think I will be signing up for Scottish football anytime soon… When opened in 1790 it was Britain’s largest aqueduct… It is 445 feet (136 metres) long, with four arches of 50-foot (15 m) span, and 62 feet (19 m) high above the surface of the river. According to measurements by John Rennie as the canal was nearing completion, there was around 3 feet (0.9 m) of puddle clay at the bottom of the canal. The aqueduct was designed to carry a depth of 8 feet (2.4 m) of water.
After a scenic walk along the River Kelvin past a very water-logged pitch, we reached Kelvingrove Park and released the Lachnado. We were approximately three-quarters of the way there.
However, Dad caught a whiff of the Gyros van, you cannot walk past a gyros.
After a delicious feed, we had been stopped in our tracks. Time for plan B. After a nice dawdle, to help the digestion, we passed through Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a must for all heading this way over the next few months. Eloise was quick to snap up a map again.
Lachlan was eager to check out the dinosaur section, he is going through a bit of a massive dinosaur craze at the moment. Although when we arrived he was not so sure.
It turned into a lovely afternoon spent with other secondees, checking out their lovely view, Lachlan put up his feet, happy with his day’s work. We will have to try the home to George Square Pramathon another time.