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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Where to get close to low flying jets in Cumbria

CUMBRIA is one of the best locations in Britain for planespotters. RAF frontline and training aircraft can both be seen flying low through the Lake District.

Many are heading north from the British Aerospace airfield in Warton in Lancashire and follow a route over Windermere, Grasmere, Thirlmere and Keswick before taking a right turn over Bassenthwaite Lake.

The M6 corridor can also be a good area for spotting them – as the low-flying aircraft warning signs testify.
Dunmail Raise, just south of Thirlmere, is a good place for beginners to start and for best results a camera with good quality 400 mm lens is needed.

It can take half an hour to walk up there, so you will need to be in reasonable physical condition.

You should be fit enough to be able to carry a heavy camera bag, spare clothes and a day’s food and drink, and in bad weather a day shelter may also be necessary.

And spotters need patience as well as fitness. Low-flying planes can behave like buses, with none for a long time and then several in quick succession. There will be days when you will get no photos of planes at all and others when you will catch a steady stream of them.

Weekdays are better than weekends or public holidays for getting photos, as there is very little low-flying on Saturdays or Sundays except for special events. Flying can start as early as 7.30am in the summer and can continue until sunset. Friday afternoons tend to be quiet as the weekend approaches.

Sunny weather ought to be more promising for seeing planes than wet or misty weather – and it is probably inadvisable to venture onto Cumbrian mountainsides during poor weather in any case. However even in days of full sunshine photographers have been known to see nothing.

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