I just checked the forum and since 2018 I wanted to visit Cambridge, but just never came around to it. Until last weekend! Initially the plan was to make it a day trip, but due to the weird opening times for visiting aircraft and to give us some more time to experience it all we decided to make it a night stop. I say we, because my daughter Julie (8 y/o) loves these kind of trips and wanted to tag along. Due to the water crossing I was a bit apprehensive. She is a competent swimmer, but the North Sea is still pretty cold this time of year. I had livevests and rented a inflatable raft for way too much money. But what’s money if you are freezing your ass of in the sea, right? The aircraft is a very well maintained C172 Diesel with an up-to-date G1000 and a good autopilot. Good maintenance, raft, vests, and I’d fly high, this should keep the risk at an acceptable level. We’d fly IFR, got my PPR for friday but a quick call and is was OK to fly over on thursday. Filed the GAR and the GenDec. My wife even signed a consentform granting me permission to take our little girl abroad. At Teuge we were met by the Royal Marechaussee who were very friendly, quick and efficient (and curious about the airplane and the trip we were about to make). Julie showed them around the little C172. Just in time we were airborne, because it would take around 2 hours to EGSC and we only had 15 minutes extra play before the airfield would close on us. It was suggested on this forum to fly to EGSU instead, they have better opening hours, and awesome museum and are cheaper, but somehow I just wanted to go to EGSC, all things considered Duxford would indeed have been the smarter choice but I have been there a couple of times and just felt that EGSC was the place to go. We departed VFR and got our IFR clearance in the air just after take off by Dutch Mil. As we climbed in to the Schiphol TMA we were handed over to Amsterdam and they cleared us eventually to FL120, our cruising altitude. Ofcourse the filed route could be binned and we got a new route, along Dordrecht, and Rotterdam, coasting out at Hoek van Holland for our crossing.
Wel before the FIR boundry we were handed over to London, and then Stansted. Stansted told us we would be landing after closing time at EGSC and should consider diverting. I said we should make it with time to spare! Never heard anything back other then: Pappa Tango Bravo direct CAM. The skies were clear of clouds until the UK coast were a friendly undercast of cu was waiting. Descending through the clouds we were handed over to Cambridge and they asked the desired approach. I opted for the visual and we landed with 10 minutes to spare. As we switched off on the grass parking, a Tiger Moth came taxiing by. I just love that about the UK.
After years of carrying it around in my flight bag I finally got to wear my Hi-Vis vest and we were greated by a friendly lady from the aeroclub: ‘are you Mark and Julie?’. Indeed we were! We settled the landing and parking fee (40 pounds) and took a cab to the hotel. We got settled in and walked into town where we hopped in a punter for a first view of Cambridge from the water.
It was as nice as I imagined it to be, what a wonderful sights and ambiance. Julie and I enjoyed that. Then we visited a nice Italian restaurant, Julie her favorite kind. No fish and chips… We had an Icecream in town for desert and capped it of with drinks in The Eagle at the RAF bar. Ohh the atmosphere!
The next morning we went to the market and bought the mandatory ‘Cambridge University Hoodie’, we climbed the 123 steps of St. Mary’s Church and gazed at the surrounding colleges. Kings College was open and we visited the Chapel and the College Grounds. That Chapel impressed Julie the most as it was used to model Hogwarts great hall. What a fantastic piece of architecture. All over Cambridge were students in capes to really drive home the sense one was walking the grounds of Hogwarts. My daughter was impressed and so was I. We went for lunch – again Italian – and then we found a small courtyard near All Saints Church that had a nice bench under an old tree. Not sure if we were allowed to, but we settled there for a bit and nobody seemed to mind. Then it was off to the hotel to get our bags and a taxi.
Just in time before the fields closure we departed back, a little headwind and above the Cu clouds the air was as calm as could be. Julie fell a sleep, only to wake up as we were over Zeeland with a little over 30 minutes to go. After landing we were again met by the friendly Marechaussee and home we went.
What a marvelous little trip this was! Smiling all week just thinking about it.
This is wonderful, and a real success.
After years of carrying it around in my flight bag I finally got to wear my Hi-Vis vest
Woo hoo! This made me laugh Sounds like you got a nice welcome too
Great story! Cambridge….and the Tiger Moth…(Cambridge Flying Group, I assume)…brings back memories!
So glad the UK did good for you. Great trip.
brings back memories!
Did you fly the CFG Moths?
Nice lovely trip and glad all worked to go into Cambridge during the weekday
My wife even signed a consentform granting me permission to take our little girl abroad.
This trip is going to cost you a lot of money, not now, one day when she goes into Uni
Possibly one of the best trip reports I’ve ever read!
How lucky you (indeed we) are to be able to enjoy such simple pleasures.
I thought I heard a few years ago that Cambridge was closing?
Planned for 2030.
Sounds like you had a lovely trip with your daughter. It brought a smile to my face
Wonderful trip, and wonderful that your daughter enjoyed it so much