Barchetta Autumnal Adventures

Cambridgeshire. 23rd to 25th October 2023

Sandy and Paul devised an autumnal meeting at the magnificent 16th Century Elizabethan former home of the Hynde family. The estate is owned by Cambridge University and used as a centre for the Institute of Continuing Education with rooms available for hotel guests. 18 members stayed in the hall. On the first evening, we all met up in the bar for drinks, followed by fine dining in the panelled dining room. Two local members, Bob and Dee Newman, joined the group for the first meet and hopefully not their last trip out.

After a hearty breakfast on Tuesday morning, 12 cars explored the Fenland roads between Cambridge and Newmarket. The weather was autumnal, with a grey sky, but the rain stayed away, so it was roof down all the way. At Newmarket, we were joined by Neil and Bob Mead. Sandy and Paul had arranged a guided tour of the National Horse Racing Museum, giving a fascinating insight into the story of horse racing and Newmarket’s place in its development from the palace of Charles the II and his love of horse racing to the present-day Jockey Club and the British Horse Racing Authority. We had a lovely lunch in the Tack Room.

The next stage of the journey, we set off in a convoy over the Fens, led by Mark Simmons, to Ely with a stopover at RAF Lakenheath viewing area. Here, we were treated to a very loud F15 taking off directly above our heads and to two F35s’, one landing and the other doing a very noisy flypast.

After Lakenheath, we made our way over many level crossings into Ely for a very informative guided tour of the spectacular cathedral. After the cathedral, we returned to the hotel for our second fine dining experience in the medieval banqueting hall.

Wednesday morning, after breakfast, it was cars into the walled garden for Timothy Rocker’s aerial photographs. Then, off in convoy in the fog to the Imperial War Museum Duxford for a guided tour by our member David Robinson. Duxford is a fantastic museum filled with British and American aircraft, really too many to take in during our brief visit. After lunch, it was free time and departure.

Thanks go to Sandy and Paul for arranging the hotel and this two-day meet, including setting the drive to Newmarket and Duxford, arranging the Newmarket visit and the guides for Ely Cathedral. To Mark Simons for “arranging” the fly past and route to Ely and David Robinson for his guided tour around and insights into the aircraft on display.

Clive Marshall