Wales Low Flying Area, Wales, UK

Also known as LFA7 and more commonly known as the Mach Loop, this is the best low flying area in the UK accessible to the aviation enthusiast. In 2009, my mate Shaun and I had a few days spare between the Flying Legends airshow and RIAT so we decided to go to Wales and check out this famous area - in terms of low flying areas that is.

Any aviation enthusiast worth his salt has heard of or seen photos of the Mach Loop. Very few have been there. It is a must for any aviation enthusiast. We stayed in the Buckley Pines Hotel but there are several good places to stay. The hotel in question is situated in Dinas Mawddwy (don't ask me to pronounce that one - or any other Welsh name - it's not what you think). It is a quaint little village with a couple of good pubs (of course) and is not too far from the action. In fact, the village is in the middle of the Mach Loop.

Now, CAD EAST and CAD WEST are probably the best spots for photography in the Loop - one is easy to get to (but not the best photos) and the other is about a 40 minute hike to get to but you get the best photos! CAD EAST is accessible with a vehicle with a short 100m walk to the top. Unfortunately, the aircraft bank the other way going over CAD WEST so you will always get the top view from this vantage point - and a vantage point it is. You actually look down on the aircraft flying below you. I haven't been to CAD WEST but the photos I have seen are awesome. To get to CAD WEST, it is a long walk and sharp climb from the valley floor.

This experience is a must but don't expect loads of aircraft coming down the valley. You will have hours of waiting - and 10 seconds of pure adrenaline rush as the aircraft powers past you.

Unfortuanely, I was using a new camera and didn't get the best photos but I am going back sometime to CAD WEST armed with my "old" kit to get the shots I missed last time..... I used a Canon 5D MkII and a Canon 300mm F2,8 lens

LFA_002 - this is the approach (or start really) of the Mach Loop - aircraft fry towards you and are difficult to spot LFA_001 - the view from CAD EAST looking down the valley - the aircraft fly from right to left LFA_003 - yours truly standing on CAD EAST LFA_004 - our first encounter with an aircraft in the Loop - a BAe Hawk LFA_005 - murky conditions, new camera, not that good shot of a Hawk going through the valley between CAD EAST and CAD WEST LFA_006 - same Hawk going down the valley LFA_007 - climbing to the top of CAD EAST one can see right down the valley - Tal-y-Llyn Lake in the distance LFA_008 - another shot looking up the valley - and yes, the grass is that green LFA_009 - another Hawk heads for the Loop - note all the sheep LFA_010 - the Hawk passes over CAD WEST LFA_011 - on our way to drive around the loop we came across this Inn near Corris Corner LFA_012 - this is the valley that the aircraft fly down at the start of the Loop LFA_013 - a pano of the start of the Loop taken from CAD EAST and looking at CAD WEST LFA_014 - enroute from Dinas Mawddwy (where we stayed) towards The Bwlch which is a pass where the Loop ends LFA_015 - in the saddle is The Bwlch LFA_016 - Dolgellau (pronounced 'Dol-geth-lie') is a little village near CAD EAST/WEST LFA_017 - another Hawk heads for the Loop LFA_019 - the weather changes in minutes LFA_020 - the guys on CAD WEST virtually camp there for the day - this is the best spot for nice photos LFA_021 - looking down at the car park for CAD WEST LFA_022 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_023 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_024 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_025 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_026 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_027 - an RAF Alpha Jet LFA_029 - a closer look at the guys on CAD WEST LFA_030 a Hawk heading over CAD WEST LFA_031 - note the photographers on CAD WEST - imagine their photos! LFA_032 - trailing vortex trails, a Hawk heading dow the valley LFA_033 - our first Typhoon experience in the Loop LFA_034 - our first Typhoon experience in the Loop LFA_035 - our first Typhoon experience in the Loop LFA_036 - our first Typhoon experience in the Loop LFA_037 - our first Typhoon experience in the Loop LFA_038 - the same Typhoon heads back for more LFA_039 - the same Typhoon heads back for more LFA_040 - the same Typhoon heads back for more LFA_041 - the same Typhoon heads back for more - note the backseater looking down at the photographers on CAD WEST LFA_042 - and it then heads down the valley LFA_043 - an arty shot of the valley LFA_044 - the sunshine didn't help us on CAD EAST - we were on the wrong side..... LFA_045 - not a great clear shot but you get the impression of the speed - with vortex trails LFA_046 - another Typhoon LFA_047 - another Typhoon LFA_048 - another Typhoon LFA_049 - another pub - not sure where this one was LFA_050 - my good mate Shaun reaches for his camera while local Vernon (who is also the local village postman) searches for the next aircraft with binos LFA_051 - thsi is where we stayed - Buckley Pines hotel in Dinas Mawddwy LFA_052 - Dinas Mawddwy village - the jets fly right over the hotel as this is part of the Loop