Monday 16 May – This should have been the easy bit. Just 2 ½ hours from home; plane was fuelled, skies were blue. The hotel owner drove us back to the airport. But there were forecasts of low cloud in the Ile de France.
Flying the route that we’d arrived in Troyes a year ago, routing over deserted airfields, a massive menhir-type monument (later identified as a WW1 monument), and just to the east of Reims. But the cloud base of 3000’ slowly fell and we steered into rain south of Lille. Turned 180° towards Beauvais (where we’d been stuck on a previous trick); Ryanair were successfully landing there.
Keeping out of Paris airspace we turned back to Amiens with its large and obvious runway; albeit French-speaking. We perhaps should have stopped there, but instead pressed on east to a deserted (no radio) Abbeville, hoping that the weather was going east. Decided to divert the 20 miles north to Le Touquet. By then the cloud had taken us down to 1,000’ and we clearly wouldn’t get across the channel.
Cross-wind landing ,though not as spectacularly frightening as the one we had here a few years ago. No activity at the airport though we heard a plane on the radio returning to the UK.
The man at the desk sent us to the airport restaurant; smartly refurbished since to were last delayed here. Good lunch.
The problem was the lack of weather information on this side of the channel. Lydd, Gatwick and Biggin Hill were all looking fine so we decided to risk flying direct to Lydd hoping for clear skies. As we left the terminal the weather had begun to clear from the west so we easily reached 6,000’ and made Biggin within 50 mins.