AvGeek Mum goes to the Wales National Airshow

AvGeek Mum
AvGeek Mum

Right, let’s go to our local airshow with a husband, two-year-old and five year old! The first hurdle, do they want to go? Yes!!! Phew, no bribing or negotiating needed! We were off to Wales National Airshow held on the Swansea seafront.

The prep…. So anyone who knows me knows I pack for all eventualities, possible situations and those ‘just in case’ scenarios, well, not today, today I had been given strict instructions to only pack essentials!

So essentials packed, Camera and 60 million charged batteries, everything electrical in sandwich bags, towels, blanket, nappies, wet wipes, loo roll (in case the toilets run out) , beach tent (if you have never been to the Swansea Airshow I really recommend a beach tent, windbreak or both!!!), small picnics for the girls, water, water, water and a bucket of sun cream and we’re off!!

At this point I’m excited so the girls are getting excited, our youngest is in the back singing Jingle Bells and then I pipe up ‘Oo I wonder what time we’ll arrive….’ Hubby has a satnav in the car so with that starts pushing buttons and talking to the sat nav …our sat nav is very polite and simply asked for the destination. ‘Swansea’ he replies, ‘ok, destination health, is this correct?’ ummm no??!! So again, ‘Swansea’ he shouts a little louder, ‘ok, destination small plate, is this correct?’ by this point I am actually laughing so hard that I am crying but now he has started he can’t give up, he can’t admit defeat and let me punch in the address, it is a battle of wills, ‘SWANSEA’ she gets the message this time and after the obligatory Mcdonalds breakfast stop we are nearly there!

It was an absolutely beautiful day, sun blazing and we managed to find a parking space! We unloaded everyone and breathed a sigh of relief that our youngest wasn’t poorly on the way down (she doesn’t travel so well!) and off we went in search of our spot on the beach.

As soon as we approached the main road we could see so many more exhibits than last year, they were stretched right down the side of the road with various different military vehicles, equipment and people showing the public about military life. Whether this was because it coincided with Armed Forces Day, I’m not sure, but it was great to see!

Two lovely cadets made sure we had fluorescent orange wristbands on the girls in case they got lost, then, again, we were off!!

The girls get a proper look at the beach now and we have to persuade them to keep going and that we can actually go onto the beach not just stand and look at it!! The beach is fairly empty at this point so now we need to pick our spot! Not too hard a decision but we move around a bit all the same. Hubby sets to putting up the tent and the girls are screaming, pulling out their spades and already digging holes!

The Set Up

Once everything is set up we can relax and enjoy the day!! Swansea is great because even on a scorching hot day with thousands of people attending you never feel squished in on the beach because it is so big!

Ha yes you can cover me in suncream mum but then I'm going to make a sand angel and cake myself in sand!
Ha yes you can cover me in suncream mum but then I’m going to make a sand angel and cake myself in sand!

Before the display starts we take it in turns to find the toilets, naturally at least one of the girls want to go with Daddy, then it’s my turn. Off up the beach I go, spotting all the professional photographers set up in their usual place putting my little bridge camera to shame! We’ll talk about cameras another time!!

I was holding my breath slightly waiting for the queues at the toilets but everything seemed a lot smoother this year, barely any queue and lots of portaloos. I had a quick check of the food stalls, clocked the bar and then headed back.

The displays were outstanding, sunglasses were a must because the sun was right overhead but what a show! The commentary was fantastic and the man who was doing the main talking (I missed his name) was brilliant!

At one point I looked over to the family next to us and there were two Chinook pilots chatting to the family. Isla was very excited and asked if she could say hello but they started to walk off in the other direction, her face starts to crumble and I look at her and off we go, my 5-year-old has me literally running in pursuit across the beach like a desperate housewife after the pilots, then she stops and shouts ‘oh go on mum you can just go and see them’ and heads back to the tent!!! So, I give up too and follow her back having made myself look a bit silly.

We had a great afternoon and the variety of the displays were amazing, for a free event it really is brilliant and the council have to be praised with how smooth things seemed to go on the first day and the facilities. There was a big police presence and lots of reminders about keeping watch for suspicious activity which was a stark reminder of the times unfortunately but we certainly felt very safe the whole time we were there with lots of roadblocks and security.

Mini avgeek pointing out Team Raven
Mini avgeek pointing out Team Raven

Our mini avgeeks loved the ladies in the display and were speechless watching the wingwalkers and when Lauren was doing some serious aerobatics in her bi-plane, everyone was hooked!

The Chinook helicopter was phenomenal and when the rear opened and a man appeared waving 2 giant red hands, he got a really good clap!
The Chinook helicopter was phenomenal and when the rear opened and a man appeared waving 2 giant red hands, he got a really good clap!

Finally it was time for the Red Arrows, I stood in preparation for them flying over from behind like last year then slowly people started looking back as well. Red 10 soon confirmed that they would be approaching from behind us and we all waited!

I could hear them approaching and got ready and just as I focused on them flying over……my battery died, the battery in my camera died??! I couldn’t believe it! Everyone is looking skywards and I’m scrabbling around in the camera bag for a battery. Very bad planning and preparation on my part there!! But battery changed and I was away!!

We were treated to a full display and after some pictures we all just watched. Isla couldn’t take her eyes off them last year and today was no different!

The Red Arrows
The Red Arrows

A huge round of applause signalled the end of the display and the day and the beach very quickly thinned out but we stayed and took the opportunity to let the girls paddle and make the most of the sun! It was a quiet trip home with them both sleeping in the back but then there was the inevitable ‘I’m not going to sleep because I’ve napped battle’ when we couldn’t keep our eyes open!!!

About Cass Hamilton 7 Articles
Cass is mum to two gorgeous little girls and has lived in South Wales for 16 years after moving from Cornwall. She has grown up with aviation and now her family shares her passion and interest for anything in the sky.