In the middle of the Leicestershire countryside lies Bruntingthorpe, one of a few places that you can see retired British Cold War Jets living and breathing.
A trip to Brunty has been on my radar for many years, I finally managed to get there a couple of weeks back. I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.
The first striking reminder of British air power is the Lightning QRA shed, re-assembled at Bruntingthorpe after being removed from its previous home at Wattisham, it’s now the home of the Lightning Preservation Group
On display are numerous aircraft, the majority of which British and in various conditions. Many aircraft are in working order, though some aren’t as in the case of WR974 Avro Shackleton.
After spending a couple of hours wandering around the airfield and getting up close to the aircraft I settled at the end of the runway up on the bank.
Numerous aircraft were brought back to life including the Canberra, Jet Provosts, Hunters, Bucanneers, VC10, Victor.Sadly the Nimrod went tech and couldnt run. We were treated to a quick cameo by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire Mk XVI TE311. Being a dedicated English Electric Lightning freak, it was what I came for and XR728 didn’t let me down. In the hands of Dennis Brooks we were treated to an extremely noisy display of the awesome beast.
I met Dennis at Cranfield when he took the reins of T5 XS458 He’d already taken the Canberra for a spin earlier in the day. Quite what he was doing in that photo above is unclear, the consensus around me was that someone forget to remove a tag.
Sadly I couldn’t stay for the VC10’s run but I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the chance to get so near to the aircraft. I probably won’t be back in August but I hope to get to one of the LPG’s events when they hold an evening photoshoot and fast run. Couple of things I’d change at Bruntingthorpe. I’d try to make the crowdline longer and get more food outlets as the queue for a coffee was rather long! There was an excellent selection of vendors, selling books, kits, art etc and several stalls supporting the resident aircraft.
All in all a worthwhile and enjoyable day. If you love your British Classic jets then a trip to Brunty is for you.
EDIT – June 2020 – Well it looks like the end of days for Brunty. The Bucanneers are moving to Kemble and there will be no more fast jet runs as the new owners are using the runway for storing cars. Quite what it means for the future of the Lightning’s, The Victor and the rest of the collection is very much up in the air. I hope a solution can be found to preserve our history.