Our third attempt in the last year to fly to the Loire and do a Chateaux Tour by microlight - something I've wanted to do for a long time. Following the weather, as we always do, we were then taken east to Epernay, the Champagne region and an entirely unplanned and moving overfly of my great uncle's Great War grave in northern France. It was hot, turbulent, bumpy flying all the way but we loved every minute and really didn't want it to end.
Arriving at Le Touquet with my "Lovely Girl"
Heading for beers on the beach at Le Touquet
Sun goes down at beautiful Le Touquet
Climbing out from Le Touquet on route to the Loire
Crossing the mighty Seine
Passing Le Mans up high to get out of the thermals for a wee while
The Loire - our target river - looking east from near Saumur
Saumur - our destination
A quick coffee while we acclimatise to the Loire warmth
Our room - the Londres Hotel, Saumur - thoroughly recommended
High street, Saumur
The chateau at Saumur on the Loire
A day off from flying - the top tower of Chateau Saumur
Chateau Saumur's unusual gardens overlooking the river
On a wine cave tour in Saumur's Louis De Grenelle winery, ahead of tasting 6 "champagnes"!
Brazilian entertainment in Saumur
All we needed at Saumur
Chateaux Tour No 1 - saying goodbye to fantastic Saumur
Loire grapes as far as the eye can see
Chateaux Tour No 2 - Azay Le Rideau - big disappointment as it was wrapped in plastic
Chateaux Tour No 3 - into controlled airspace to see the incredible gardens of Villandry
Chateaux Tour No 4 - the reason we are here - Chenonceau
Chateaux Tour No 5 - Amboise - it's there, on a hilltop in the middle of town
One of dozens of unknown chateaux that we stumbled across on the banks of the Loire
Chateaux Tour No 6 - Disney-like and magnificent Chambord
Into the Champagne region - vines to the back door of every house in the village
Ridicuclously ostentatious Avenue de Champagne in Epernay
On the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay - we couldn't not?
Ready to go looking for Aubrey at Cambrai
Great Uncle Aubrey Woodhawks - British Military Cemetery, Moeuvres
Setting up camp at warm and windy Saint Omer
Inside the enormous cathedral in Saint Omer
Inside the enormous cathedral to aviation at Saint Omer
Drying the wing in the rising sun at Saint Omer
Browsing the Saint Omer war memorial as we wait for our flight plan slot for the Channel crossing. Took off 9.00am exactly as per our plan - landed at Headcorn in Kent at 9.01am.
Unmistakable re-introduction to England
Interesting to stumble across the Millbrook (automobile) Proving Ground at Bedford after a wee detour to the Isle of Wight for lunch
Dawn at Fenland, before the flight home to East Fortune
1,748 miles flown