Luton to Glasgow in 50 minutes

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright December 2010, Thomas Nugent; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

Join me on a scheduled easyJet flight from London Luton Airport to Glasgow International Airport. All photos were taken from the same flight on 4th September 2010. Unfortunately much of The Midlands and northwest England were covered by a blanket of cloud and are not featured here.

May I have your attention please, even if you are a frequent flyer, whilst the crew give some tips for photography from commercial flights:-

  1. Fly during the hours of daylight as night time shots do not always work out well.
  2. Choose a window seat, don't stretch over someone to get your photos.
  3. Choose a seat with a full window - not two half windows, split between rows.
  4. Choose a seat in front of the engines to avoid vapour and heat trails
  5. Know your direction of travel and choose a seat away from the sunny side of the aircraft.
  6. Be aware that electronic cameras should not be used during take-off & landing.
  7. Do not sit in the front row or you will be told by cabin crew to switch the camera off during take-off and landing (see 6, above).
  8. Wipe the window with a clean hanky.
  9. When taking a photo, touch the window lightly with the camera to improve stability.
  10. To avoid reflections of the writing around the lens, do not hold the camera square-on to the window. The same applies if your lens has a silver or light coloured ring around it.
  11. Do not use flash.
  12. Use bracket exposure - take three shots each time.
  13. The best photos are taken when the aircraft banks to your side - so be prepared.
  14. Be prepared to do some post-processing to eliminate the \"fogging\" effect caused by the triple glazed window.
  15. Switch off beeps and shutter noises - your camera will be very close to the ear of the passenger in front (unless flying Business or First Class :-) ).

Here we go - fasten your seatbelt!

A map of the route

Great Offley (8:25:18)

TL1527 : Great Offley from the air by Thomas Nugent

The flight took off towards the north and the landing gear was barely up when this photo was taken. Great Offley is the main village of Offley Parish and is located on the easternmost edge of the Chilterns. Signs of chalk can be seen on the fringes of the fields in the foreground. The road is the A505. LinkExternal link

North Luton (8:25:41)

TL1026 : North Luton from the air by Thomas Nugent

The distinctive triangular shape of Ward's Wood can be seen under a solitary cloud in the foreground. The John Bunyan Trail LinkExternal link is a 77 mile long footpath between Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes which passes through the fields in the foreground. South Beds. Golf Club can be seen to the right.

Barton Le Clay (8:25:52)

TL1032 : Barton Le Clay from the air by Thomas Nugent

Higham Gobian is at the foot of the photo, with the villages of Harlington and Westoning visible at the top. Barton Le Clay is visible between the clouds, bounded by the A6 road. This village is mentioned in The Doomsday Book. LinkExternal link

Ampthill and Maulden (8:26:50)

TL0538 : Ampthill and Maulden from the air by Thomas Nugent

Ampthill LinkExternal link has a population of 6000 and it also gets a mention in The Domesday Book. The smaller settlement of Maulden LinkExternal link (population 3000) is nearest the camera and is also featured in The Domesday Book.

The Millbrook Golf Club (8:27:22)

TL0038 : The Millbrook Golf Club from the air by Thomas Nugent

Unfortunately Milbrook vehicle testing ground is obscured by the clouds
to the right of the golf course.

Milton Keynes (8:27:05, 8:27:48 & 8:28:00)

TL0038 : Milton Keynes from the air by Thomas Nugent
SP8940 : Milton Keynes from the air by Thomas Nugent
SP8940 : Milton Keynes from the air by Thomas Nugent

The Milbrook Golf Club is to the lower left in the first image and the distinctive X-scape building can be seen in the centre of the second photo. LinkExternal link Willen Lake and the M1 are in the foreground.

Cranfield Airport (8:28:25)

SP9543 : Cranfield Airport from the air by Thomas Nugent

Anyone who flies regularly will know that the country is dotted with old RAF bases, most of which are no longer in military or commercial use (at least not as airfields). Cranfield opened in 1937 in anticipation of WWII and closed immediately at the end of that war. It reopened soon afterwards as a flight training school and is now a commercial airfield. LinkExternal link

Northampton (8:30:20)

SP7660 : Northampton from the air by Thomas Nugent

The rugby and soccer grounds can be seen to the top right of the photo, as can the 418 feet high National Lift Tower (formerly known as the Express Lifts Tower). LinkExternal link

Rugby (8:32:13 & 8:32:30)

SP5377 : Rugby from the air by Thomas Nugent
SP5679 : Rugby from the air by Thomas Nugent

The railway station is the distinctive feature of these photos, with the cement works just beyond, towards the top of the photo.

Entering thick clouds now, see you in The Lake District.

Crummock Water (8:53:32)

NY1820 : Crummock Water from the air by Thomas Nugent

Having broken through the clouds which covered Manchester and the northwest, we are rewarded with spectacular views of the northern lakes. Crummock Water is in the centre with many other lakes also visible in the photo. All part of The Lake District National Park. LinkExternal link

Grassmoor and Crummock Water (8:53:46)

NY1821 : Grasmoor and Crummock Water from the air by Thomas Nugent

The low light from the south east highlights the dramatic 852 metre high Grassmoor and surrounding crags. The northern tip of Crummock Water can also be seen.

Cockermouth (8:54:42)

NY1330 : Cockermouth from the air by Thomas Nugent

The town has a population of just under 8000 and although conveniently placed for access to the northern lakes, Cockermouth is just outside The Lake District. Located at the confluence of the rivers Cocker and Derwent, the town is prone to severe flooding, the most recent incident being in November 2009.

The River Nith (8:58:25)

NY0066 : River Nith from the air by Thomas Nugent

Having just crossed the Solway, we are now in Scotland and can just see the River Nith through the clouds as it enters the Solway, through the mudflats, south of Kirkconnel.

Wanlockhead (9:03:09) and Leadhills & Wanlockhead (9:03:23)

NS8712 : Wanlockhead from the air by Thomas Nugent
NS8815 : Leadhills and Wanlockhead from the air by Thomas Nugent

At 432 metres above sea level, Scotland's highest village owes its existence to the lead and other minerals that were once mined here. The mines are now closed, but a museum remains to tell the story. Robert Burns visited a few times and was inspired to write one of his poems here, "Pegasus at Wanlockhead".

Forest near Glespin (9:04:47)

NS8326 : Forest near Glespin from the air by Thomas Nugent

The forest is beside Glentaggart opencast coal mine and the conveyor from the mine passes through the forest on the way to the rail terminal at Ravenstruther.

Glentaggart opencast coal mine (9:04:58)

NS8127 : Glentaggart opencast coal mine from the air by Thomas Nugent

One of several opencast coal mines in the area and a frequent target for "climate change activists" who have stopped the conveyor running in the recent past.

Opencast workings at Glenbuck (9:06:00)

NS7330 : Opencast workings at Glenbuck from the air by Thomas Nugent

King Coal again as we head west into Ayrshire for the approach to Glasgow from the southwest. It's around this point the flights to Glasgow from the south either turn left to approach from the southwest or continue north to approach from Stirlingshire to the northeast.

Muirkirk and Smallburn (9:06:27)

NS6930 : Muirkirk andSmallburn from the air by Thomas Nugent

Coal and iron were the industries here, but they have long gone, with the exception of the many opencast mines which dot the area, one of which can be seen to the top right of the photo. Muirkirk was a hotbed of the Covenanter's movement and was the birthplace of the man who invented the modern day road - John Loudon McAdam.

Head of Greenock Water (9:06:43)

NS6931 : Head of Greenock Water from the air by Thomas Nugent

Greenock Water is a tributary of the River Ayr. It is nowhere near the town of Greenock on the River Clyde. The road in this photo is the B743 between Muirkirk and Drumclog.

Slouch Moss (9:07:33)

NS6234 : Slouch Moss from the air by Thomas Nugent

Not much here apart from trees and moorland and a little
lochan for wildfowling.

Changue Farm (9:08:12)

NS5735 : Changue Farm from the air by Thomas Nugent

The farm is just south of Darvel. On Google Maps, the farm is surrounded by green fields which suggests that most of the trees have been planted fairly recently.

Newmilns (9:08:44)

NS5337 : Newmilns from the air by Thomas Nugent

The village has a population of around 3000 and is known for lace making. Lace making her can be traced to the end of the 16th Century and the arrival of Hugenot refugees. Most of the lace mills have closed, but the industry survives in the village today. LinkExternal link

Galston (9:08:56)

NS5037 : Galston from the air by Thomas Nugent

Galston has a population of around 5000 and is the westernmost of the three towns in the Upper Irvine Valley, the others being Newmilns and Darvel. Noted recently for Loudoun Castle theme park which was just out of shot to the bottom of the photo and which closed recently.

Rowallan Castle and Kilmarnock (9:10:27)

NS4342 : Rowallan Castle and Kilmarnock from the air by Thomas Nugent

The grounds are now a first class golf course, the first in the UK designed by 2010 Ryder Cup winning captain, Colin Montgomerie. LinkExternal link

Beith and Kilbirnie (9:12:22 & 9:12:33)

NS3453 : Bonded warehouses from the air by Thomas Nugent
NS3453 : Beith and Kilbirnie from the air by Thomas Nugent

Kilbirnie has a population of around 7000 and was an iron and steel town until the works closed in the mid 1980s. It is now pretty much a dormitory town with little or no industry. Beith is large village at the opposite side of Kilbirnie Loch and is a convenient dormitory for Glasgow and Paisley which are just along the A737.

Castle Semple Loch (9:13:18)

NS3658 : Castle Semple Loch from the air by Thomas Nugent

The loch is within the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and is home to a watersports centre and a RSPB nature reserve. The Glasgow to Ayr railway line runs along the south bank and a disused loop of the same line, running through Lochwinnoch on the north bank, is now a cycle path, part of the National Cycle Network.LinkExternal link

Kilbarchan (9:14:09)

NS4162 : Kilbarchan from the air by Thomas Nugent

The village was historically a weaving centre and is today home to the Weavers Cottage museum. With a population of around 3000, it lies in the shadow of nearby Johnstone.

Remains of Paton's Mill (9:14:31)

NS4263 : Remains of Paton's Mill from the air by Thomas Nugent

The mill was a landmark at the western entrance to the town and was actively producing shoe and boot laces until 2003. See this great website for details LinkExternal link

Johnstone (9:14:42)

NS4363 : Johnstone from the air by Thomas Nugent

Hopefully the landing gear is down now as we pass over the photographer's
birthplace, three miles from the airport.

Linwood (9:14:58 & 9:15:09)

NS4364 : Linwood from the air by Thomas Nugent
NS4464 : Linwood from the air by Thomas Nugent

Linwood was home to a large car factory which could reputedly churn out Hillman Imps at the rate of one every thirty seconds. Railway vehicles were also made here by the Pressed Steel company which shared a site with the car factory. The factory site is now an out of town shopping and leisure complex, with some industry surviving in the form of warehousing and distribution at the south side of the site.

Middleton Farm (9:15:25)

NS4565 : Middleton Farm from the air by Thomas Nugent

The farm is on the southern final approach to Glasgow and was the scene of a plane crash in 1999 which claimed the lives of eight Airtours crew who were on a transfer flight to Aberdeen. A worker from this farm rescued three people from the wreckage.

Candrens and Boghead (9:15:37)

NS4565 : Candrens and Boghead from the air by Thomas Nugent

A cluster of farms by the A737 at the eastern edge of extensive flat land which extends to Bishopton and Houston. The area of trees in the distance is the former Royal Ordnance Factory at Bishopton.

The M8 at Glasgow Airport (9:15:45)

NS4665 : M8 at Glasgow Airport from the air by Thomas Nugent

Only yards from the end of the runway now, southern expansion of which is blocked by the motorway and the Glasgow to Gourock and Wemyss Bay railway line. Note the farm track on the left, which is one of several which were severed by the construction of the motorway.

Glasgow Airport (9:16:17 & 9:16:47)

NS4766 : Glasgow Airport by Thomas Nugent
NS4867 : Glasgow Airport by Thomas Nugent

In the first photo, the M&Co HQ building at Inchinnan industrial estate whizzes past seconds after touch-down. In the second photo the large building is the Rolls Royce plant at the former India of Inchinnan tyre factory site which was also the site of an airship factory.

Welcome to Glasgow. Please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened until the captain switches off the seatbelt sign. I look forward to seeing you on another geograph flight soon.
You are not logged in login | register