When Waterbird’s replica takes flight on Lake Windermere it will be an astonishing sight. Its flight will commemorate the first ever flight by a seaplane, which took place here 100 years ago, piloted by Captain Edward Wakefield of Kendal. The flight will, without any doubt, attract the attention of the world’s TV and newspapers and, because it can only take place when the weather is clear and calm, it will show off the Lake District at its best.
This is something which the guardians of the Lakes, the National Park Authority, dearly wish to happen. There is however one snag, which is that in order to become airborne the craft will need to reach a speed of 35mph, which will break the 10mph speed limit which the Authority imposed against massive opposition several years ago. It takes only one minute for the plane to reach the required speed, so the Authority needs to grant an exemption for just one minute. If they grant the exemption they will be roundly condemned by some of their biggest supporters, people who would prefer the Lakes to be tranquil for ever and not receive any visitors at all. It will require quite a lot of courage for the Authority to grant the exemption. Which is about 100th of the courage required of that lone aviator 100 years ago.
The photo shows me with Ian Gee, who is organising the Waterbird flight, to whom I was pleased to be able to donate £1,000 from my Chairman’s charity at the Lakes Hospitality Association.