Mach Loop – some additional information

 I thought that the name came from Mach 1, Mach 2 etc – supersonic flight speeds. I didn’t realise that the ‘Mach Loop’ was named after a town that I’ve visited numerous times since 1973 – Machynlleth. At one time I applied for a job at a school there. The application form was all in Welsh. I didn’t fill it in. Since then though I have made an effort every so often to learn some Welsh. This has helped me when interpreting the landscape I’m walking through. When I managed to get a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group to have their expedition project to be relating the current land form and use to its meaning in Welsh, the Welsh born and speaking Assessor was delighted. ‘CAD West’ is from Cadair Idris, the highest mountain in the area ( Chair of Idris ). Folklore has it that sleeping on the mountain top will either turn you mad or enhance your a poet. I leave it to your own judgement what the effect on me was …………..

Bwlch is Pass or gap. Twll is hole – Twll Ddu – black hole.

The area of the loop is to the North of Machynlleth, following the A470 for part of the route.

The RAF supply some details of when flights might take place. This can be found at:

Low Flying Area Schedules – MOD

Compression in images is down to focal length, not due to a lens being a zoom. Longer focal lengths compress the perception of depth in a scene with wider focal lengths doing the reverse.

Focal length: I do not know if the examples shown that used a 500mm lens that were thought to be too tight were on a Canon 1.6 factor APS-C sensor camera or a ‘full frame one. If it was on their 1.6x ‘crop’ sensor, remember that cropping in gives the field of view of a 800mm lens on ‘full frame’.

The nearest I’ve been to a jet in flight was on the eastern slopes of the Brecon Beacons. After a walking day I headed up the slope with a friend who intended to do a bit of summer evening paragliding. Once up there he considered the wind to be insufficient, the chute was barely filling out let alone lifting up. Mistakenly he encouraged me to try the harness on and feel a bit of lift. No sooner was I in the harness than a gust gave me lift off. Moments later an RAF Jet came past lower down the valley. What followed resembled the opening scene of the movie ’24 hour party people’ although, thankfully, I didn’t end up straddling some barbed wire.

As for Chinook’s, my classroom and flat in Aldershot shook when they came by and the Farnborough Airshow’s turning circle was directly above. The massive Russian Antonov An-225 seemed to briefly black out the room. Only the low level fly past of Concorde at an airshow held at Rolls Royce Leavesden airfield out-did that for ground shaking noise. The previous show I just sat on the roof of my Mother’s bungalow, the airfield was the other side of the road. Now the airfield and factory is the ‘Harry Potter studios’.


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