Do you remember Llanbedr Airfield in its heyday, when it employed over 200 people, and there was a rush hour in the village morning and evening as everyone bustled too and from work?
Those who can will also remember the rather special collection of ageing jets that the airfield was home to at that time, as well as the pilotless Jindiviks in their smart yellow and orange livery, and the trainee fast jet pilots in their Hawks who use to come down from Valley to practice circuits from the airfield. The sound of those aircraft told us all that Llanbedr’s biggest employer was alive and open for business. In the months after the airfield closed in 2004, the silence was a dismal reminder of what had passed.
Next week, from 7th – 11th August, some of those sounds will return to Llanbedr. As the National Eisteddfod will be held at Bodedern on Anglesey, close enough to Valley Airfield for the music and poetry to be disrupted by aircraft noise, daytime training is to be temporally moved to Llanbedr. Once again, Hawk trainers will be making their approaches to the airfield, touching down, and then climbing out over the bay, reminding us of the old days.
There may be some who will find the aircraft noise a bit disruptive after all these years, but those of us who can remember the airfield as far back as the early 1950s, when Fairy Fireflys and Mosquitoes seemed to be permanently in the air, will recognise it as the heartbeat of a working airfield that contributed so much to the local economy for so many years. It’s a bit like the occasional congestion at the bridge in the village, which reminds us that it is now summer holiday time – even if the weather hasn’t woken up to the fact – and tourists are once again bringing the economic lifeblood of passing trade to the pubs and other businesses in the centre of the village.
This is a bit of very welcome news coming from the airfield. Flying operations will be supported by both local personnel and the RAF’s own air traffic controllers. Lets hope that this might be a first step in restoring the old links with Valley.