31 MAY 1930, Page 12

To Scotland by Air

IT is delightful to go to Scotland ; it is delightful and exciting to go there by air ; and it is delightful, exciting and memorable to go there by air in the same aeroplane as the Prime Minister, particularly when the Prime Minister happens to be a Scotsman. On Friday, May 28rd, it was my good fortune to experience just this combination of circumstances, as a passenger in' the Imperial Airways liner which flew to Glasgow to play its part in the Renfrew Air Pageant. And it played a magnifi- cent part—in the three days, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it initiated over 8,000 people in the joys of flight and no doubt inspired many more thousands with a desire to fly.

After our luggage and our persons had been weighed, we motored from the Imperial Airways headquarters in Charles Street to Croydon Air Port, where Mr. Mac- Donald and his daughter had just arrived. Travelling with the " great " entails many delays and minor incon- veniences, but at .the same time it provides much enter- tainment. Mr. MacDonald and his daughter were held up throughout their trip by a regular bombardment of cameras. At last; however, we all settled down in the beautiful, triple-engined Armstrong-Siddeley air-liner ' The City of Glasgow ' which was to take us via Manchester and Edinburgh (where the Prime Minister was going to attend the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland) to Renfrew Aerodrome, Glasgow.

This " silver wing " air-liner has accommodation for twenty-two passengers ; the cabin is about six feet wide, with blue wicker chairs on either side of the' gangway, the upholstery is blue, and the ceiling, most appropriately, sky blue. At the side of each chair is a little semi-circular table ; each chair is provided with a rug, and there is a rack for hats, coats, &c., along the side of the cabin. Paper bags have been superseded" by tin receptacles. There is a lavatory at the end of the cabin. A steward is constantly in attendance offering drink, sandwiches, fruit, &c., prepared most skilfully in the very small space behind the passengers. The air-traveller is, in fact, provided with every comfort. I noticed with especial interest that directions with regard to life-belts and instructions as to how to open the emergency exits are written up in large clear type. No smoking is allowed, but I believe the question is being discussed and it is possible that it will be permitted at some future date.

The engines were switched on ; their roar was deafening and still more deafening while we raced along the ground, turned, and took off valiantly into the wind. The giant liner had embarked on its journey northwards. My first impression was of endless red brick—new buildings, generally in straight rows, dotted about all over the country ; and this impression remained predominant until we reached the Midlands. The land looked as clean and green as beech leaves in spring. No country could have put on prettier or more becoming clothes for the delight of its Prime Minister. Unused to flying in a cabin, Mr. MacDonald put on a leather coat and flying helmet, and sat outside with the pilot, on the mechanic's seat. It was a perfect flying day—there were no bumps or rolls, We flew at a height of about 4,000 feet in order to get above the light, fluffy white clouds. Clouds are like dream traffic which dissolves as one meets it. It amused me comparing the apparent difference between the speed of these clouds and their shadows on the land. From time to time we passed over some great manor house (a relic of feudal days) with its little village nearby. It is interesting to study the design and " layout" of these estates from the air—the architects who conceived them knew their job very well. The whole design generally includes not only the house and immediate setting, but even the roads of approach and the outline of the surrounding woods. Our present Aay architects and town plan- ning experts would do well to take this long and wide view.

There was nothing of especial interest in the flight from Croydon to Manchester, for the visibility was not very good, and it was not possible to see clearly the towns we passed by through the smoky mist which enveloped them. I understood better_ than I had ever understood before why the sun which shines on coal- burning cities is not warm, and why it does not give a clean, bright light. It is a terrible thought that this veil of dirt and dust could be lifted if its existence (and its cause) were realized by a sufficiently large number of people. As we flew northwards over industrial England, not only the cities but the whole land seemed to be wrapped in a grey cloud,' and I was told that this cloud is *ever present. But we in our aeroplane were above all this horror, under the blue sky of heaven with the sun pouring its life-force upon us.

It took us exactly two hours to fly from Croydon to Manchester. What energy and time would be saved by business men if we had a regular service connecting with the Paris and Berlin services from Manchester; Liverpool and Birmingham to Croydon'! We stopped for about half an hour, while the Prime 'Minister was given a civic reception, and we were allowed to share his sand- wiches.

At 1.15 we again took off for the most beautiful stretch of our flight. For some time there were factories to the left of us, factories to the right of us, factories below us, smoking and hooting. Then suddenly the country changed, the land took on a new and more definite form, . We were flying over great hills and valleys, with the Pennines on our right, and the Lake District on our telt. It was difficult to believe that this land below belonged to the same domestic, intimate country ' which we had left behind in the south. Soon—far too soon— the Solway Firth gleamed pale gold ahead with the smoke of Carlisle smearing its foreground. In a few seconds we had, crossed the border and were in Scotland. But my regrets were vain, for the beauty of Scotland can easily bear comparison with even the best that .ngland can offer. The mountains below were smooth and rounded, shaded from a greenish brown to a deep bright blue in the distance. Before I had time to take in the full lavishness of the country, .the Lion's Head and Arthur'i Seat loomed up on my right, on my left I caught sight of the Forth Bridge, and we were Circling round the Edinburgh aerodrome before landing the Prime Minister.

From Edinburgh to Glasgow is an unexciting flight. After about twenty minutes, a great black mass below proclaimed our arrival over the city of Glasgow. We serenaded our namesake by circling several times around the town before coming down at Renfrew Aerodrome.

The journey from .London to GlasgoW, via Manchester and Edinburgh, took us about five hours' flying time, and its cost is £5 5s. Our journey home, from Renfrew' Aero- drome, via Manchester, to Croydon was accomplished in the very short time of four hours and fifteen minutes. But time-saving, the comparative lowness of, cost, and the fun of flying are not the only advantages of air travel : it gives one an opportunity of seeing the world from a new angle, of seeing a country (in the space of a few hours) as a whole, as an individual, with. the infinite variety of an individual. rt is well worth while getting to knoW this " dear, dear lane' of ours a little more intimately, if only to see what the hand of man has done for it and what the hand of man may yet do. When we have a Prime Minister who travels by air as a matter of . • course, and when a girl of twenty-Seven flies her:own aeroplane from England to Australia,, and, except for bad luck, would have, beaten the time record of one of the world's" finest pilots, the day has come when we are justified in expecting to be provided with air services throughout the British Isles, linking up our main great cities. And, in my opinion, this day is not so very far