Trains, Planes and WhitethroatsWild West Yorkshire nature diary, Scottish excursion, Monday 10th May 1999
I ALWAYS FEEL A BIT GUILTY, leaving the crowds waiting in the limbo of the departure lounges, but once I've checked in, and made sure I've got a window seat, I walk out of the revolving doors of Terminal One, Manchester and find my way past anonymous hotels and a maze of service roads.
At first the trees are recognisably 'landscaping', but none the worse for that, with plenty of native species such a Rowans, Whitebeam and Field Maple. But after ten of fifteen minutes walk I'm in what is recognisably the ancient countryside of the Cheshire Plain. There are flat green meadows, intriguing footpaths, stag-headed oaks and old cottages. Memorials and buildings recall the airport's origins as the wartime RAF Ringways airbase.
It beats sitting there watching the departures on the monitors, but I head back in good time for coffee and a croissant overlooking acres of concrete backed by hangers and terminals. I remember how Manchester Airport had to remove New Age protesters including the celebrated tunneler 'Swampy' in order to cut down the trees and fill in the ponds to create this brave new landscape for travellers like me.
The varied greens of farmland and woods make May a good time of year to get an aerial view of the countryside. Soon above the cloud, we fly so close the isolated mountains of cumulus that tower above the general level, that I feel I could almost reach out and touch them.