We headed up to Staple Hill but drove on past the overflowing car parks, the cars parking up on the verge and the hundreds of people. From Longcross car park we walked to Tank Hill where we surveyed Chobham Common in all directions. It was just before 11 and there were the three of us assembled with one man and his dog.
The advance party of nine RAF Typhoons soon emerged out of the cloud and that was it then for nearly an hour and a half. The man and his dog departed but we were joined by a few others to create a jolly little party with a top-perch view of people below on their purposeful traipsing across the heathscape. Above us were sky and birds - four buzzards circling in thermals - and aerobatic planes, mini-size ones that is, directed by those magnificent men with their scaled-down flying machines who are Chobham Common’s model flyers.
The main flypast came over a few minutes before 12.30, starting with a mass of RAF, Army and Navy helicopters, then the veterans, Spitfires and Lancasters, and a stream of Tucanos, Hercules, a VC10, Hawks and finally the Red Arrows leaving a trail behind them.
One Red Arrow peeled off and headed off back in the direction it had come. Was it is in trouble? We concluded perhaps there is always an extra plane in reserve in case of problems and that Chobham was where it was "stood down".
Military hardware usually leaves me cold but this was a memorable spectacle, with the excitement as much in the anticipation of scanning the horizon as in the event itself. One day we can tell our futuregrandchildren about it but we won’t be showing them many photographs. The aircraft were too high and the day too overcast for our relatively puny camera.
Did anyone else take any pictures they would be happy to share?