A Very Brief History Of BFGC
The Blackpool and Fylde Gliding Club was formed by Jack Aked in 1950, at Blackpool
Airport (Squires Gate). The club remained there until 1965 when gliding became incompatible
with the increasing level of power flying. Luckily British Aerospace provided a
solution and the club moved to Samlesbury. The gliders were kept on site in trailers
and had to be de-rigged at the end of each day, unless permission was given to keep
the gliders in a hangar, usually alongside a Canberra, over Saturday night.
The arrangement at Samlesbury was always subject to continued permission from BAe
and to guarantee security and continued development of the club, it was important
that we owned a site. It was well known by the officials of the club that the Bowland
fells would provide good soaring and a site within gliding range of the hills was
sought. Eventually a retiring farmer was found whose farm was in a location that
gave gliding access to South, East and Westerly hill faces - a rare opportunity!
Trial flights were made using a portable winch and scaffolding poles to guide the
winch cable over hedges. Keith Emslie, one of our isnstructors for many years, had the
honour of being the first to soar the hills on October 1st 1967. Planning Permission
was eventually obtained and in 1971 the site was purchased with the help of interest
free loans from members. The work then started.
The depressions that can still be seen on the field used to be hedges which were
removed and the ditches drained and filled by members who travelled over from Samlesbury
as working parties.
The club has progressed immeasurably since that day. We all owe a lot to the elder
members of the club who gave us the foundations on which to build a first rate gliding
club. In 1993, having recently lost planning permission for aerotow, we decided
to reinforce our link with the area by changing the club name to reflect our geographic
location - hence the present name, Bowland Forest Gliding Club.