The club today Our neighbours Start of a flying day Our two winches
Original members. Jack Aked is on the left. The first winch. Slingsby T21 on tow. Gordon Bleasedale in a Kirby Cadet Rigging the T21

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.