Note And Photos From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.
Who can forget the Hovercraft. There were great hopes for these giants and many believed they were to be the saviour in many marsh type environments. The invention by Cockerwill was a triumph in British technology. I remember making small versions with biscuit tins and hair dryers, but the sight of the real thing was fantastic.
The first meeting came when I had a chance to cross the English Channel on the car transporter. I stood on the shore and watched as this great lumbering machine pulled into the harbour, left the water and started to come up onto dry land. It didn’t seem real, but there it was, all noise and fluttering skirts.
Cars were unloaded and people walked up the slope towards customs. We sat in our cars until the signal was given to start loading and down we went. It was similar to that of entering any ferry. Once seated you were aware that the engines were powering up and you were starting to float. Slowly the beast turned and moved forward. We were off.
Down the slope we seemed to slide until the the slight bumps told us we were on the sea and gradually entering the channel. The power increased and the craft bucked a little as it hit the waves. It lifted high enough to tackle the waves without too much of a problem and the forward speed increased. Great, unless you were sea sick ! On the journey the sea swell was kind and I remember only the fantastic speed for such a large craft floating on the surface of the water. We passed the ferry and crossed in front of tankers and other large ships on their way to and from the Atlantic. This had to be the way to travel.
Waiting at Dover.
A similar experience on a lesser scale could be enjoyed crossing to the Isle of Wight. The hovercraft was smaller, but just as impressive.
Bound for the Isle of Wight
Now, sadly, the hovercraft is no more. It enjoyed the affections of the public for a short while and now only survives in specialist roles and with hobbyists that keep the spirit alive.