These videos really show how the cat flew through the air – pawing the wind like water as it went! Thanks to Ben for sending them in. If you’ve taken any photos or videos of the Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival, please add them to the comments below.
And a question – do the local council make a profit from the Bike and Kite festival? My initial assumption was no, until I saw the number of traffic wardens roaming around over the weekend… They looked like they were issuing a bumper crop of parking tickets!
If you didn’t manage to go to the Bike and Kite festival on Saturday, then try and go on Sunday. It was really something special, as the video above by YouTube user Jadepike4 demonstrates.
There are always two distinct camps of kite fliers: The model fliers, like inverse puppeteers with their enormous hovering cats, people and teddy bears looming over us. And the stunt fliers, flinging their synchronised kites through the air. I wonder whether the two tribes get along. Do the stunt fliers look down on the modellers as tacky and gauche? Do the modellers think of the stunt fliers as showy and macho? Or maybe not. Maybe they’re just happy to be up in the air.
Here’s an idea for next year – one up from the flying cats (great though they were). In the 16th Century, the Chinese invented a man-lifting kite. This would draw in the crowds next year! Okay, it may be a little dangerous, but could be very exciting too… Perhaps I’ll volunteer to get hoisted up. Makes a change from attaching an old Nokia to a kite.
Click on the Keep Reading link below to view my hundreds of photos – apologies for the dodgy quality, there are far better ones inside the Flickr Blackheath collection.
UPDATE: This post has been modified from the original – please see the comments for details.
As I write this, it is blowing a gale outside the Bugle’s window… I think the glass might actually rattle its way out of the window frames. So it seemed like an appropriate moment to put up these two videos of kites dancing over Blackheath, taken by youtube user jadepike4. Perhaps we should invest in those Blackheath wind farms after all.
Spotted in flickr user awesman72‘s album:
It looks so much fun, flying over the heath, I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of photoshopping…
It really is incredible how much lift these modern kites have. I’m sure we could power our houses with it one day.
Taken with the horrible camera phone as usual I’m afraid, but they should give you an idea. Sunday seemed to be the best day weather-wise, but there were fewer people than I had imagined there would be.
The Bugle was delighted to get his bike fixed up by the Bike Doctors (I think her name was Betty – thanks again!). It’s a really useful, free service, so a quick plug to Cycle Training who provided it.
Just a quick reminder – the bike and kite festival (official page) starts tomorrow (Saturday June 14th & 15h) at 11am – 4pm. It should be a great day, the weather is looking not completely disastrous, although the BBC weather site seems to be getting less optimistic by the hour. An umbrella might be a wise accessory, along with a camera, so that you can send me a photo or two to brighten up the Bugle.
If you’ve got friends coming, tell them not to drive, as there is no parking laid on, and parking is a nightmare at the best of times in Blackheath (so much so that in my more anarchic moments I’ve considered posting a cut-out-and-keep fake parking permit especially for Bugle readers… maybe another time).
I’m personally looking forward to the news that:
Former UK Experienced Pair Champions: Husband and wife Allan and Marilyn Pothecary, also known as Close Encounters, will be demonstrating various exhibition displays.
Makes me smile for some reason. Did they used to be experienced, but they’re not any more? It must be some sort of kiting lingo that I’m not familiar with…
(The youtube clip isn’t me, just an example of the many youtube clips on kite flying in Blackheath).
UPDATE: The shop has now closed down, and the shop is currently unoccupied. A great shame.
If you’re looking for a kite to prepare you for the Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival on June 14th-15th, then you could do a lot worse than to take a look in Furley and Baker. I would have called it a sports shop, but I’m sure they do a lot of business selling kites there (they’re prominently displayed in the window). Oddly enough, I couldn’t find any kites on their website, so perhaps they only stock them at the Blackheath shop, to pick up the business on the common (as it were).
They were very helpful when I enquired – they have kids kites from £10, up to scary looking aeroplane wing-type things that could drag you off beyond Blackheath common into the wild blue yonder. The stunt kites go up to £95, but looked like you could get a good one for about £60.
UPDATE: If you’re looking for info about the 2010 Bike and Kite Festival – please go to this page: Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival 2010.
UPDATE: If you’re looking for info about the 2009 Bike and Kite Festival – please go to this page: Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival 2009.
The Blackheath Bike and Kite festival looks like it should be a great event – it is happening over the weekend of 14th & 15th June, on the heath, and from Lewisham Council’s website, it looks like it will be free of charge. The bugle will be flying a kite (if permitted). In the meantime, some practice will be necessary. In other kite-related news, this blog post by M Johnson demonstrates attaching a mobile phone to a kite, and videoing the results! The bugle feels that this shows a high degree of trust in both the strength of the mobile phone, and skill of the kite flier… Not sure my “controlled landings” would be up to this…
Ariel kite photography has been a big thing on the web for a while- I remember reading about someone who built a camera timer based on an ice-cube and an elastic band – when the kite is in the air, the ice-cube melts, forcing a piece of wood to press the shutter on the camera (this back in 1999, before mobile phones and digital cameras were cheap as Blackheath fish & chips). Just found the page – it’s a bit dusty, but if you blow on it a bit, you should be able to find it behind this link.
If anyone has any examples of Blackheath ariel photography, please let me know!
The photo on this post is by Flickr user Ronnie44052 and is used under a Creative Commons license. And yes, that sky is far too blue to be in the UK.