Friday, 3 April 2009

In Defiance of the Ban - Percy F.Westerman

The Yorkshire interest of this book lasts for the first 23 pages. There are 320 pages in the book - most of which is concerned with an expedition to a fictional South American country.

Unfortunately none of the illustrations concern themselves with events in this description of Yorkshire topography.Alan Brampton builds his own aircraft which has much in common with the flight characteristics of an early helicopter. Without a licence or a certificate of air-worthiness he decides to embark upon his maiden flight. We are not at all surprised when the 'flip' into the air lends in an accident that spares his life but which means that he is laid up in a large Yorkshire house for quite a period. It seems,however, he has also crashed his way into an adventure.

The flight begins in the Cleveland Hills district of North Yorkshire. The engines for the new plane have been picked up in an auction sale of motorbike parts in Darlington. We learn that the handyman who helped Alan has gone into Stockton for the day. These reassuring real Yorkshire names mean that we don't pay much attention to the name of the local village which appears to be called Mexworth. The top of Mexworth Church tower is eighty feet from the ground compared with the 200 feet he soars near the beginning of his first flight.

What he sees next is most interesting,'He could discern the smoking factory chimneys of Darlington and Teeside on his right. On his left the Cleveland Hills, many miles away, still cut the clear skyline, while ahead the gaunt Pennines limited his range of vision in that direction.'He manages to turn his flimsy craft to point to the north east.'Ahead, beyond the expanse of land, he could discern the sea from Tynemouth to Flamborough Head.'He moves onwards and in ten minutes he is over Saltburn.

He flies south along the coast and passes Runswick Bay and takes in the sight of St. Hilda's Abbey in Whitby.Then he decides that he should make for home and remarks that the course of the little river would take him back in sight of Mexworth. For a while the 'silvery Esk' guides him on his way but then trouble arrives in the form of bad weather. He has to get down, rather drastically, in very bad weather. To all intents and purposes that is the end of Yorkshire in this book !

It is just the beginning of the expedition to South America and more flying and then underwater adventures.

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