Paramotor pilot shares pictures of John O'Groats-Land's End flight

3 months ago 14
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By Martin Barber
BBC News

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionDaniel Jones started his trip of about 800 miles (1,300km) at John O'Groats in Scotland

"Being up there and seeing it with your own eyes is beautiful and totally different - the landscape just did it all."

Photographer Daniel Jones finally has his feet back on the ground after the paramotor trip of a lifetime - flying from John O'Groats in Scotland to Land's End in England to raise money for Alzheimer's Research UK in tribute to his grandparents who both died with dementia.

The 27-year-old from Norwich admitted to some "scary moments" on his way from Caithness to Cornwall including almost getting blown over a mountain and into a valley in the Cairngorms and being "caught" by a tree and swung into the ground after an engine failure in Somerset.

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionTurbulent winds in the Highlands caused Mr Jones some sickness. "I was really chucked about so it's probably best I just describe that particular flight as 'interesting'," he said

image sourceJohn Pavitt

image captionThe photographer, pictured over Devon, took up the hobby - a motorised form of paragliding - in 2019

"I wanted to do a challenge for me and to dedicate it to my grandparents as well," said Jones.

"No-one should have to go through what they went through. Dementia is such a dreadful disease, you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.

"I hope that by sharing my journey and what I've learned about the condition will help people become more aware of the devastating impact it can have on a family and the real need to find a cure for it."

media caption"It really has been unreal," said Mr Jones through floods of tears as he reached his fundraising target just after take-off in John O'Groats

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionThe journey involved more than 35 hours of flying, with his 67-year-old father Alan Jones driving a support vehicle

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionCairngorms National Park - Mr Jones set off on 16 August and reached Land's End the following Monday.

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionThe Yorkshire Dales - "I was flying anywhere from 500ft to 4,000ft (150m to 1,220m) and every single flight the terrain changed. If the weather had actually been as good as forecast I don't think I would have got as dramatic photos as I did," said the photographer

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionOne of the trickier sections was flying a low-level corridor between Manchester and Liverpool airports where Jones had to stay below 1,300ft (400m) and not veer off his course in order to keep the airspace clear for other flights

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionWeston-super-Mare in Somerset was one of 14 stops on the flight down the UK. Others included Glackmore near Inverness, Kincraig near Aviemore, Gretna Green on the England-Scotland border, Crewe in Cheshire, Hagley in Worcestershire, and Molton in Devon

Minutes after taking off from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, Mr Jones had to make an emergency landing due to an engine failure in "strong conditions", he said.

"When a tree snags your canopy, you're then basically like a pendulum with the force of a massive swing taking your towards the ground - I let out a huge scream," he added.

"My ankles hurt quite a bit but as I lay in the long grass I thought I'd better get up as the guy who was running over was going to think I wad dead."

media captionThe moment Daniel Jones was forced to make an emergency landing and crashed into a tree

image sourceDaniel Jones

image captionMount's Bay, Cornwall - "Dad and I have become much closer on this trip," said Jones. "Just working together to achieve a mutual goal - to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer's Research UK and thinking about his parents, my grandparents, who were the inspiration for the challenge."

image sourceDaniel Jones

image caption"Coming into Land's End I couldn't quite believe we'd done it. The support throughout had just been amazing, so many people came to talk to us, it was really exciting."

image sourceDaniel Jones

image caption"It's all be a bit overwhelming," said Daniel Jones. "I don't see dad cry that much, so when I saw his tears it brought it home we'd achieved something together that we could be really proud of."

Alzheimer's Research UK said that without the discovery of a cure it was estimated one in three people born today would develop dementia.

Mr Jones's target was £2,021, with JustGiving, Gift Aid and other pledged donations the total reached more than £10,000.

Photographs by Daniel Jones

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