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The Mach Loop
The Old Vicarage B&B is situated directly under the flight path of The Mach Loop, where you can observe the passing aircraft whilst you enjoy breakfast, from your bedroom window or out on our terrace. We have been welcoming enthusiasts to our B&B, with tailored packages, since 2015.
The Mach Loop is named after the town of Machynlleth and is a low level flight training path through a series of valleys in mid Wales. East of the loop is Dinas Mawddwy, West is Dolgellau, heading South is Corris, through the famous "Corris Corner" where we are located, South is Machynlleth.
For our Mach Loop package breaks see our Packages
or head over to Book Online
Planes will only fly in fair weather, Monday to Friday, and not on bank holidays. Late summer is considered 'peak', however we see a ramp up from early April, all the way through to October
Check-out RAF website for the latest training timetable. (Although this does not indicate if they WILL fly, just WHEN they are approved to fly)
The flight path goes directly over The Old Vicarage, so you can still catch the planes even if you'd like a day away from The Hill
If you're bringing an ABRS try the following frequencies
278.000 – NATO Low level
280.350 – West ICF
292.525 – Lichfield Radar Corridor
If you're heading to CAD East or West. Arrive early in order to get a spot (pre- 9AM). It's a large lay-by and fills up quickly in peak season.
Speak to us about packing your breakfast to go for free and pre-booking packing lunches (adn. cost)
Make use 360Radar to observe traffic (scroll down for more info)
Directions to Cad East/West Parking area
What will I see?
RAF F-35A Lightning II fighter jets
US Air Force F-15C Eagles
And plenty more, we've even seen the red arrows train here...
We have a subscription to 360Radar which you are welcome to view on our guest lounge television.
This is useful to gauge how 'active' the air bases are before you set off for the hill.
Whilst not ALL military planes are signalled, 360Radar has good coverage.
Alternatively, you can sign up for the service before you arrive:
Some itinerary ideas
Corris Craft Centre
The Corris Craft Centre is located just around the corner from The Old Vicarage.
This is a good option if you want to give your significant other, some fun activities to do whilst you still get to enjoy the aircraft.
They have a Mach Loop information area with details of the aircraft that fly over the Craft Centre and through the Mach Loop.
There’s free all day parking, many craft studios, a gin distillery, a café with outdoor seating (great viewing area) plus the King Arthur’s Labyrinth and Corris Mine Explorers underground attractions start here too.
Famed for it's phenomenal views you can't miss the parking spot if you head on the A470 towards Dinas Mawddwy.
As it lies before a type of 'junction' in the loop, you'll get the most amount of traffic here, as the planes can split off in three different directions once they get near the Cross Foxes.
Continue on past The Bwlch parking if you're after a Bluebell Hill view.
After you've had your fill of aircraft carry on down into Dinas Mawddwy, there's Camlan a small garden centre which has a brilliant selection of local produce, and great coffee. Dinas is lovely to walk around. There's also the Brigands Inn close by for dinner.
Sea front view
If you're tracking aircraft on the radar you'll see some activity out off the coast.
You can often get a good spot on Aberystwyth seafront or Tywyn and enjoy the planes flying out. At this point they are not low flying, but still, you get to enjoy the seaside, an ice-cream, and see a plane or two.
Cad is short for Cadair Idris, the group of peaks set on the North side of the valley, the highest peak being Penygadair.
Aside from being sat on the terrace at The Old Vicarage, the next closest spot to view the aircraft is Cad East and West
On the West hill, the aircraft come from your left.
If you are lucky, they will sometimes take a left in to Corris Corner, potentially giving you the opportunity for a second pass.
Going to the Cross Foxes after for dinner is always good as it's often full of people who have been up on the hill, a good opportunity to compare shots from the day
Once the aircraft comes by Cad E/W the infamous Corris Corner is up next. The aircraft will either bank a sharp left and head up to us at The Old Vicarage, or they will just continue straight on over Tallylyn lake and on to the coast.
You can park up at the Dol Idris Carpark and take a walk to find a view point you like.
Cad East, worth the lengthier walk due to the stunning views out toward Y Bala and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).
The aircraft approach on your right.
Further afield, so one for those of you staying for a longer stay. Head out to Anglesey to see RAF Valley. 1 hr 40 drive.
RAF Valley, Holyhead, Anglesey, LL65 3NY.
Safely watch aircraft at RAF Valley from the viewing area near the railway bridge, opposite the Station main gate.
Try the White Eagle for dinner.
Just the activity of driving the approximate route of the Mach Loop can be an experience in itself.
The aircraft at times come so low you feel you need to duck.
If you've had too much sun exposure on the hill, get in the car and drive to Machynlleth using the satnav. If its in peak time, you'll be treated to some spectacular overtaking!
Once you get to Mach, consider stopping off for a bite to eat. Clay Bakery, the yellow building on the high street, is particularly good.
For some, spending 5 days on Cad West can get you the incredible shots you're after, but if you want some variety of photographs from different angles, or you're bringing a partner who perhaps...doesn't share your level of enthusiasm... you can mix up your stay with some of these ideas.