I was reading an article in the Dalesman magazine a while back about how the people of Ilton are trying to save their phone box. One villager commented that he'd heard pilots used it for navigation. Always up for a challenge, I hired a Cessna 152 to see if I could find it. I took along Barry to act as photographer, so that I could concentrate on flying and navigating. The plan was to find the village of Masham, and then work back over Swinton Park and slightly further beyond to see if we could find Ilton. We arrived bang on Masham, right on time, surprising myself slightly with how well the navigation worked out. We found Swinton Park, and whilst circling repeatedly trying to find Ilton, eventually spotted the phone box. While I got distracted trying to get various RAF airbases to hear our radio transmissions and changing squawk codes almost every few minutes (don't know what they were trying to do), Barry busied himself taking photos of the phone box. Job done, we returned home, the radio thankfully working better as we got back to Leeds - I guess it's just a rubbish radio and the hills and distance weren't helping things. Anyway, once we got home we downloaded the photos and pored over the maps trying to confirm our target. Turns out we got the phone box at Warthermarske, a mere mile away. It's so hard to find the real one (and I intend to find it one day) that I somehow doubt it IS used for navigation... but as someone famous once said, never let the truth ruin a good story!
Photos: Barry McGrath