Microsoft Flight Simulator UK Tour Part 2: Scotland

This is part two of my UK tour of Microsoft Flight Simulator using World Update 3 for the sim. My goal is to explore some landmarks and check out the sights and scenery of Scotland in this part of the tour. If you missed part one, be sure to check that out as well as I explore England and Wales. Now… on to Scotland!

Edinburgh to Glasgow and Campbeltown

For my first flight in Scotland, I had intended to keep things simple with a quick tour from Edinburgh to a small airport just outside of Glasgow. Things don’t always turn out how you plan them, however.

Taking off and flying near Edingburgh, I appreciated the detail put into the The Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge and Forth Rail Bridge. These three bridges are landmarks of the area and really stand out from the rest of the scenery.

Then it was on to fly a route that took me over Glasgow and then on to a small airfield. Except…. I couldn’t find it. It was on the map but no airfield was visible. I later learned that the field is literally a field with no facilities at all. Maybe I should plan better in the future!

So, I pressed on, however, the weather was worsening and the low cloud turned into dense rainclouds as I flew into the Firth of Clyde and near the Isle of Arran. I finally, through the gloom, spotted Campletown and then Campletown Airport before setting down for a reasonably good landing.

Campbleltown to Barra

This next flight was a really fun and interesting one. For it, I picked the speedy King Air 350i for its flexibility in getting me to my next destination while also being pretty good at landing in unusual places and this next airport is pretty unusual.

Departing Campletown Airport in the same conditions that I left it in (low rain and fog), I quickly climbed above the cloud deck and into the blue. The rest of the trip would be done with dense clouds beneath me and very little sightseeing possible.

After a long time flying above the clouds, it was time to descend into my next destination.

Located on the northern tip of the island of Barra, the airport here is located in a wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr. It may be the only airport in the world that operates scheduled flights on a tidal beach runway. I had to see this for myself, especially as World Update 3 made this into a more detailed experience. It was worth it as the runway was short and my landing approach required a very low speed and an immediate effort to bring the aircraft to a stop.

A very fun ride!

Barra to Out Skerries and Sumburgh

Back in the air with the King Air 350i which seemed like the best option to get me from the very unique airport at Barra up to another unique airport. I headed out with a little uncertainty if I could even land the King Air at this next destination but I thought I’d try it out anyways.

Departing Barra in low cloud and moody skies, I eventually cleared past most of the weather and enjoyed the low sun angle as the scenery was bathed in golden light.

Approaching Out Skerries, I flew a few lower circles to take in the scenery at this location. It was impressive just how good Flight Simulator can look at times and this was one of those moments.

Lining up on the small field at Out Skerries was very interesting as the short runway is flanked by wooden fences on either side. Fortunately I was able to get the aircraft down at the right spot, hit the reversers and hold hard on the brakes. The King Air shuddered to a stop with just enough room to spare.

I did a backtrack, simulated a passenger pickup at the main building, and readied for another takeoff. It was a bit harrowing but thankfully we were able to clear the fences and climb away from this unique airport. Another gem that’s worth checking out. May advice? Do that in a smaller aircraft!

I continued my flight on to an airport that I’ve been to before. Sumburgh is located on the southern tip of the Shetland Islands and the airport there is equipped for medium sized aircraft. No problem for a King Air 350i – not after what I put it through earlier.

Sumburgh back to Edinburgh

To complete my round trip, I set course in a Cessna CJ4 from Sumburgh back to Edinburgh. I thought this flight would be a great way to see the part of northern Scotland that I had missed while also bringing my trip back full circle. This was the only one that I flew with an IFR flight plan and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.

This was a less scenic way to do the flight but it was a great way to get a sense of the rest of the country. The mountains, moors, and farmers fields as well as the urban area of Edinburgh which I have now flown into three times and enjoyed the scenery every time.

Less to say about this one except that it was a great flight in mostly good weather. There was some fog around Edinburgh on approach that made the landing a bit more tricky (and I haven’t learned how to setup the ILS on the CJ4 yet) but still very fun. It ended up being one of my better landings actually!

Final thoughts

Compared to my UK tour, I spent a little less time checking out points of interest on this one and focused just on exploring the whole area. Scotland is incredibly scenic with its hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and more. It’s worth flying around in more detail and checking out some of the points of interest along the way.

Also included in World Update 3 was Ireland which I absolutely have to do as part of my next series. I hope to get started on that one soon!


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