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Ascension Island

Location: Ascension Island, South Atlantic

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Ascension Island, a refueling and stopover point on the way to the Falkland Islands by aircraft.

You arrive at RAF Brize Norton for an evening check-in. Although an RAF station, the place looks and feels very much like any small, regional airport. You join the MOD aircraft and settle into your seat for a journey of around 9 hours at the end of which you arrive at Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island.

The temperature is a nice, balmy, tropical 26 °C. Everyone leaves the aircraft and it is usual to spend a few hours penned in a compound on the airfield while the aircraft is refuelled for the next leg of your journey. While this is being done, you have the opportunity to buy a souvenir t-shirt (probably the first one of many!!). The landscape is volcanic and very dry and communications antennae occupy almost every hillside.

If the weather is bad at Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands, you may get a stopover here in Ascension. If this is the case (and it’s not altogether uncommon), you will be housed in an accommodation complex nicknamed ‘Bunkbed City’ until the weather allows the flight to go ahead. If you are lucky, you will get the chance to explore a bit of Ascension Island. One of the popular routes is to take a walk up Green Mountain. The mountain is the only real ‘lush’ area on the island, with the rest being much like a volcanic wasteland with patches of scrub and thorny bushes.

Next stop: Falkland Islands