Off topic but the 4th January was the 50th anniversary of the death of Donald Campbell (1921-1967) on Coniston Water in Cumbria and I wanted to commemorate him. He was a certain type of Briton now sadly missing from our public life. That is not to say perfect by any means but with sterling qualities not demonstrated much today, a decisive courage that accepted risk and the risk of being described as foolhardy if things went badly. In Britain today the prevailing leadership instinct is to avoid any risk at all, with things still going badly anyway, as they often do, beyond the wit or control of man.
Donald Campbell's last words as recorded in his radio transmission:-
". . . Full nose up . . . Pitching a bit down here . . . coming through our own wash . . . er getting straightened up now on track . . . rather closer to Peel Island . . . and we're tramping like mad . . . and er . . . FULL POWER . . . er tramping like hell OVER. I can't see much and the water's very bad indeed . . . I'm galloping over the top . . . and she's giving a hell of a bloody row in here...I can't see anything...I've got the bows out ...I'm going . . . U-hh . . . "
Donald Campbell's body was finally found and recovered from the lake only in 2001. In the 1960s he was a household name in Britain and his blue-painted world speed record vehicles familiar to every schoolboy. Now most of the younger generation don't even know of him and there are no Airfix kits of his vehicles.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Image credits: Donald Campbell and Bluebird CN7 1960 via Wiki; Bluebird K7 by Neil Sheppard via Wiki; Coniston Water by Mike Knapton via Wiki