The Low Fly Zone in Machynlleth, Snowdonia in Wales is one of the best places to photograph low flying aircraft as they skim through the valleys only feet from the ground . The Mach Loop is one of the busiest Low fly areas in the UK, coming under LFA7 and its close proximity to RAF Valley ensure a lot of traffic including BAe Hawks pass through the area.

There are a few locations you can choose to stand to photograph the aircraft as there thunder around the Loop.
Machynlleth Loop – Bwlch
Machynlleth Loop – Bwlch exit
Machynlleth Loop – Minffordd (Corris Corner)
Machynlleth Loop – Tal-y-Llyn pass west side (Cad West)
Machynlleth Loop – Tal-y-Llyn pass east side (Cad East)

I chose 3 locations to visit during my 3 day visit, Corris Corner, Cad East and Cad West. To access all these locations a long and steep walk is required. I’d recommend taking everything you need up to your chosen spot as you really don’t want to be going back to the car if you have forgotten anything, as each walk is steep and between 20-30mins in which it is likely some aircraft will fly past you as you on your way down the hill with no camera!

Corris Corner

As you can see from the photo below the view from Corris Corner is superb and when the sun is shining this location is great in the morning until around midday.
Corris Corner - Tal Y Llyn in Wales

A Hawk passed through the Valley and turns right at Corris Corner over Tal-y-llyn Lake.
Hawk Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

Cad West

This locations seems to be the most popular for photographers although if its bright sunshine in the morning you are shooting into the sun.
This is the view taken on a 300mm on a x1.3 body from close to the top of the hill looking down on other photographers. The A487 road is way down at the bottom out of view. Parking is good as there is a lay by suitable for around 20-30 cars and on our visit a burger van doing bacon rolls.

I was using a 300mm F2.8 IS L and a 100-400, from the top of the hill a Tornado or Typhoon were full frame on the 300mm.
Tornado GR4 Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

Going lower down would give you more of a head on shot. Although as we saw over the 3 days each pass is unique, so don’t always expect them to fly exactly the same line.
Tornado GR4 Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

ZJ917 3SQN RAF Coningsby Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon F2
Typhoon Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

During the trip we had some special movements. A Marham based 31 SQN Panavia Tornado GR4 with Swept wings flown by the Commanding Officer gave a great show
ZA556 Panavia Tornado Swept Wings 31 SQN RAF Marham
ZA556 Tornado Swept Wings Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

ZH884 C-130J Hercules – Through Cad West
ZH884 C-130 Hercules Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales

A Photographer photographs a C-130 as it turns left around Corris corner

Cad East
http://www.multimap.com/maps/?zoom=15&countryCode=GB&lat=52.7036&lon=-3.8440&dp=904#map=52.70359,-3.84264|15|32&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:51.509:-0.1261:15||United%20Kingdom

Opposite to Cad West about 15-20mins walk to the top gives you create light in the morning. The down side is your going to get a belly shot unless you walk towards the front of the ridge. We walked as far forward as we could.

Tucano Low Flying Aircraft in the Mach Loop in Wales