Air Badge: Alcock and Brown site Visit

Mountain range - Mountain



As part of our Air Badge , we will visit Alcock and Brown Site in Derrigimlagh , Clifden. Aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Connemara, County Galway.

The first nonstop transatlantic flight was made June 15-16. 1919 from St. Johns Newfoundland to Clifden. At 08.40 hrs they crash landed outside Clifden becoming the first pilots to fly the Atlantic thereby winning a £10,000 Prize, and a monumental place in world Aviation history.

Marconi also setup a Transmission Station at the site. The Station that was developed at Clifden was the first commercial transmitting and receiving station in the world.

Interestingly , the first distress signal from Titanic, was sent by Senior wireless operator Jack Phillips. Jack Phillips who had worked in the Marconi station in Clifden was the wireless operator on the Titanic .

More Background below..

Some Info

What Cubs need to bring

What to wear and bring on the hike

  • Rucksack (no string bags)
  • Hiking Boots and/or suitable shoes for walking on forest paths & roads
  • Rain gear (coat and trousers)
  • Water (at least 2 litres)
  • Warm Drink*
  • Good size Lunch & snacks
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Black seats
  • Neckerchief
  • Hi Viz
  • Hat and gloves *
  • Warm layers*
  • Sunhat*
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Hand wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Pencil. ( We will have Cubs take a small quiz based on things they discover along the way )

Getting there

Google Maps

GPS – 53.46121550639408, -10.02283039969475

Towns – Headford , Cong , Clonbur , Cornamona , Maam , Maam Cross , Clifden , Derrigimlagh

Allow 1hr 30minutes ( Distance approx 1hr 22 from Headford ) . You can also travel via Moycullen , Ougtherard – but this will add approx 10 minutes , however might be an improvement in road. Both options join in Maam Cross.

  • From Clifden , follow signposts for Ballyconneely
  • Derrigimlagh is approx from 10 minutes Clifden
  • Signpost below will be on your left ( sign below was taken from opposite side ) . Please take care when entering.

Live Weather – Clifden


Public Toilets

There are no Toilets at the location. Please check with Cubs and use Sweeney Oil Service Station ( on your left approaching Clifden ) before arriving at Derrigimlagh. Google Maps –

There is a portaloo onsite but is locked , we are seeking “owners” to see if it could be made available.

Drop Off – Parking

This is a public Car Park , please keep an eye on your Cubs until they are with Leaders at the Discovery Point.

Derrigimlagh Discovery Point.

  • Purple arrow is entrance to Discovery Point with meeting point closeby
  • Yellow arrow is entrance to Car Park
  • Please take care on entrance to Discovery Point as there are some tripping hazards ( there is a floating concrete bridge but some slight raised areas in places between concrete slabs ) – also there is marsh both sides , so please watch your Cubs ( until we can 🙂 ) .

Pickup – Parking

Our route will be 5KM. Based on time , we may travel to the Alcock & Brown memorial , which is an additional 1KM. We will notify Parents of Final Pickup Point via WhatsApp.

Option 1 – Same location as Drop Off – Derrigimlagh Discovery Point.

Option 2 – Alcock and Brown Memorial , this is the right turn on approach to Derrigimlagh – Google Map – A&B Memorial

Option 2 Pickup – The Alcock and Brown Memorial

Other Information


Plan is to start at Derrigimilagh Disovery Point and walk from there , around the lake ( path ) and back. We can aim to have lunch somewhere half way ( probably A&B landing site area ).

2019 Scouting Ireland Challenge Pack

2019 was 100 years since the inaugiral flight and landing in Clifden. Scouting Ireland produced the attached booklet and there was an associated badge.

Derrigimlagh Discovery Area

  • Located at
  • Not on Google street view – but is at the “crossroads” and does have some place for additional parking. This will be starting point for main walk.

From their Facebook page

The walk is augmented by a number of attractive features which are designed to engage visitors and encourage them to interact with the history of the location. These include:

• A set of ‘hides’ along the route which not only offer shelter but house old fashioned crystal radio sets which allow visitors to listen to recordings from the age of the Marconi station as well as recreated sound effects;

• A Tuning fork ‘organ’ which allows visitors to interact and experiment with different sound frequencies;

• A wind reed installation which generates different sounds according to local wind conditions and emphasises the exposed and remote nature of the site;

• A number of ‘historioscopes’ which allow viewers to view key points at the site and see how they would have looked in the early 20th Century – including the old Marconi buildings and images from the Alcock and Brown crash site;

• A parabolic mirror – a specially designed sculpture which plays on acoustics, reflections and light to encourage the visitor to engage with the landscape and appreciate the significance of sound to the location’s history;

• A number of artistic interpretative panels telling the story of the site.

Alcock and Brown Landing site,-10.0225491,3a,75y,155.2h,75.05t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sc82earzg-TxKPziNYpMegw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Information Panels

These are scattered around the loop. They provide history about the area , we can have Cubs search for clues based on each info point.

Alcock and Brown

The first nonstop transatlantic flight was made June 15-16. 1919 from St. Johns Newfoundland to Clifden Ireland.

It was just 15.5 years since the first aeroplane flight by the Wright Bros had taken place. Significant developments in aviation technology had taken place in the intervening years particularly during WW1. It was felt that an Ocean crossing could be attempted and the London Daily Mail offered a prize of £10000 for the first pilots to achieve it.

Several aircraft and crews assembled at the proposed start point in Newfoundland in late May 1919. Amongst them were two British military fliers, Captain J Alcock and lieutenant A Brown.

They took off at 13.45hrs June 18 and headed out over St. Johns H  Alcock and Brown were among  first to attempt the crossing. Their aircraft was a airborne and they set course for Galway city. After four uneventful hours they ran into bad weather which would afflict the rest of the flight causing loss of bearings, communications and two near fatal stalls with a forced descent to within 16 ft. of the ocean . Brown was required on several occasions to crawl onto the wings to de-ice them.

At 08.40 hrs they crash landed outside Clifden becoming the first pilots to fly the Atlantic thereby winning the £10,000 Prize, and a monumental place in world Aviation history.


Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna on 25th April 1874. His father, Giuseppe, was a rich landowner and his mother, Annie Jameson, was one of the four daughters of Andrew Jameson of County Wexford, the well-known and wealthy distiller of Jameson’s Irish whiskey. The young Marconi spent long periods in England and Tuscany with his mother and brother Alfonso and for this reason he didn’t regularly attend school. He had private lessons but preferred to cultivate his scientific interests. When he was 16 he set up a laboratory in the attic of his father’s house (Villa Griffone in Pontecchionear Bologna) where he started his first experiments with electricity.

Marconi sent and received the first wireless message across the Atlantic Ocean, from Cornwall, England, to a military base in Newfoundland around 1900 .   The Station that was developed at Clifden was the first commercial transmitting and receiving station in the world . The Clifden station was not officially opened until 17th October 1907, when commercial signalling commenced between Clifden and Glace Bay. A defining moment in world communication. It was a sight to behold, with the huge condenser house building, the power house with its 6 boilers, and the massive aerial system consisting of 8 wooden masts, each 210 feet high extending eastwards over the hill for a distance of 0.5 kilometres. The aerials gave off sparks which could be heard in the distance, indicative of the huge power and voltages involved (150KW at 15,000 volts).

The location of the site in Derrygimla  in the middle of a bog provided Marconi with a large supply of cheap fuel in order to generate this power.  40 people were employed in the station and many more locals were employed particularly turf cutting.  Derrygimla was also location for the crash landing of the first transatlantic flight by Capt John Alcock and Lieut Arthur Whitton Brown on June 15th, 1919.

Before the invention of radiotelegraphy ships were isolated at sea. The first fundamental use of Marconi’s invention was at sea. Marconi Radio Officers first went to sea in merchant ships in 1900 and for almost a century they provided the vital link between ship and shore.

In addition to his groundbreaking research in wireless communication, Marconi was instrumental in establishing the British Broadcasting Company, formed in 1922. He was also involved in the development of radar. Through his experiments in wireless telegraphy, Marconi developed the first effective system of radio communication. In 1909 Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with the German physicist Karl F. Braun, the inventor of the cathode ray tube.

Interesting Angle

By the time of  Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912, most passenger ships operating in the north Atlantic had a Marconi installation staffed by Marconi Company operators. At this time, wireless operators worked for the Marconi company and as well as communicating with other ships, they also relayed passenger messages—the new technology was something of a fashionable novelty, and first-class passengers would have enjoyed being able to send messages ashore.

Titanic was fitted out with some of the best wireless equipment available. But there was not yet an established practice of keeping a clear channel for emergency communications.

This early wireless telegraphy wasn’t like calling a telephone, with the ability to speak to one person directly—instead, the channels were open to everyone at the same time.

Since Titanic’s wireless operators were transmitting over the same frequency as other ships, and the channels were jammed with passenger communications, several ice warnings from other vessels were either missed or ignored.

If this wasn’t enough, on most ships there was only a single wireless operator, who worked a long shift and then closed down for the night.

The first distress signal from Titanic, sent by senior wireless operator Jack Phillips. Jack Phillips who had worked in the station in Clifden was the wireless operator on the Titanic.  He was busy transmitting messages from the passengers and had received warnings from other ships about icebergs nearby. This warnings about it is believed icebergs never got to the bridge  .