It was in 1974 that I first heard of Donald Campbell. I was just 8 years old and remember the early spring Saturday as clearly as if it was yesterday. Returning home from a day out, we were driving along the shoreline of Ullswater, prompting mum and dad’s conversation to turn to a time when they had witnessed a man called Donald Campbell driving his jet propelled boat, Bluebird, out on the lake.
I had always been interested in things mechanical and therefore, as you can imagine, I was suddenly paying attention to their conversation. They told the story of how in the summer of 1955, they had spent many an evening alongside the shoreline of Ullswater, with hundreds of other people, witnessing Campbell’s high-speed trials in his jet-boat Bluebird as a precursor to breaking his first World Water Speed record in July that year at 202 mph.