Lady Heath was at that time one of the best known women in the world, being the holder of numerous aviation records. She was the first woman to ''loop the loop'' and to parachute from an aeroplane and a couple of months previous to landing in The Lost Valley, she had made history as the first pilot to fly an open cockpit aeroplane from South Africa to London, when she landed at Croydon airport to worldwide acclaim.
In 1928 Lady Heath landed her aeroplane on the Uggool sands, it promptly sank in the quicksand, the Bourkes swung into action and having many times rescued their cattle from the quicksand knew exactly how to approach this difficult undertaking before the incoming tide drowned the aircraft.
She subsequently wrote a letter to the local newspaper the Mayo News pleading on their behalf. ''After my machine had become bogged in the quicksand under Muilrea and after the inhabitants had helped me to save it....If the road could be extended to Uggool, it would be of inestimable help to those who are obliged to live and make their living in these parts. At present they are existing in the face of cruel difficulties as regards transport. The finest blood in Ireland- the healthiest, pluckiest folk in the world--cope from this west country...Can we not help them a little to make their wild hillsides a little more accessible by just a few miles of road and bring them a little nearer to amenities of civilisation.''
Her appreciation did not end there and a couple of months later, 18 year old John Bourke with neither tools nor experience, commenced employment at the same Croydon airport, in the skilled well paid position of aircraft carpenter. He seems to have learned quickly as he remained in employment there for some time. Later one of John's sons had a distinguished career as an RAF fighter pilot.
Lady Heath 1928
Reviewed 26 July 2017
Visited the lost valley today with our teenage and adult children. We were in a small group with two other families. Gerard gave the guided tour but Maureen was there to meet us at the start and joined us along the way. Gerard gave an enthralling tour. The man is a walking encyclopedia on the subject of the famine in his home area. He engaged with all the people on the tour and explained what happened in Uggool from a social and political point of view. His passion for the subject was clear. The Lost Valley is a particularly scenic area and could be enjoyed even without any commentary but Gerard's tour gives an understanding of the place and the history that one could not even guess looking at the beauty of the countryside. Also... Maureen's cup of tea is the best!!!!