Welcome to International Rocket Week

 Annual Rocket Flying Event in Scotland

 Monday 19th to Monday 26th August 2024




IRW is organised and hosted by

the Scottish & Aeronautics & Rocketry Association* (SARA -www.sara.rocketry.org.uk/,

in association with STAAR Research (www.staar.rocketry.org.uk).

*Affiliated to the UK Rocketry Association - www.ukra.org.uk/& to the British Model Flying Association - https://bmfa.org/



The annual International Rocket Week is an event for Model, High Power, and Amateur rocketry – building, flying, discussing, enjoying – for and by rocketeers and rocketry followers of all ages. The IRW encompasses Open, Competition, and Experimental/Research flying.


Base Camp at the Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre, near Paisley.


Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre, located on Gleniffer Road, above the town of Paisley, (home of the Paisley Rocketeers’ Society, 1936 to 2005), is now, since our first year there in 2011, firmly established as the Base Camp for the IRW. This is an excellent base of operations. Lapwing Lodge now provides three forms of accommodation. One is the Camping Field and the Camping related domestic facilities at Lapwing Lodge – Toilets, Showers, Dish Washing Area. The second is the Indoor Accommodation at Lapwing, with its own Toilets and Showers, along with fully equipped self-catering Kitchen facilities. There is also a Laundry facility. And the third, and most recent addition at Lapwing is the four “Hobbit Houses” (or glamping pods). This new accommodation has significantly increased the number of beds available at Lapwing. All this provides very satisfactory accommodation for the majority of IRW participants (a few sometimes stay elsewhere, e.g. local B&B and hotel accommodation). Full details of the Camping, Indoor, and Hobbit Houses Accommodation can be found on the BASE CAMP page.


The Activities Hall at Lapwing Lodge, which is booked for the IRW, provides fully furnished (tables and chairs) and well-lit working space, with power supply, as a Rocket Workshop & Prep facility. 


What might have been the main disadvantage of Lapwing Lodge Base Camp, the 16 Mile (26 km) road drive between the Base Camp and the Flying Site (see below) has proved not to be a problem at all. The commute on Main Flying Days between our excellent Base Camp and excellent Flying Site have proved to be acceptable and straightforward. Those who have their own vehicles have been very helpful in giving lifts to those who do not have their own transport. For all these reasons the Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre will be the Base Camp for IRW. For further details and Directions please go the BASE CAMP page.


The “Rockets & Things” shop, proprietor. Malcolm Jennings, will be at the IRW from the Wednesday of the event, arriving late Tuesday evening. Please note: Malcolm has asked me to say that this year he will not be running any tabs at the IRW. All items purchased at the event must be paid for at the time of purchase.

Wizard Rockets shop will also be in attendance.

The IRW is always held over the week running up to, and including the English Summer Bank Holiday Weekend. 


Lapwing Lodge also has a connection with rocketry in Scotland and with the history of the IRW. In May 1985 the late John D. Stewart (whom some of our IRW veterans will remember) and the Paisley Rocketeers’ Society (PRS) held the first of two Paisley Rocket Weekends there. On the Saturday of the 1985 event there was pyrotechnic and Aquajet (water) rocket flying at Lapwing Lodge (in association with the 75th Anniversary of the formation of the Girl Guides). The 1985 Paisley Rocket Weekend was the direct inspiration for the first Scottish Rocket Weekend held at Kelburn Country Centre in August 1986, organised by ASTRA (the Association in Scotland To Research into Astronautics). The Scottish Rocket Weekend, an annual event from 1986 to 1991, led to the IRW events from 1992 onwards. The second (and last) Paisley Rocket Weekend held in May 1987 was base camped at Lapwing Lodge, with the flying (smaller rockets in those days) on farmland at nearby Hartfield.

Flying Site.

This will once again be at the Fairlie Moor Rocket Site (FMRS).

Go to the Flying Site category on the Menu for full details.

What IRW offers (or why travel to Scotland to fly rockets?).

  • 8 days of very eclectic Open, Experimental/Research, and Competition rocket building and flying, where veteran rocketeers boost beginners.
  • One of the UK’s best and most scenic launch sites, which can accommodate up to Level 3 and Large Rocket flights to an altitude of 16,000 Feet (4,876 Metres) above mean sea level (from 820 Feet/250 Metres amsl elevation).
  • UKRA Level 1, 2 & 3 Range Safety Officers.
  • Space and time for UKRA Model Achievement Programme, and Level 1, 2 & 3 work and attainments, with ample furnished Workshop space at the Base Camp, and a large Flying Site.
  • Rockets and Things shop (prop. Malcolm Jennings) at Base Camp to supply your rocketry needs.
  • Wizard Rockets Shop (prop. Stuart Livings & Naomi Mildenhall) will also be in attendance
  • Very much a rocket village, with rocket clubs, families, and individuals participating – rocket society as well as rocket science.
  • Proximity of the Base Camp to the towns of Paisley and Johnstone, and also to the city of Glasgow, has advantages for travel to and from the event (airport, main line railway stations, and motorway junctions), plus access to a wide range of shops, restaurants, take-away food outlets, entertainment, and attractions. All useful to both rocket flyers and non-flyers at IRW.
  • We always have fun.

Pictures and video from some previous IRW's, including last year's event, can be seen at https://scottishrocketry.smugmug.com/InternationalRocketWeek

Other Things:-

Rocketeers worldwide are welcome to come and take part in IRW, the annual rocketry event held in Scotland since the first Scottish Rocket Weekend held in August 1986.


IRW is an event for all model and amateur rocketeers, and rocketry followers, of all ages, be they individuals, club members/groups, or families.


The IRW Organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the United Kingdom Rocketry Association (UKRA) and the Scottish Aeronautics & Rocketry Association (SARA).


The Organisers thank Site Warden Ross Dunbar at Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre, and Secretary Hilary Graham, and others at Lapwing Lodge, for their assistance in making and accommodating the IRW Base Camp arrangements.


The Organisers also thank Mr Robert McCulloch of Knockendon Farm, Dalry, Ayrshire, for providing the IRW Flying Site.


The Organisers also thank Tom Gratton and his colleagues at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Airspace Utilisation Section (AUS), the NATS staff at Glasgow Air Traffic Control (GATC), and at Scottish Airways at the Prestwick Centre, for their assistance with NOTAM and Launch Windows arrangements to help enable the IRW rocket flying. 


The IRW Organising Committee, Colin MacLaren, Jonathan Rhodes, Mitchell Hamilton, Adrian Hurt, Rachel Thomas and John Bonsor, look forward to seeing and flying with you at this year’s event.


The ethos of the IRW is to celebrate the fellowship of rocketry, and for that reason every rocket flight at the event matters.  Every flight is someone’s run into rocket time, where ten seconds can encompass a whole mission, soaring in spirit with the Eagle’s flight to the Sea of Tranquillity fifty-five summers ago.  If I may make a personal comment, in the summer of Apollo 11 I was trying to fly my stovepipe rockets alone (and failing more often than not).  Now thanks to the fellowship of rocketry I fly with many friends, old and new.  To me this is the most important thing that has developed in model and amateur rocketry over the years.


So, fly high, fly safe, and have fun!


Yours ever,


John Bonsor,

for the IRW Organising Committee (Secretary & Co-ordinator).


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