Laragne 2010

The travelling went well and the accomodation, hosts and guiding by Chris White were all fantastic too!

The 1st day we flew XC north to south from St Vincent almost to St Andre (around 38km) and up to 3106m asl (1870m above launch) max 7.9m per second best lift, 3 hour 39 minute flight in big scary mountains.

The 2nd day was blown out so pottered around for a bit and I cut my foot jumping into not very deep waterfall!  Lovely scenery though.

The 3rd day was a little windy still on launch at Chabre so we were all a bit jittery and did a lot of para waiting / procrastinating. Eventually after getting Martin off a few of us flew for some nice soaring / thermalling for 1 hour 19 minutes, then shot over the back to fly 7.5km back (almost) to our accomodation.  Then we all took off for a nice evening soaring flight at another site to the west and got another hours flighting.

The 4th day is looking like a good day to go from Chabre, so all up to the top for a warm up flight / top to bottom (nice 34 minutes for me).  Then back to the top for the main flight of the day. The planned route was to the north and off we went.  Everything went to plan for me, Bill and Simon (with Chris on the tandem with his son) and we landed 3 hours 7 minutes later at goal 45 km to the north at the pass. We had 7.1 m/s max lift today and up to 2618m asl in more big mountains. Then beers (landed conveniently next to a bar)!

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Barrule – Onchan

The wind was forecast to be light NE to N so Keith and I decided to give Slieu Lewaigue a try. Got there just past 11 to see Watty taking off. He had a quick top to bottom, too light, so hung around for a while. It was not really getting any better so we bit the bullet and joined by Giles, all walked up North Barrule from the Hibernian.

Got to the top to be met by a nice breeze on the ridge. Although there was not much sunshine it was obviously quite thermic with seagulls going up. We all took off pretty much together and went up. It was very up and down with the wind obviously not strong enough to let us maintain. Watty marked a nice thermal over the saddle so dropped in beneath and got quite high, drifting over the back, probably 150 metres or so above. The lift went (prob still there just did not want to go too far back) so headed back to the ridge and got nailed into the ground.  Think we all came down shortly afterwards.

Had a short walk back to the top and then took off into a more solid breeze and managed to stay up. The day had now clouded over so it was a big surprise to get into a nice thermal with Keith over the saddle again. This time followed it well over the back and into the valley behind. Probably got to cloud base (300m above take off?) with Keith about 10 metres above and headed off toward the lump behind Dhoon. The glide was not sinky but it was really quite surprising to see Laxey wheel so close and probably a ‘do-able’ glide away. Keith headed off toward the fields above Laxey wheel and I nudged west over Agneash village where I got the lightest of broken thermals. This, coupled with a nice northerly drift gave me enough height to get over the Laxey Valley. The thermal got better and I was soon back over 600 metres above sea level.  I drifted with the thermal over my parents place by Fairy cottage, really quite high. I guess the lift petered out somewhere between Ballacannel and Baldrine but it was still buoyant. Picked up some lift again and just kept doing some lazy 360s drifting south all the time about 1km in land of the White Bridge straight.  Continue reading Barrule – Onchan

More Spring Flying

12.30pm Sunday

Snaefell was working well initially. Giles jumped off first whilst I was left dealing with about 35 issues. By the time I took off Giles had been well high above take off. It then got more and more northerly (although thermic) and Jamie, Keith, Giles, and I all sunk out repeatedly. After enough walking with my wing to last a life time from the previous day / weekend Giles and I decided to head out under a cloud. Lots of useable lift (which I couldn’t) so landed.

Bill picked us up from the lander and we headed to Carrigan. No wind there until Giles offered his bbq pork to the wind gods. This did the trick (obviously) and both jumped off into a nice 12mph some minutes later. As always Carrigan worked like a charm, although any escape to the south or east was blocked by the Douglas Bay cu-nim. We were both plenty high enough to continue to take the 1-2 m/s thermals over the back if we wished to get sucked into oblivion.  Could see the boys on Snaefell going up and down all the time too.

Anyway, we both punted around in the thermic conditions for some time. Then a glider appeared from Beinn-y-Phott. It glided down the small ridge from Benny to the SWNN and then nipped over to the foothills of Carrigan. Young Swalesy had made it over from Snaefell. He was really unlucky because just at that time it switched off and we all landed. Swalesy and I walked up. I took off and went up in some more thermals (4.40pm) then headed to the car at the SWNN. Got higher and higher and higher on the way over and started having giddy thoughts about flying to all places. Then got nicely drilled into the ground just before making it. That was it, an interesting and thermic day.

I think Watty landed on the foot hills of Beinn-y-Phott.

Spring Flying

We had nine pilots out on the North westerly face of Sartfell on Saturday.

The lift was weak and the breeze was light which made for a more social get together.

Bill seemed to have the best of it getting quite high above take off and making a nice top landing.

Eventually a large patch of Icelandic ash came over… killing the breeze totally and prompting a mad dash of top to bottoming down to the cars. Maybe Sunday would be better. It was apparently, though I missed it! Anyone sending a report in?

Paragliding 22-8-2009

On Friday night the weather looked rubbish, too south, too strong for Saturday.

Saturday morning came, and Windmap had Ronaldsway, west, 12 mph backing to the south and increasing.  An early start was required if we had any chance. Keith, Jamie and I headed to Sartfell. After what looked like a totally blown out situation going over the mountain, Sartfell lander had a nice breeze from the SW . Ten minutes later we were at the top watching cloud base drop to about 20 metres above sea level at Peel. The cloud soon engulfed us, but was not that thick and all looked smashing the other side. Had a few hops into a fickle breeze (about 7 mph) before things started to get organised.  It got thermic real quick and soon enough we were all getting some real nice soaring  with the odd 360. 

As is often the way, once above  130 metres (ato) it became a lot easier to maintain height – so headed out and towards the south. Soon enough another week cycle came through that had me thermalling back to the hill. Was going up surprisingly nicely for so early in the day (11.30ish) so stuck with it for a bit over the back. The thermal kept giving and with Jamie dropping in beneath, both had a lazy climb out to Freghane (or whatever it is called!)
Continue reading Paragliding 22-8-2009

After a Year Off…

… I finally got some flying in last weekend, and it was bloody brilliant!

It was also completely off the back of the club’s collective kindness towards this newest and very junior member, so thank you All. However I also want to single out Dan, Keith, Martin, Simon and Watty for their advice and tollerance this past couple of months, by text, hill and bar! The end result was as follows:

Mrs Smith did me the great honor of fancying some hillwalking over this Easter weekend, and even driving retrieve. Note to self, seperation does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Saturday Flight 1:

Steered toward Sartfell by the nous of The Texting Collective, Jemma and I arrived to face our first Manx walk up – not as bad from the bottom as by half-way up! Watty had arrived at the same time and shared the slog up, tempted as we were by several already scratching around up top. At the top the wind seemed a bit off and light to me, but it became clear it was cycling. I immediately missed the opportunity to actually get out and use my new radio, as the first thermal through swept some radio people (Keith, Simon?) away. With everyone else also setting up to launch, I found myself drawing a bit of a rusty blank regarding what I should be doing, after a year off – but, I remembered to put my helmet on first, enjoyed swiftly unpacking my canopy from my novelty stuff-sac (sorry, they dont make them any more), clipped in, and built a wall. Nothing looking awry, I decided to pop it up, turned the wrong way for the risers, and simply got dragged backwards.

Continue reading After a Year Off…