Paragliding 6th & 7th May

Simon, Keith, Giles, Watty and I flew Benny Pot on Saturday.  Watty was first there and had a few attempts at soaring in an easterly at 12-16mph, but only managed a few minutes each time.  Si was next off around 12ish and it seemed to be working better with good thermals although they were rather broken and quite bumpy. I followed and expected to fly down to the cars at Brandywell as we planned to head to off to Slieu Roy, but after pushing out front and maintaining I made my way back up the hill where Keith and Giles had now taken off. There was no problem staying up and Si was first off south to Carrighan with 70m ATO, I was next with 110m ATO followed by Keith and Giles.  We all made it quite easily however it felt a push at times with slow progress in the stiff wind crossing the gap.  The 4 of us spent 20 minutes soaring Carrighan realising we would need 200-250m above the summit to head further south over reservoir but in fairly strong thermals and 15-17 mph wind it wouldn’t happen today.

Giles led the way back to Benny Pot looking low out front but managing to work way back up hill, I was next then Keith and Si.  By now the wind and thermals had increased lifting Keith to 250m ATO whilst Si had 360’d near the gap between the 2 hills but then finding penetration difficult and was coming down backwards. He put it down on the saddle in very strong winds doing well not to be dragged too far. I was using big ears to come down realising conditions had changed – but this took some 5 minutes, finally landing to the south of Benny Pot summit but north of the gap where Si landed.  Interestingly, I again landed with big ears in and have never found this a problem with my wing.  Giles landed 100m away from me after a minute or so.  Keith eventually landed also using big ears to about 20m pulling them out and going up again (not too far I think).  He landed north of summit half way up hill with no drag.  It was only afterwards that we found out Si had tried to send a message over radio to warn us of the strong winds in the gap.  If paragliding on  Benny Pot with winds over 14-15mph beware of the venturi effect increasing the wind speed in the gap towards Carrighan.
During all this Watty stayed on Benny Pot, as he had other commitments, and landed before us near the cars.  It did get too strong and for me it was probably the most taxing conditions I have flown in here, the thermals were very punchy and the dynamic wind pretty strong, I was pleased to land.  By 1.30ish we were joined by Chris and Ean, Mike and Phil Goldie and Ste and enjoyed a lovely picnic whilst untangling Si’s linescaused by his wing rolling up like a sausage on landing.  Untangling is much easier if you have help from someone and we made light work of what was a 1 inch thick bundle of braided lines.

We (Phil, Mike, Giles, Si Keith Ean Chris Ste Goldie and I) then headed to the coast and Shallag Point where we were met with a slightly southerly 16-18mph on take off.  Before anyone could unpack their wings Keith was off in a flash into very very smooth air with marginal penetration, followed by Phil, Si myself and Ste.  The smooth air was a complete contrast to the earlier rough air at Benny Pot.  Phil led the way towards Ramsey into the southerly, itwas slow going but looked possible to make it all the way, myself,Si and Keith followed.  Up on top the wind was down to 12-14mph which tempted Giles, Mike, Goldie, and Chris off.  All unfortunately landed out front on the beach mostly unable to soar but still good practice at that launch which can appear daunting but I don’t believe there have ever been any problems.  Ste top landed, don’t know if anyone has done this before, but if you are thinking about it remember the rotor!  Back to Phil who managed to almost give a local resident a heart attack by introducing himself by surprise at 2m above the cliffs whilst he and his lovely wife were relaxing in their private garden.  Nice one Phil!  That must have made him rather excited as he then scraped his way to the Grand Island for another addition to his already impressive XC flights.  I must have taken my eye off the ball as I decked it short of the Dog Mills.  Si landed 300m past me and Keith 150m past me.  Noel was standing at the top of the stairs at the Dog Mills and kindly offered us a lift back to Shallag.  Dan made a cameo appearance at 5pm but the wind had shifted further south but seemed to have picked up again.  Overall a bl**dy long write-up but a memorable day. Well done all.

And Dan says:
Sunday was light..too light in fact and after a bit of a drive a few people gave up.  I was determined to do something.   The one golden rule I have is never ever go up Snaefell in a North easterly…ever…So it was  a little disappointing to find myself up there with NE 9-14 mph….DOH!   Swales took off,  crept over the wires and zipped off to the lander.  On the radio straight away telling us not to bother as it was blowing a hoolie down there and he had landed going backwards.  He did not sound convicing enough as myself , Watty , Si and Giles also had a go…not so nice.  Landing was pretty hairy with rotor coming off the gully north of landing…would be worth avoiding this area in the future.

Boys are off to Cham this week…so the weather should be excellent here 😉
For those not at the meeting there MER have now settle on a 3 quid fare for us on the tram if there is room.
I am thinking Thursday night………..S 8mph… I have a plan….