November flying

Don’t know if anyone else flew the windy weekend but Watty and Martin got 5.5 hours between us so not a bad start to November.

On Saturday west or slightly south of 18-20mph on Slieu Curn South takeoff. Watty and me had checked out Curn and Staarvy. Watty obviously opting for Staarvy but I was more worried about the smallish slopy landing than the excess of windspeed on Sl Curn, so we went our separate ways. Watty did really well both days with over 3 hours and got an imprewssive 140 metres on Sunday, (twice the height of the hill). On both days we suspected there may have been a wave effect which seemed borne out by the silky smooth lift, despite at higher level at Sl Curn around 20mph wind.

Both days I had to contend with low level orographic cloud, on Saturday 300/400 ft ATO. I got to 660 ft but was able to stay out front weaving in and out of cloud and along to Sartfell and back in very smooth pleasant air. Landed normal Orrisdale field and Watty very kindly retrieved me after his 2 hour Staarvy flight.

Sunday was always going to be the better day as proved by the eary morning orographic cloud having risen well above the top of North Barrule. It could only get better by mid day. But of course by the time I started to rig on Sl Curn at mid day it just came down and down, to rest right on top of the ridge, with Froghane lost way above the cloud.. Unbelievable and now it could only get worse of course. I can see Watty having a ball on Staarvy and me thinking about carrying down.  In desperation I ring the Aviation Met to receive the news that "the orographic will sit down on the hilltops all day, but "-hey-" cloud base is 2000 feet so as long as you stay well away from the hills you should have good flying" Just what I wanted to hear!!!! I thought I’ll give it till 1pm  just in case it lifts a bit so at least I wouldn’ have to carry down. It did – a bit.

I did as thge weather man said, stayed out as far as possible and went up, nice smooth lift to 1140 ATO. (ie way above the base even allowing for the fact it did rise a few hundrede feet). Didn’t get as far as Sartfell as it was really nice on Sl Froghane and obviously best there. Again careful to stay out front of the orographic, but this time staying up above the leading edge of the cloud and looking back across the cloud to top of North Barrule showing above the cloud. Very scenic, just hope I snatched a few photos to show you next time. I thought at one point it was going to become an epic wave flight but obviously by then had gone from depression to euphoria!! Oh yes one thing I nearly foirgot was why I didn’t get to Sartfell. When I got over Froghane/Sartfell "valley" whilst flying thro crystal smooth air it was just as if a giant caught hold of the glider and shook it quite sharply twice only. Was it rotor, start of stall or wave rotor, I don’t know but it happened at the southerly end of two consecutive beats, it was not scary but was enough of a warning to keep me on smooth safe Froghane.

What to do, tried to get out to coast but started to sink too much by Kirk Michael, so back to top up on hill then off to a dissapointing west facing Bullrenney at Ballaugh and land at my new favorite Sulby landing field 1km north of Sulby bridge.