First Manx Paragliding XC of 2007

The day really started the wrong way for me: after soaring around on the northwest side of Snaefell I suddenly lost some height on the southern end and found it hard to make my way up again with 3-4 paragliders very close to me. I felt I could not move anywhere so I went straight towards the northern end, again losing further height. All off a sudden I had the hill very close to the right, no wind to shifting me up again and the tramlines even closer to the left!!! Touching the ground, I started running as fast as I could to take the pressure out of the wing. It went down on my right towards the hill. That was close… But then I was facing the next challenge: how to get up again? Packing up into the rucksack was not an option so I tried to groundhandle a bit while walking further up towed by the glider. When I had enough distance from the lines I waited for the wind to pick up and it was easy to get back to the top. Instead getting down now was not as easy as anticipated, because the wind was picking up again. I was dragged a few meters before I finally managed to get the wing down… What a debacle! Mr. Gravelpit was doing everything wrong he could possibly do wrong sofar…

Next try. The air was very active by now, with some strong gusts coming through. Noel took of first and joined the others easily staying up and much higher as before. I got off and went straight to the northern end, where I found it much better the first time. I found the right thermal pretty quick and got up with 3-4 meters per second. Noel was in the same thermal but was gaining much more height at this point. Both of us drifted quite far to the east. At this point I already started realising that I should have fixed my gps on my right leg again. I left it in the bag after my bad toplanding and  I never even thought about the circumstances I was in now. I got higher and higher and followed Noel towards Laxey as soon as I had a zeroes on my vario. Not loosing any height at 850 ato I was catching up on him. But then it started to go down rapidly. A minute later I would have probably started to look for landing options around Laxey but I found lift and started climbing again and got further up. Even higher than Noel this time. I think this was the highest I have ever been over the Isle of Man ( 3200 ft asl ) I saw a small cloud building north of me but could not get underneath it. But I had a new course: north! Noel followed my route but did not seem to find the zeroes I was flying in. The cloud I was chasing disappeared and I was slowly coming back down again. I lost sight to Noel and was using my best glide now, hands up and laid back to get as far as possible. Before I landed I had a déjà vu: the old tram was making its way in the sun to the north. I was still high above it but thought: Not again please ! Ended up in a big green field close to Ballajora, packed up and started walking towards a house that I was looking at from the air with cars in front, since I needed a retrieve. Not mentioning the war, I introduced myself to the owner Derek and his very nice family, they invited me for a coffee. We had a nice chat and he drove me down to Laxey where I found another lift back into Douglas. Great Manx Hospitality! This is what I like about the Island!

The day ended by far better then I thought with my personal best flight ( 1st XC) on the Island. Some might have had more airtime then me that day. But I was more than pleased with a bit more than half an hour and according to my Landranger Map abt 7.4 to 7.5 km from the summit of Snaefell to the place I landed.