Paragliding Weekend 29th-30th September 2007

The BBC prophecy of clear blue flying skies proved completely unfounded as Saturday gloomily dawned.  Si and Keith had been out and found everything clagged in. It …looked like it was clearing a tiny bit…. I had a quick peek from Santon and saw a dot taking off from Beinn-y-Phott – Giles and Chris Mis were out braving the clag. At that very moment a patch of blue sky appeared above my head – time to get busy.

Half an hour later saw myself, Giles, Chris Mis, Ste, Si, Keith, Bill, Ean and Gold stood on Phott in the gloom. The cloud had been up and down but now looked like it was lifting a little. Not very inspiring but hey we could always try for Carrighan …and it’’s always a different day there.  The wind was a little off to the north. First to cross the gap were Giles and Si and we watched with interest as they seemed to climb easily on the next ridge. Next to go was Keith.  I was, however, stuck – not managing to get up to even to the top of Phott.  Eventually, after a long sweaty scratch, a blip came through that got me level with the top and I was off.  The glide was easy and Carrighan was working well as usual.  Just head for the gate and up you go.

Better thermals on Carrighan (500m) had me keen to cross the lake and try to get onto the Cronk.  Maxed out at 532m and took a dubious glide over the lake.  Lost a lot off height here and ended up setting my sights on a few fields by the venture centre. The air then became very rough and sinky and things started to happen very quickly. Barely had time to get into wind before I was dumped onto the ground and an unsuspecting sheep. Before I had time to get my breath back the said, now tangled sheep, started to try and kick me in the head. Just about managed to free my landing partner before I noticed the rumble of a herd of cattle headed my way…. Did I mention I’m cowphobic? Rose and run, rose and run… and hide. Quite an eventful landing and not one I want to repeat too soon.

I resolve to leave Carrighan a lot higher in the future.  As I was packing up Giles passed over head with no problems.  He reported he had left at the same height…. We shall peruse our track logs with interest…. Personally I shall now be leaving as high as possible…. 600m minimum.

Si, Gold and Bill flew down the St Lukes track, with Keith making a very good glide down towards the church. Ste got to TSWNN.

Sunday.  I was stuck at home – I even got her flowers!  Eventually got out to retrieve Giles, Gold, Keith and Bill from the St Luke’s area.  Bill made another very good glide, getting past the church. Staying out over the valley seems to aid the glide. Jamie and Watty stayed on Phott.

So a dam good weekend considering how poor and claggy the weather was looking.  Beinn-y-Phott / Carrighan seems to be getting better and better.  It’’s only a matter of time before we hit it on a good day and see what it actually has to offer.

Can’’t wait!