From very early Saturday looked good so I was keen to get out.
Headed out with Simon and passed Ean on the way who kindly provided a lift up through the fields to the wall in his Land Rover. At the top it was blowing about 10-14mph and there were some good looking cloud streets from South Barrule. Had a quick scratchy flight and slope land as Watty and Damian arrived. We then all moved round to face a little further South and as Watty and Damian were setting up I took off again for another little scratch. This time however there was a lot more lift…really good in fact so I hooked in and was getting beeps the whole way round – looked down and was close to going over the back, not especially high as had just taken off but the lift felt very good so stuck with it and continued to thermal.
Everyone was still on the ground chatting and I felt like I was sneaking off as I could not get to the radio to tell them to get airborne. Climbed up to about 800m and the lift stopped at Freogane so headed downwind and losing height quickly but over the plantation behind Ballaugh found some more good lift and quickly got established for a 500m climb up to 1000m. I was now over the top of Ballaugh and the views were amazing – the cloud in front of me on the flatlands was below me and it was real fun flying down through it. Noticed that there was a cloud street over to my right so changed course a bit to try and get underneath it – thinking that with another climb I would make the Point of Ayre….it wasn’t to be and I ended up landing in the field opposite Brightlife. There are an awful lot of horses ‘up North’ it wasn’t easy finding a field with no horses.
Simon rang to say that he had also escaped and was in Sulby.
Daiman then texted to say that he had made it to Ballaugh.
I then hitched it back to Ramsey, walked up to the Mountain Road and hitched it again to Brandywell and then hitched again to the Druidale road…from there I walked back up to take-off.
It still looked good at take-off and Watty, Ste, Goldie and a visiting Pilot were all on launch. Simon had beaten me back and already had his wing laid out – once he was airborne I quickly set-up and joined him. Again almost instantly after take-off I found myself in a thermal with Simon going over the back….this time I did not really have enough height and was not properly established and fell out over the back…..dithered for a bit…made some bad decisions…then saw Simon in a climb over Freogane so dived in under him but I was a bit low and now behind Sartfell so managed to gain some height from that thermal while conscious to stay on the coastal side of Freogane where the air should be a bit cleaner. From there my only option was a downwind dash with the hope of finding some random lift on the coastal side….which was never going to happen but I had sufficient height and speed to fly over Ballaugh and land out in a field. I then watched Simon find some weak lift over the flatlands and drift away with good height going round in zeros. Simon asked what the wind speed was at Point of Ayre so I rang the met and radioed back to Simon that it was 8knots as he disappeared into the distance.
I then hitched it back to take-off again……and drove home with a grin on my face. A good day.
Tracklog is now on XC League…..looking forward to seeing Watty’s.