The wind was forecast to be light NE to N so Keith and I decided to give Slieu Lewaigue a try. Got there just past 11 to see Watty taking off. He had a quick top to bottom, too light, so hung around for a while. It was not really getting any better so we bit the bullet and joined by Giles, all walked up North Barrule from the Hibernian.
Got to the top to be met by a nice breeze on the ridge. Although there was not much sunshine it was obviously quite thermic with seagulls going up. We all took off pretty much together and went up. It was very up and down with the wind obviously not strong enough to let us maintain. Watty marked a nice thermal over the saddle so dropped in beneath and got quite high, drifting over the back, probably 150 metres or so above. The lift went (prob still there just did not want to go too far back) so headed back to the ridge and got nailed into the ground. Think we all came down shortly afterwards.
Had a short walk back to the top and then took off into a more solid breeze and managed to stay up. The day had now clouded over so it was a big surprise to get into a nice thermal with Keith over the saddle again. This time followed it well over the back and into the valley behind. Probably got to cloud base (300m above take off?) with Keith about 10 metres above and headed off toward the lump behind Dhoon. The glide was not sinky but it was really quite surprising to see Laxey wheel so close and probably a ‘do-able’ glide away. Keith headed off toward the fields above Laxey wheel and I nudged west over Agneash village where I got the lightest of broken thermals. This, coupled with a nice northerly drift gave me enough height to get over the Laxey Valley. The thermal got better and I was soon back over 600 metres above sea level. I drifted with the thermal over my parents place by Fairy cottage, really quite high. I guess the lift petered out somewhere between Ballacannel and Baldrine but it was still buoyant. Picked up some lift again and just kept doing some lazy 360s drifting south all the time about 1km in land of the White Bridge straight.
Was starting to lose some height but after the success of finding something coming off the small village of Agneash decided to head to a nice brown farmyard and buildings. This worked nicely and soon had me 360-ing in some more thermals. This got me well past the Clypse reservoir and opened up Onchan/Douglas as a target. Douglas beach was also becoming an easy glide but I did n’t fancy the potential rotor from being slightly in the lee of the hotels and stuff. Things started getting mildly choppy at this point although still probably a good 300 metres above the big estate above the Archie. Surprisingly, after flying over open fields, landing options seemed limited so with a bit of discretion I rejected landing behind the TT Grandstand or further on and burnt off a bit of height over the Governor’s pad. A quick punt down Glencruthery road and then back to the large fields at the top of Blackberry Lane had me burning off the last 80 metres for a nice landing with cows underneath the Governor’s Bridge round-about. Some young lads turned up and chased the swarming cows away – nice.
Really enjoyable flight down the east coast, lift where expected, do not remember the sun coming out once but weak thermals everywhere. Thinking about it now cannot remember too much more about the flight, concentrating too much I guess. Oh, I did here a lot of children playing and screaming (like a school sports day) when I went over the farm (mentioned above) but could not see anything. Also a bit of classical music, I did wonder if I was losing it to be honest………
See you next week.