Saturday August 5th found myself at Sartfell getting there just before the road closed for the rally at 2.15pm. Si and Keith, keen as ever had been out, gone back home and gone back out again. As I was walking up there was a very light breeze from the SW. The boys already on top were doing some ground handling and a couple of small flights and top/ slope landing after 20-30 seconds. Very warm walk up. I did some ground handling and we all did more small flights almost managing to soar but reluctant to go out from the hill and sink and have to walk back up. Anyhow after about 2 ½ hours the wind started to pick up and there were pockets of sun coming. A very nice cloud street ran from at least Slieu Roy to Snaifell (again). Giles arrived along with Watty and they took off. Giles and Watty did very well out front for 20 minutes or so with Giles eventually landing down the bottom- only to walk back up again as the conditions were to get better. Watty landed to the NW of take off around the side of the hill and came back up also. Si Keith and I patiently waited and took off in 11-14mph. It has gone quite westerly but now it was coming around to SW again. I managed 45? minutes before having to land due to dinner commitments. Plenty of lift, only 1 360 over summit and about 80m ato?. Landed at 5.50. Si and Keith also had to land prematurely. Dan arrived about that time and was heading up. Watty was still flying, Giles was on way back up too. Hope someone picked up orange wind sock and white and red one in the field used for spot landing?
Simon, Keith, Giles, Watty and I flew Benny Pot on Saturday. Watty was first there and had a few attempts at soaring in an easterly at 12-16mph, but only managed a few minutes each time. Si was next off around 12ish and it seemed to be working better with good thermals although they were rather broken and quite bumpy. I followed and expected to fly down to the cars at Brandywell as we planned to head to off to Slieu Roy, but after pushing out front and maintaining I made my way back up the hill where Keith and Giles had now taken off. There was no problem staying up and Si was first off south to Carrighan with 70m ATO, I was next with 110m ATO followed by Keith and Giles. We all made it quite easily however it felt a push at times with slow progress in the stiff wind crossing the gap. The 4 of us spent 20 minutes soaring Carrighan realising we would need 200-250m above the summit to head further south over reservoir but in fairly strong thermals and 15-17 mph wind it wouldnt happen today.
Snaefell to Maughold Head on Saturday April 29, 2006 for a total of 10.24km. Took off at 11.50 Snaefell summit. Wind was west 12 to 14mph with some thermic cycles upto 16-17mph. Took off and straight into lift. A few S-turns 1 360′ and I was looking at the ridge across to North Barrule, I had gained 250m ATO without really expecting to do an XC and as I left Snaefell I managed to collect another nice thermal on north side of Snaefell before heading for Mt. Stupid. I lost 300m and was 20 meters from decking it once across TT course, but patiently worked weak but then firm thermals to maintain a reasonable height towards north barrule. It was quite rough in places but reached NB at 540m ASL (40 meters above stone wall?). Spent 20-25 minutes soaring and thinking where to go. Plenty of thermals. Left NB at 570m ASL (20m above summit?) wanting to go as far as I could toward Maughold and with the wind. The cloud shadows showed a NW drift. About the area above the Hibirnia landing field I received another nice thermal which took me from 540m ASL to 700m ASL wher cloud base was and momentarily experienced some whiteness. Happy to clear away from the lift as I realised I was going to run out of land I started decending toward Maughold Church as I was still 500m ASL. Did some relaxing 360’s taking in one of the most beautiful views of the Head, Laxey bay, Ramsey bay, the mountains, the ocean and aqua marine color of the small inlets etc, to land next to the cemetery- the only field with no livestock in it. Bloody brilliant!!. Thanks to Ean and Chris who kindly picked me up and drove me to my car at Snaefell.
You can view the flight track by clicking on the distance (10.24) in the XC league table
One of the best days on Ballaugh I’ve experienced- probably THE best. Now I know what all the ‘old timers’ have been talking about (you know who you are…) describing Ballaugh as the best site on the Island. There were about 9 or 10 paragliders out this day and we still maintained good separation and plenty of room. Lift everywhere and great to practice top landings, have a bite to eat out of Swales picnic (while he was flying of course), and take-off again. I had 3 separate flights with the last being the best in conditions that were getting stronger. I just managed to take-off on final flight- probably needed to move out front of the hill out of compression but once off I gained my highest altitude (290m ATO). With Martin flying on his hangy and Simon and I flying either side allowing plenty of room for him to manouver, it wasn’t long before I was in the wisps of clouds. Si had cleared off north to XC before I decided to do the same. First time off the hill here, I lost some height and was at about take-off height around Sulby village where some weak lift appeared. Saw Si’s landing field and thought I’ll land there just before I managed lift which took me past Glen Duff Depot for a PB of 5.3km. Well done to all pilots who, I think would have achieved and learnt something on this day.
Here is the story of my trip to Snaifell landing field from Sartfell on Saturday.
After spending an hour or so soaring out front with plenty of top landings, Keith decided to head east toward Slieu Maggle to try to find lift under a nice cloud street that was developing. Simon and I were eyeing the sky which was looking quite good with more clouds developing closer to Sartfell. After a scruffy take off Si and I headed east also and parked ourselves under what looked like a good cloud, however nothing came from it. Si unfortunately landed the other side of the little gully. I was planning to head back to the ridge when I got some pleasant lift (1.5- 2m/s).
Saturday saw Keith, Simon and myself on top of Slieu Roy at about 2pm. Wind was light between 6 and 8 mph and smack on, and by the time we set up Keith was just able to soar and slope landed. This was followed by Si and myself soaring also. We had 2-3 flights each whilst the wind was picking up to 12-14mph. It was terrific practice ridge soaring 5 meters or so above ground and slope landing. By 3.30 or so Goldie and Ian (one of the clubs newest pilots fresh from the course) rocked up and after a discussion of what Ian was going to do (flight plan) and before the wind picked up any more Ian did a superb reverse launch and had a fantastic extended top to bottom landing safely out front where Keith had landed after his 20 minutes or so. Whilst this was happening Si was in the air getting ‘slammed by big thermals’ (his words), but the reality was it quite good in that we all had extended flights with plenty of lift around. Goldie aka ‘the shadow’ was pleased no one went cross country, and he managed to get a close look at the moss on one of the stone walls prior to landing.
Sunday saw Philip, Si and Keith burning up the sky at Slieu Roy. I was inspired by their stories (I was at another BBQ) of big thermals and 45 minute flights so headed out. Philip said plenty of lift out front but found it quite bumpy (direction NE) there- maybe rotor from hills to north east? I had pleasant 10 minute flight (not quite enough to soar) at 8.30 then yomped up again, but by then wind had picked up to 18-20mph and gone further north. Thought it might have been gust front as there were what seemed black clouds and showers out in the sea. Walked down. But good reminder to everyone how quickly things can change even in our little alps!
Martin, Tony and Swales were also out at Slieu Lewaigue….but with no wind at all there!
Tuesday looks good.
A nice top to bottom from Slieu Roy when the fog lifted. It was balmy on the summit with the rest of the peaks on the Island peeking out of the thick blanket of fog. Si, Keith and I enjoyed the warmth for an hour or so before Philip rocked up. Shortly after that we all took off in nill wind conditions and headed for the triangle. All made it with 40-50 meters altitude to spare. Philip managed to glide the furthest and landed in a field over the other side of the road from the rest. Dead smooth.
Saturday dawned with Watty the early bird getting the best of Ballaugh, enjoying some great soaring for about 90 minutes. By the time Goldie, Martin, Bill and myself arrived there were isolated showers out to the NW. We waited in our cars as the hail and rain fell at the back of Ballaugh hill before deciding to try our luck down south, so Bill, Goldie and I headed to Cronk Ny Array Laa about 4ish. Wind was 16-20mph NNW seemed right direction but too strong with low cloud and some bigger clouds above. Looked a bit rough but Watty claimed his flights were fairly smooth earlier on. We did notify air traffic of our impending flights and called to tell them we had decided not to fly. They were very appreciative of our contact. So no flying for most of us.
Sunday arrived dull and overcast however Watty had again sought some great soaring at Slieu Lewaige early on with another hour or so logged up (180M ATO (590 foot)). By the time I arrived Tony was setting up and Martin had just landed along with Watty. Tony and I enjoyed a half hour in 8-12mph in light rain at times, slope landing in the big field to the left just before the wind dropped. Nice pockets of lift especially on the eastern point. Tony’s first flight at Slieu Lewaige so well done Tony. My longest flight since October- same site. Hope there’s more flyable weather soon for those poor fellas who had their hand full of…