Barrule – Onchan

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.  Continue reading Barrule – Onchan

More Spring Flying

12.30pm Sunday

Snaefell was working well initially. Giles jumped off first whilst I was left dealing with about 35 issues. By the time I took off Giles had been well high above take off. It then got more and more northerly (although thermic) and Jamie, Keith, Giles, and I all sunk out repeatedly. After enough walking with my wing to last a life time from the previous day / weekend Giles and I decided to head out under a cloud. Lots of useable lift (which I couldn’t) so landed.

Bill picked us up from the lander and we headed to Carrigan. No wind there until Giles offered his bbq pork to the wind gods. This did the trick (obviously) and both jumped off into a nice 12mph some minutes later. As always Carrigan worked like a charm, although any escape to the south or east was blocked by the Douglas Bay cu-nim. We were both plenty high enough to continue to take the 1-2 m/s thermals over the back if we wished to get sucked into oblivion.  Could see the boys on Snaefell going up and down all the time too.

Anyway, we both punted around in the thermic conditions for some time. Then a glider appeared from Beinn-y-Phott. It glided down the small ridge from Benny to the SWNN and then nipped over to the foothills of Carrigan. Young Swalesy had made it over from Snaefell. He was really unlucky because just at that time it switched off and we all landed. Swalesy and I walked up. I took off and went up in some more thermals (4.40pm) then headed to the car at the SWNN. Got higher and higher and higher on the way over and started having giddy thoughts about flying to all places. Then got nicely drilled into the ground just before making it. That was it, an interesting and thermic day.

I think Watty landed on the foot hills of Beinn-y-Phott.

Paragliding 22-8-2009

On Friday night the weather looked rubbish, too south, too strong for Saturday.

Saturday morning came, and Windmap had Ronaldsway, west, 12 mph backing to the south and increasing.  An early start was required if we had any chance. Keith, Jamie and I headed to Sartfell. After what looked like a totally blown out situation going over the mountain, Sartfell lander had a nice breeze from the SW . Ten minutes later we were at the top watching cloud base drop to about 20 metres above sea level at Peel. The cloud soon engulfed us, but was not that thick and all looked smashing the other side. Had a few hops into a fickle breeze (about 7 mph) before things started to get organised.  It got thermic real quick and soon enough we were all getting some real nice soaring  with the odd 360. 

As is often the way, once above  130 metres (ato) it became a lot easier to maintain height – so headed out and towards the south. Soon enough another week cycle came through that had me thermalling back to the hill. Was going up surprisingly nicely for so early in the day (11.30ish) so stuck with it for a bit over the back. The thermal kept giving and with Jamie dropping in beneath, both had a lazy climb out to Freghane (or whatever it is called!)
Continue reading Paragliding 22-8-2009

Big Saturday …continued


Base was lifting all the time in the early morning, rocked up to SWNN and met Ian. Headed back down to Sartfell, was very south but after spending 20 minutes liberating a sheep from barbed wired with rock drove up. It was light and south. Set up over the southern gorge facing the back of Slieu Roy. Had a few hops then settled down for a picnic. Damien arrived. Looked like it was improving. As I tucked into lunch Keith disappeared over the back, a mad rush into the air followed!! Felt like text book stuff to me, the thermals were cycling through and I got into another weak one and headed off. By this time Keith was out of sight, at base above Ballaugh apparently!! My thermal took me to a max of 236m above Slieau Freoghane before I lost it.

Continue reading Big Saturday …continued

Bobcat Flying Sunday 5th April 2009

Sunday dawned sunny and with the wind soon increasing to 20 mph on the hills it was time to put the theory gathered (from reading the online manual for a few minutes and watching U-tube) into practice. Nearly did not bother after reading the label on the wing however. Headed to Sartfell first of all for a little bit of ground handling.

The wing seemed to swing from left to right like a pendulum, although the breaks did not feel they were giving too much feedback. It also had a tendency to keep doing frontal collapses (could have been a little turbulent with hindsight). Trimmed it right down which made it a little easier, or maybe we were getting used to it. The funniest thing is not having to pull it up to inflate, it simply climbs into the air all on it’s own. Must remember this when on the hill, you could be flying before you are in the harness!!

After a good hour or so we headed back to the Site With No Name where it blowing nice and strong. A quick walk down the face, an even quicker unpack and soon the thing was above my head, (some times) or on its ears (most of time). I waited for a gust to come through (maybe 20 mph) and hopped off. Seemed quite fast even though it was totally trimmed down, so much so that as the wind was quite westerly I did not really want to turn and head back down the ridge towards take off!! Luckily the wind must have dropped to 14 mph and so did I, doing a nice slope landing.  With the second attempt I got a little more height and actually did a couple of beats, with the wind probably a little more on the ‘hill’ also.

The wing feels fast, (naturally) solid and not mega twitchy. I reckon with the trimmers let off a little this could all change!!  The wind was obviously getting up and now I could maintain a little as I slowly headed out over the valley. It did seem very wrong getting a little height with only a little thing above my head, but with a slow turn I was soon losing any height gained and back down to the ridge.  The final flight must have been done in about 24mph of wind and it was all ‘OK’. Real shame the wind was such a rubbish direction, otherwise I reckon we would have been zooming around all day!!

I reckon surfing the coast will be an absolute blast!! Jamie did not fancy it so maybe it looked a little more hairy than it really was! Please note that the harness, apart from ruining my family allowance (until I wrapped them in my helmet bag) naturally spreads your legs.

May be good after work this week although could be a little light for this thing!! Catch you later.

Snaefell to Laxey

Snaefell SW 0-5 mph

Got up to the top at about 2.30pm and met Bill. There seemed to be some thermals coming through and felt as though we could stay up. We couldn’t though with Giles, Keith, Jamie, Bill and I all slope landing. Had an ice cream and then all set up for forward launches as the wind by 3.30pm had gone. We were joined by Colin.

Jamie and Bill got off first, Jamie finding some week thermals down to the southern side and having a very extended top to bottom. Bill had pretty much the same about 10 minutes later to the northern side. Colin was off next and found something just a bit of the ridge.  I lobbed off from the northern end of the ridge, followed by Keith to the south with Giles.

The thermal was weak but after a few 360’s got a bit more established with Colin above and Keith and Giles sliding in below.  After  some time in the creamiest thermal in the world got to cloud base at about 940 metres asl. The cloud was multi-tiered so we were able to keep climbing to a second cloudbase at 1025 metres. It was real magic stuff flying around between the cloud high above Snaefell.

With no more height to be gained I headed through a gap in the cloud towards Laxey followed by Keith and then Colin about another 20 metres above. After an inital  smooth 5:1 glide things calmed themselves down and had a nice 34-37 kmph glide all the way to Laxey. There was no really lift or sink of note on the way down, just showing that anything there was had come from Snaefell.

Crossed the Laxey Glen Valley , checked the state of the Tide in Laxey harbour (in) so landed just by the transmitter above Mike Swales’ house.  Do not know where Colin peeled off to, Ballacannall perhaps. Keith landed just up the road with Giles (leaving Snaefell 200 m below everyone else apparently) making it there as well. Next glider is a Rush 2 then?

It was a lovely flight – shame I did not turn on the GPS track log until I got to the Laxey Wheel and had unpacked the camera. Nice fresh orange at the parents and then Tara came and collected me.

Ballaugh 10-09-05

Ballaugh on Saturday 10th September was a good day. Got there about 1 p.m, Swalesy picked us up and took us to the top, thanks matey. He had already had a nice little flight. Watty was flying when we got to the top staying up nicely probably 150 – 190 metres ato. Keith & I got off into some nice weakish thermals and I tried to head North over the trees under weakish looking cloud. base was not v high so was not looking too good to get anywhere. Headed back to take off arriving lowish but easily able to get above again. After another 20 mins it shut off, Watty and I decked it on the south side. Keith stayed up for a bit longer heading to the north end.

Continue reading Ballaugh 10-09-05

Air like cotton wool

After the rain cleared Jamie & I headed out for a look. The intention was Ballaugh but the Brandywell hut had a very light westerly breeze so thought Snaefell would be worth a look.

Got to the top about 8 o’clock to be met with a nice steady 10-12 mph, bang on. The sun was starting to set so we got kitted up and ready to take off. The wind picked up a tadge to 14-16mph so staying up was going to be o.k. Both jumped off and went up 10 metres or so.  The cloud appeared from nowhere so were force to abort what was looking like a real nice flight. A quick dash to the lander in extremely buoyant air with big ears in was the order of the day. An amusing 8 minute flight!!

Upon landing, a nice lady, (35-38, dark hair, nice personality) and her dog, turned up, jumped out of her car and asked if we were o.k and not lost!!
It must have come as quite as surprise to see two gliders suddenlyappearing from no where?  Anyway, Jamie cadged a lift to the top to get his motor so all worked out smashing.

The low cloud clag then moved away as quickly as it came. Great…..

Cronk Ny Arrey Laa

5 p.m and what has become the usual after work tour of the Isle of Man began. Wind looked about spot on from Castletown for a nice Snaefell flight.  On arrival it looked strong and the landing field had it very south.  Binned this and headed to Sartfell. Of course it was off to the west here!! Was heading back down south anyway so kept going to South Barrule, far to Northerly here.

Continue reading Cronk Ny Arrey Laa

Flying 27-07-05

Met up with Adrian, Martin and Jamie who had been looking at Slieu Lew at about 1.30pm. The wind seemed very light so Jamie and I had a march up N Barrule.  The background wind was about 2 mph from Ramsey but every now and again a nice steady 6-8 mph came through from the east side.  We decided to take off on the east side  and had a nice 15 mins floating around in abundant, but very week thermals on the rocky face overlooking Slieu Lew. Both landed at about 3 p.m and then Martin, Adrian, Jamie & I headed of to Slieu Roy, although Northerly on Barrule and westerly in Peel the met was still giving east at  Ronaldsway.

Continue reading Flying 27-07-05