Eye in the Sky July 2005

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Photos by Everard Cunion




Sunday 31st July

Report by Alastair Florence

First port of call was St. A's today but with the wind gusting 21 mph I decided that if I launched sucessfully it might be a bit strong to head where I wanted so tried Bell as Roger E was reporting light conditions. Trouble was a bit to light and a bit West, the jungle drums where beating from Portland, i was suprised that it was flyable following my visit to St. A's earlier. I decided to can Bell and head back home via St. Aldhelms again.

It didn't feel much different in the car park but I had been assured Portland was working, ( hmm, last time I listened to advice like that I ended up getting blown back over a gorse thicket and 2 barbed wire fences ) any way I walked back out, the wind meter read a mile an hour or two less than earlier ( I didn't hold it up for long though ) so after moving down the slope a bit and hesitating a bit launched.

Once in the air I soon gained a few hundred feet and found no problem penetrating although progress was a little slow. Really smooth air though, after a bit it seemed to go a bit SW so after building up about 850ft AMSL I speed barred up wind for Houns Tout. I had decided to stick with it whatever rather than turn and run after my incident a few weeks ago if things didnt work out. It seems you always drop like a stone over the last few 100 metres and I was begining to wonder if the fresh on this morning underwear had been a waste of time. But no probs, scraped in well below the cliff top and soon scratched back up to about 800ft amsl.

I decided to head back to St. A's and then can it when I spotted another pilot on take off, I stayed in the air to give morale support and demonstrate it was still flyable but the other guy seemed in no hurry to launch. In the mean time I worked my way back to 1100 + ft amsl it seemed a shame to waste the height so back on the bar and over to the Tout again, this time arrived well above cliff top height. The guy on take off seemed to have given up and gone so I whipped back to the car park to land out.

Not much on TV tonight so nipped back up this evening, however it seemed to have picked up a bit and gone off to WNW, crows in front of T/O seemed to getting tucks and big earing to pentrate so I thought it best to go back another day.

Report by Steve Bamlett.

Checked weather this morning and it looked good for Portland West. Arrived to find Kaye E and Nigel and Company in the hotel having a pot of tea to start the day. After such a great start the day was sure to improve.

Although the wind was west a touch of north would have been nice but sadly not forthcoming. Take off as ever was very trick as the wind was near the top end and all including my self made at least one failed start, with the exception of kaye who proved yet again it was all technique. We all stayed and had a good hour floating around and landed. the wind moved more south and we were all amazed as the forecast predicted north west anyway the second flight and Nigel landed to head to Ringsted. We all landed at the pub and discussed the next move. A phone from Nigel S Flyable at Ringsted!!!! So off we all trotted.

Arrived at Ringsted in convoy to find Nigel S with loads of height and over the cliffs. It was not long after we all joined him in the air to have a play. There was a bit of west but enough to take off and go straight to the cliffs. Russell decided to go out over the sea and I had a play and then we all came back for a cup of tea. A note to all those who use my mobile canteen ( Kaye ) please bring your own cup!

All in all a really good day two sites one day works for me.

Saturday 30-7-05

Report by RW

A rustle in the trees had me concerned as to whether it was worth venturing out. A call from Steve P as to what I was up to chivvied me into decision mode. Ringstead would be worth a look even though the forecast stated veering N.W.

I met up with Nigel S & it was my turn to be "Wind Dummy", I thought I'd
better ring Ron S to let him know it was on the hill before I took off & then it was out to the cliffs for the first foray of the day. Good lift all the way & some very good height gain on the cliffs. I thought time to be a little adventurous so out over the pond to "attempt" a spiral, bit tame really about eight turns & I felt a little disorientated so up on the outside brake nice a easy & back to soaring the cliffs. Landing for lunch Nigel said " 360s" so I felt a little deflated. I will get the chance in Macedonia for the spirals so I'll be patient.

Steve B put on the brew & Kaye E arrived for some flying time. Steve P came to put the "Atis" through its paces & Nigel S was demonstrating full speed bar tactics & A Riser collapses. Ron S led the hangies, Richard M & Neville A on his dream machine the Atos. Derek S came along for a chat & a demo of his new awning for the back of the WagonR.

Late in the day Roy M & Alan W had a fly in strong conditions & Sean L gave a video showing of his Acro flying with sound effects.Several flights out to the cliffs with increasing wind strength & rain stopped play.

Fri July 29th 2005

Report by Wayne Bevan

Having decided to venture out twice in a week I arrived at Ringstead to find very pleasant conditions. After last weeks interesting flight at Bell I needed some quality airtime having not flown much in the past 2 years!

Ringstead provided me with 2 beautiful flights of about 1hr duration each. I managed to climb to 1000ft ato & like the other HGs set up a couple of turn points over the scout camp/Ringstead village.

However I couldn't resist a little bit of fun whilst low on the cliffs! It wasn't a quite a spiral dive as I pulled out after 4x 360s, pity as I was going to chuck it around the other way but I got dizzy!!!

It was a fantastic day & the dog enjoyed rolling in the cow pats!! My daughter Alex who accompanied me enjoyed the evening meal at the Red Lion at Wool on the way home. Pity she's 'retired' from flying..she's got to big for me to take for rides! Maybe I'll arrange a dual PG flight if she wants!

Report by RW

A brisk SW wind which seemed at best too strong! A call from " A legend in his own lifetime" Nigel S stated "Top End but flyable" had me proceeding to the Office at Ringstead to observe Nigel at about 800' ATO and out over Ringstead Bay.

The Hangies were having the best of it with Ron S, Neil A, Tony M & Wayne B enjoying the conditions to the best of their ability. I have to say its the first time I have seen a Hangie do a spiral dive. Steve P arrived with a quizzical look, saying "Bit too strong" but Nigel S took off again and with no obvious discomfort or speedbar coaxed us to take off, quite low down!

Made the cliffs with no problem and enjoyed the flying without speedbar and quite far out over the pond. It appeared to pick up after about 35 mins so we headed back and called it a day. Jacko ( protege Acro pilot) appeared but went off to work and promised to come back later. Seems an eternity since last flight a week ago. Maybe tomorrow on the coast folks.

July 10th – July 23rd

Report by Mike Bretherton


Adrian Bishop and myself have just spent the last 2 weeks competing in the British Open in Piedrahita (Spain) and free flying in Annecy (France) at the Maison Du Moulin. Superb flying and several personal records were broken in distance (78Km), duration (5 hours) and height (13,500ft).


Sat 23 July 2005

Report by Alastair Florence

As has been mentioned Kimmeridge was the place to be for a while this afternoon. However everyone there should kick themselves hard for not following me to Knitson when the orographic set in.

Knitson was clear of cloud although cloud base was little more than 500ft over the hill. Conditions were perfect so I launched straight away before the mad cows sussed out a paraglider was on the hill. Things felt good in the air so I hacked straight off towards Corfe along the ridge. Progress was fairly slow against a slight headwind but maintaining height was no problem. The low cloud forming from the coastal orographic was giving plenty of lift. I arrived at Corfe above the station about 20 mins later, not so much lift down here and not the best of landing options so I didnt hang about to long before heading back toward Knitson.

The flight back was much faster but less lift. At one point where a single airiel stands on the hill the ridge almost peters out and has several nasty little gullies and holes also some inconsideratly placed 11 KV overhead power lines, I got some height just before the cables but briefly had to touch down shortly after. I relaunched a few metres higher up and was away again. Arriving back at Knitson in under 10 mins I headed straight for the bowl, picked up a big patch of lift which took me to cloudbase (500ft ATO) I was able to fly out further in front than I have ever done before, almost to the railway line at Hamans cross, turned back and bottom landed 100 metres from my car which I left in the chalk pit.

I love having 4. something KM of ridge to myself.

Report by RW

St Aldhelms Head
Pleasant early morning start, 0845hrs, with Dave W, seemed very light, so waited for half an hour talking to Royal Marines tending the Remembrance Garden. If anyone has any photos of the garden from the air can they post them to G Heywood, Royal Marines Association Poole, they will get there as he is the Postman.

Anyway spent an hour floating about along the cliffs before it went S.W. & then off to Kimmeridge. Stopped at Don's the Butchers in Corfe where I got the most delectable game pie for lunch.

Report by David Winn


Met Russell W in the car park and walked to t/o with our fingers crossed.The picture above will be sent to the Royal marines assoc.

1 hour later the wind picked up & we flew for about an hour in smooth conditions with the wind turning SW forcing us to land and evacuate to Kimmeridge.

Found Sean L at the Kingston end of the ridge enjoying the site to himself. Launched and enjoyed thermic conditions for the rest of the day with Roy M, Stuart M, Ali F, Alan W, Richard M, Roger E, Neil H. + 2 ladies who Sean and Stuart battled to keep above t/o on their respective tandems.( I think Sean may have been at a slight disadvantage).

Report by Roy Menage

Arrived at Kimmeridge around 12:00 to find Sean L and Russell W scratching about. Good sign. Dave W was waiting to see what would happen next. I took to the air shortly afterwards and promptly headed for the bottom field after much scratching and several attempts to work the patchy lift low down. After a mixture of kiting and walking back up, I managed a couple more flights with much better lift and climbs to around 200ft despite the cloud cover. Ali F, Roger E, Niel H, Stuart and a couple of others (sorry, I don't know your names although I should) also turned up and flew through the afternoon. Sean and Stuart were giving tandem rides. Sean manages several visits to the bottom and wore out his passenger (Sarah, I believe) with the walks back (while Stuart managed to top land each time) but it didn't seem to put her off.

Orographic fog put an end to the fun about 3:30 (although one brave (!) soul was flying in the cloud) but of course, it cleared just as we were all leaving. All in all, a good day.


Some Hang-gliding pictures (for a change!) courtesy of Everard Cunion




Fri 22 July 2005

Report by Craig Byrne


After a slow start conditions improved and everyone had some good flights at Bell today, Adrian C & John P even got away 10k which was quite a feat with 100% cloud cover! Lots making 500ft ATO easily and also good fun scudding around low in the grass, Flight Culture students were doing well getting lots of TTB's


Report By Steve Bamlett
Date 22-07-05



Trip to Slovenia.

Just got back from another Naval exped this time the small town of Tolmin in Slovenia. The weather was good and we were able to fly 9 out of 10 days. Lots of good XC to be had and the local run as it is known was out and back to Bovec which is about 70km.

Most of the time was spent flying in and around the mountains and valleys that surround the town with some very awsome views to be had.

Apart from being very cheap there is a well organised take-off and landing sites with lots of like-minded flyers all out to try and fly to Italy. A couple did reach it but the word on the streets was that the Italian authorities take a dim view when you land out by the border crossing with out your passport. (well who said they had a sense of humour!!)

If any one whould like details of where to stay and how to get there etc. then please let me know. I can very highly recommend it before it starts to become over crowded. As of yet it has been untouched by McDonalds. Hope to see you all at the Bash.


Thurs 21 Jul 2005

Report by Craig Byrne



spent the day at Bell Parawaiting enviously watching the Hangies having a brilliant day. Everard; Steve S, Matt, John A, Phil V, Wayne B + a couple of others. The two from Condors I think made Bere Regis and a lift straight back with Sean L.. XC then lift straight back to the hill cant beat that!


Sun 17 July 2005

Report by Nicole Barnard

Arrived at Barton-on-Sea after midday just as the sea breeze was starting to form. Craig B and family turned up for some tandeming, but at this point it was still touch and go, so we took to our solo wings. But it soon picked up enough for everyone to have a lovely afternoon of floating about, chatting to the visitors and enjoying the view. Also there was Brian M, Peter C and daughter (who had a lovely tandem with Craig), John B, John R, Bruce C, Mark P, Steve A and Vince W.

Report by Alastair Florence

I had a great day at Combe Gibbet on Saturday although I hang my head in shame at not going XC despite plenty of climbs of up to 1800ft in front of the hill, it really did not look good over the back but maybe I should have asked the xc panel some questions about blue thermal days.

Still, Nicole may have been sat by the A34 for a few more hours if I had got away as we left shortly after the young lady pictured in Marks report hit the deck in front of us and collected Nicole on the way. Lesson learnt for next time.

Today looked totally dead and lifeless early on and I had kind of canned the day, by 10.30 it was looking more promising so I took a drive up to Knitson. I could see the Mad cows where in the top field so left the car at the bottom and walked up (they really are worse than the Longleat Monkeys for car destruction). It was a bit light on top but the cycles where building nicely. The crows where thermalling a bit but maybe they just havent got the sense to thermal properly and get high. The Mad cows where lying down in a group and I thought they may not be bothered to hassle me as it was hot, no chance, as soon as they spotted the wing they where after me so I changed fields a bit sharpish.

I launched at about 1230 and after a scratch down to my favourite trigger point flew straight into a nice climb. With the wind off to the West a bit you could work the climbs all the way down the ridge without going over the spine back. I had climb after climb to 500 - 800ft ATO with the trigger point never letting me down once. Probably the best day i've ever flown this site, I reckon the view from here is about the best of any of our sites. Promised I would be back to walk the wife by 1400 hrs so that was that.

I was itching for a scratch in the evening so went to St. Aldhelms at about 2000hrs. I had been watching wings at Kimmeridge whilst on the walk to Corfe and back during the afternoon. It prooved little bit to scratchy for comfort though as I spent 10 mins after launching trying to get enough height to get back to the top, still made it in the end. Take note 7 mph up the cliff is not quite enough for comfort although you may not go down.

Sat 16 July 2005

Report by Nicole Barnard

Definitely one of my most memorable flights ever, and first time at Combe (I am definitely going back there!). If it wasn't for my guru, Dave M, who once, what seems a very long time ago said to me: "and what do you do when it's a blue day? choose your trigger points on the ground and stick to the high ground." If it weren't for those wise words I probably woudn't have even wandered over the back... but anything was better than the overcrowded hill where everyone was flying. My second flight of the day was straight into a lovely strong thermal which took me, and five others over the back. Soon we were punched right through the inversion, although we lost a few of our gaggle just behind the hill. The drift was really slow and it felt like it took an age for Combe to disappear into the distance. I ended up being alone just under or in the inversion for most of my flight, with the others seemingly climbing over gates beneath me, but somehow staying in the air. The best part of the flight were 2 acrobatics bi-winged planes, one blue, one red practising their loops a few kilometres away. They came alongside at one point, did a loop right next to me, wiggled their wings to say hello and sped off again to a safe distance. Every trigger point that I headed for seemed to work, high ground, power lines, big black car parks at the end of valleys - and just as I got complacent about how easy it was, I was decked by an 8-down all the way to the ground :-( The others, who up till now had been so low beneath me, managed to find the climb that I didn't and flew over my head. But hey, it was a great flight, my first in blue thermals, really amazing!

Report by Roy Menage

Weather Jack was promising a "5" day so Roger and I arrived at Bell with a view to getting some warm-up flying in before the day really kicked off. The sight of Neil H and others high and heading off downwind reinforced the promise. Sadly, the "5" day never materialized. The cycles brought pockets of lift but nothing too exciting. Finally, at around 5:30, I decided to launch for the final flight of the day before heading home. Roger was already airborne. The "house thermal" was working nicely so I worked it for a few minutes before loosing it about 600ft. Pushed forward over the farm buildings to pick up another climb, this time to about 800ft. Still not brilliant so I went forward again to spy Rog circling below me. He was soon higher when I contacted a nice rid working at up to 3.5 up. This time I stuck with it, and following my plan, committed to my first XC at just over 1000ft. Rog and I both worked our thermals progressively gaining height and swapping "highest" as time went on. At around 2260ft ATO, we hit the inversion and went on a glide looking for a new lift. Sadly, nothing was working so we both landed out at Winterborne Stickland. Me to the west and Rog to the east. We landed within a couple of minutes of each other. Fiona and Anna very kindly came and retrieved us (thanks a million). My first XC! 6km! Roll on the next one.

Report by Mark Fisher



After reading Gill`s encouraging EITS report for Blorenge last week thought i`d like to tag along to see what its all about although. Not yet confident enough to go XC I`ve got to make a start somewhere. A great day meeting new people and flying a new site and enjoyed the laid back feeling to it all.

Editor's note:The female pilot (Southern club member) on the collapsed blue wing hit the ground fairly hard, but was conscious and had no apparent injuries. She was evacuated by ambulance for check-up at hospital

Report by RW



An "unusually" busy day at Bell! So many Pilots all the usual suspects, too many to mention.

Noteworthies, the Flight Culture posse with John W being an absolute "brick" giving tandems to the uninitated allowing them an experience of a lifetime CHEERS JOHN! Sean L demonstrating his flying skills, Nigel S greeting old friends & also showing his abilities in the air, Fiiona & Anna looking for encouragement and all the XC hounds going off for anything between 5 & 20ks. Martin F flew from Telegraph back home to Chickerell!

Report by Craig Byrne

Team Mighty Wessex had a good day at Combe today, it was very busy and eventually just blue thermals. Also quite busy at times but fun when you managed to get higher.

Flight 1: Took a weak but massive 1 up off the trees then drifted for what seemed like ages till it finally sorted itself out and I made base at 4000ft above the wind-turbine. There was very little drift and I opted early to head towards Andover which looked like a good route (lots of cropped fields, and a few clouds) The climbs were better now but very sinky on glides, East of Andover worked well and I then got low near Chilbolton Radar but hooked a final boomer joined by 6 sailplanes then sink city and a long glide into the blue for 27k.

Flight 2: Hopped off and in almost 15mins hit a good climb with a big gaggle similar route to earlier flying most of the way with Carlo, finally land at a farm and get a lift into Andover.

Massive thanks to Mark Fisher and John Blessing for the retrieves from Andover (The beers are on me next time I see you) :o)

The only distances I know of are Gill LeGras 24.40k & Nicole Barnard 20.00k

Fri 15 July 2005

Report by RW

Optimism after the drag of the last week. Confirmation it was flyable at BELL, Derek S & Ron S were on the ground after 40 mins flying. I waited to eat the sandwiches and took off with several other hopefuls. At one stage whipped up in a thermal on the spur and suffered a front tuck followed by an asymetric. Oops! John W & Sean L advised I overcooked my re-action so lesson learned, ease up "slowly" on the brakes!!

A short flight afterwards to calm the nerves & then off to Ringstead for the seabreeze. I left many others at Bell but Martin F phoned to say it was a non event? Anyway at Ringstead Steve P was about one grand over the cliffs, looked quite spectacular, was it the SKY ATIS he was flying? Nigel S was waiting to T.O. I follwed swiftly to find it was the bumpiest transition I had ever made to the cliffs. I have no idea what caused it but Nigel S agreed & said he overcame it with speedbar! Anyway several trips out to the cliffs joined by Paul K Graham H & James T. It went very West at about 1700hrs so heres hoping for Bell tomorrow. Such good news about the SPS HOORAY!"!!!

Report by Jon Harvey


Well for the first time this week, met office didn't forecast a sea breeze, so what did we have? A decent sea breeze, strong at times and quite westerly, but definitely flyably, and for the last day,prior to the site closure for summer holidays.

Wind was just too far to the west, so unable to make Golden Cap, but not for lack of trying, losing 700 ft plus from Thorncombe to Seatown, by then down to less than 200ft, so chickened out as I didn't fancy the long walk.

Only three made it TB. JP. and JH.


Thurs 14 July 2005

Report by RW

The "alledged" sea breeze did not amount to very much due to high pressure
inversion & sea mist! on all three days.

More interestingly one of the "Original" Paraglider Pilots, NIGEL SMITH, showed his face after a long absence. He also showed his ability to stay in the air in the scratchiest of conditions and never gave up. What an example!

His tales of derring do and past antics of what we consider our most esteemed pilots beggars belief. So for those of you who remember Nigel give him a call on 07810711329 he
will be glad to hear from you. He is currently in UK for a few more weeks and is keen to fly.

Hopefully tomorrow will be BELL!!


Sat/Sun 9/10 July 2005

Report by Colin Davies

The forecast for high pressure said "head to the high hills", so it was to the Lake District I went for two cracking days of thermal flying at Clough Head. On Saturday afternoon the 1000' cliffs were working well and people flew well into the evening. The bubbles always seemed to stop at about 2000', and although you could not get to cloudbase, that did not spoil the fun. After a few hours in the air myself and Rob Beattie from the Borders club took a prolonged glide down the valley towards Grasmere and spotted a convenient campsite next to a pub at which to stay.

The next day the sun was mighty hot, even first thing in the morning. By lunch time Clough Head was already working. There were about thirty pilots on the hill, but the site is so huge it felt empty by Wessex standards. The thermals were stronger and by mid afternoon I was flying through the edge of a cloud 4000' up. Looking to the west, over the mountains and sea, the Isle of Man was crystal clear. The flight along the ridge to Grasmere was a terrific way to see the local scenery. It felt like cheating to be gliding over the well walked paths of Helvellyn, the steep edges and rocky slopes generating more thermals. All too soon it was time to land and get a lift back, watching several more pilots making the journey along the hills, before the long drive home.

Report by Gill Le Gras (the only member of the team not working today)

Another fantastic weekend, flying in the BCC in South Wales, this time with a full team out and reserves.

With a north east wind, we flew the Blorenge both Saturday and Sunday. The weather was good both days, although a little windy on Saturday, resulting in a few aborted take offs and the odd dragging across the hill.

This didn't stop us though. On Saturday, Sean Staines, team leader, led the way and managed to fly 26k . Pete Charmers hotly followed and flew 35k . The rest of us waited, or like me couldn't manage to get off due to poor ground handling. Ali Florence, Dave Wynn and Mark Price had several flights, eventually leaving the hill later in the day. Ali made about 20k( I think), Mark made 35k ( a personal best) and Dave out flew us all and made it to Maestag 45.6k (a personal best), only stopping when the sea breeze shut him down. After tears and tantrums on the ground (it's allowed, I'm a girl), I managed 36k (a personal best). The reserves ( Nick Le Gras, Gerry, Jeremy Mortimer) also had a good day on the hill eventually flying down to the landing field to await our return. An excellent day's flying was had by all.

On Sunday, it was hot and thermic, with less wind, so timing was more important. Conditions were a bit more lively, resulting in SIV maneuvers for at least 2 members of the team. Again, Sean led from the front and managed 25k. Pete went next and looked like he was going to bomb out and so headed for the landing field. But with true skill and a lot of tenacity and encouragement from the hill, he made it to the house thermal and crawled out from about 1000ft and made it to cloud base. Quite an achievement. He then proceeded to fly another 36k , totaling 39k for the day.

Dave had an equally tough time, landing out low down, staggering back up the hill and taking off a second time to make 38.2k. He even managed to fly to another South Wales site, where he was accosted by the locals wanting to know how to thermal.

Keith flew for the team on Sunday and after scratching on the hill, climbed out to make 18k. I went last and scratched for endless minutes before making it to cloud base, achieving 29.6k. Again the reserves had several flights on the hill before flying down to the pub.

I'm not sure what the final scores will be as they weren't posted when we left Wales last night (www.flybcc.co.uk), but I think the team did really well, achieving personal bests and having some epic flights. All made possible must I add by our retrieve driver Andrea and "the van".

Andrea drove for 4 hours on both Saturday and Sunday, retrieving pilots scattered across the welsh valleys, some at the top, others at the bottom and also those who didn't have a clue where they were. I'd like to say a huge thank you on behalf of the team to Andrea for her patience and navigation skills as I think without both, some of us would still be trying to find our way home.

Next week, BCC is in Derbyshire, so get in touch with Keith Wright (comps@wessexhgpg.org.uk tel 01202 691 599) and volunteer your services. The competition is low-key and fun and anyone can take part. So if you went to listen to the XC panel last week, dust off your kit, put new batteries in your vario and radio, get a weekend pass and put your thermalling skills into practice, your club needs you.


Sun 3 July 2005

Report by Neil Weymouth

Excellent afternoon at St.A, lifty and scenic, 170m ATO. Easy crossings to Houns Tout keeping well away from turbulence. Got a bit windy at 4ish so called it a day.

Report by Roger Edwards

Strange day. First thing there were no obvious clues about where to go – not enough wind? Too much wind? SW? NW? W? Even a report of it having backed from W to SSE at Ringstead! Decided on Kimmeridge over Bell as heard that Gaz M had left Bell because it went way off.

Arrived to find Flight Culture crew just getting organised and a light, but on, wind of 8mph. Alan W had a scratchy 20mins but slowly the wind speed improved giving a couple of hours of great fun for all. Thermals were kicking off from below to give nice height which you could then lose dashing down the ridge to scratch along to the next trigger.

The Swyre Head end was working well and I had the best part of 300ft there, my best for Kimmeridge. In fact, it was my best ever flight here and, at last, one I really enjoyed, even when I was close to the ground. Seems that my flying head is also recovering from my accident.

As the afternoon progressed the wind increased to eventually blow-out, leading to an unfortunate incident. A pilot was building a wall in the bowl when a gust took the wing, flipped him over the wall into a parked car and then a fence post. Result – broken shoulder-blade, dented car. This highlights once again the potential for damaging drags at Kimmeridge, so please be careful here if the conditions are strong. Thanks to Alan W for taking him to the hospital - very magnanimous given it was his car that suffered.

Report by Gill Le Gras

What an amazing 24 hours. Touched down at Gatwick airport after a week's flying in the Alps, switched on the phone and received a call from Sean Staines to ask if Nick and I would like to represent Wessex in the BCC competition in South Wales. After a moment's hesitation, I said yes.

Up early the following morning and off to the meet point in Abergavenny. We arrived and as I looked around, I realized that I was the only female pilot. There was one consolation, if I bombed out then I would at least win the lady's prize. We received a phone call from 2 other pilots who had agreed to compete, they weren't coming as they thought the weather was no good. We were a team of 3.

It was decided that the start point would be Merthyr common, so off we all went. Arrived to windy conditions, gusting upto 18 mph and the wind off the hill. What joy.

Still everyone laid out their wings and a few brave souls took off. It was thermic and the lift and especially sink was quite severe near the hill, resulting in Sean, who I have never seen dragged in 3 years, landing down wind and cascading along the hill.

Conditions improved for a short time and Sean and Nick launched. Sean got away whilst Nick gained height to be a speck in the sky.

I launched and tried to crab along to the bowl. No way, I was pinned and going up and backwards. I turned into wind and wham, hit a huge thermal. I then climbed out to cloudbase, over the back and off on my fourth UK xc of my flying career.

I heard Sean radio in to say he had landed out in Ebbw vale so headed off in that direction. I was joined by a sail plane at cloud base which was interesting . I soon scared him off!

I then proceeded down wind over hills and valleys, following another pilot on an omega 6. I reckoned if he had such a good wing, he should know what he was doing. I got a low save over a graveyard and flew over Sean. After some hairy moments, things settled down, climbing out when I could and gliding when I couldn't. Eventually, I ran out of steam and landed out close to a village.

I phoned into Andrea and agreed that I would determine my whereabouts. I was at Llanvihangel Crucorney between Abergavenny and Hereford, a total flight of 30.3km. I found a village shop, bought myself a well earned ice cream and waited to be picked up.
Sean and Andrea picked me up.

The 3 of us had flown a total of 45km, not bad for our first BCC and a great way to celebrate my last day of freedom before going back to work on Tuesday.

Report by Alastair Florence

I had a nice little fly at St.A's this morning followed by a very top endy one this evening, I moved onto Kimmeridge after a bit but found it 23-28mph here.

During the afternoon I took a walk around Encombe with my wife, A red wing (an Airwave I think) was having a whale of a time on St.A's. Crossing to Houns Tout twice I believe and gaining masses of height out by the coastguards.

If anyone knows who this was perhaps they could make them aware of the following. :- If you are an old pro then please ignore this and don't be offended by me stating the obvious.

It was an exceptional day on this site, Whoever it was flew it extremely well but please bear in mind if this was your first visit to the site that the Houns Tout crossing does not always work and with more west in it the Coastguards end must be treated with great respect. Yes I was jealous, very immpressive. I tried to get to the Tout after 17.30hrs and found the head wind to strong to penetrate without major height loss, and did not want a repeat of my wing horseshoeing over me.

Report by RW

RINGSTEAD: Well it had to get flyable somewhere sometime. Arrived at 1130hrs after hearing from Gaz M. that Bell was not working. Ground handled for a short time until it became strong enough to maintain. Gary P arrived closely followed by Neil H Sean L Allen T & Grant O. Wafted about & went for the Cliffs with good height enjoying the company of the peregrines. Neil H came out on the Gin Zulu and two military helicopters kept a good distance away. Back to launch for lunch & then went & did it all again. James T & Ron S arrived, good to see Ron back to full health. Lawrence T arrived as it picked up & Ron S went Hang-gliding for several hours. I have to say the new Woody Valley "Peak" Harness is so light!!



Sat 2nd July 05

Report By Steve Bamlett

Having been away for some time at sea it was nice to see some buddys at Ringstead who fell into the same trip I did and trusted the weather report.

The drive from Porstmouth was fine until I got to ringstead to find in completely covered in Mist / low cloud.(Bummer) Anyway went and walked the dog and had some chips only to come back 3 hours later to find the same conditions. Talking to Roger,Rod,Tim etc. and we all wanted the wind to die down and fog to lift. Another hour went by and there was a ray of hope. Decided to have a play. Take off was at the top end about 15/17 mph but steady. managed to get a bit of a play on the ridge but was hard going pushing out. Did not try for the cliffs but at least the sun came out for half an hour. Felt good in my new harness and had to bottom land as the wind picked up again.

No one else flew but I enjoyed my 20 mins. Good to see some old buddys again.

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