Eye in the Sky - Jun 2010

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Wed 30 Jun 2010

Report by Neil Mccain

Bulbarrow has something of a reputation: fly there and expect some abuse! This was certainly true for me today, as several of the more august members of the club soundly abused me by text for leaving a message on the sitephone advising of my early exit.

Should they have blamed me? My half hour flight had been undertaken as the 'least-worst option' - hanging around a strange new hill in frankly unfavourable conditions by myself was spooky, and ground handling in the turbulence was more like an origami session with my wing. As soon as I left the ground, I stopped thinking about the glory of landing in Basingstoke (110km away) and tried to remember if my life insurance was up to date. As though on some manic rollercoaster, I swept around the site unable to rely on my vario, for even as it bleeped UP! I was already lurching down towards the trees.

Stung by my club colleagues jibes however, I decided to give the hill a second look and, fortified by lunch I headed back to find it occupied by Will P on launch with his trusty DHV1. If he could do it (and he could!) then I'd better have another go too. In truth it was much the same - a game of yo-yo with me as the yo-yo - but I kind of knew what to expect and whilst not exactly pleasant, it was exciting and full on active flying at low altitude. It's a site with potential - but treat it with respect!

Report by Jon Harvey

Eype didn't come on yesterday till late afternoon, and as soon as it was flyable, yes the sea fog arrived level with t/off

Wed 30 June.

Arrived Eype, 1230pm and it was flyable just, SSW and about 8mph. Set up and off, but after several minutes saw another pg walking up, who I couldn't recognize. Shouted a welcome, and found out that it was Neville Kemp, temporary member, from Indonesia, so landed, which was welcomed as not really much lift about. Site brief etc, and set up to fly, around 20 minutes duration.

Wind went from "just flyable", to "just flyable", in that time. Neville away first, leaving his wife Ninile, watching at t/off. This time requiring A&Cs to inflate, and once off, no problem in staying up.

Visited Westbay, and then to Thorncombe, slow progress, as above some 500ft wind quite west. Topped out at a grand, then trying to reach Doghouse, ground speed around 1mph. Decided discretion is better part of valour, so eventually came back to Eype, break neck speed, 25mph +. Neville stayed up around thorncombe for ages, long after I landed. Eventually he returned, big grin on his face, with about 1 1/2 hours airtime. Sat talking mainly about Indonesia, where he works for the UN as does his wife, who is from Indonesia. Interesting especially hearing that one pg club has around a dozen members, but only two wings, and they are large. All locals carry vast quantities ballast, but very good pilots. Two hours to his nearest site, east of Jakarta, where they live.

All in all, an extremely productive 9 days nigh on 20 hours airtime. Pity away w/end

Mon 28 Jun 2010

Report by Jon Harvey

Day 7 out of 7.

Met Gary F, at Eype, and even at the front carpark, looked ok, so updated hotline etc.

Takeoff, wind between 12 and 15mph, and SSW according to winsock. Gary up and away first, followed by me, having had to stop talking to walkers interested in pg. Followed Gary across Eype, and that wind was definitely towards WSW, therefore hard going the nearer one came to Thorncombe. First attempt a failure, only about half way up, and nowhere near the west side, turned and made a run back. Trieed later and eventually after many beats below Thorncombe, finally made above, but where was the lift, given the strength of the wind. 100 ft max above. Stayed for ages waiting for Gary, then wind seemed to be dropping, so hurried back to Eype. Eventually Gary made it as well, then progressed to the cliffs out towards Seatown, where he stayed for over an hour. Did receive a garbled call, seemingly "pinned" on these cliffs, and unable to return to Thorncombe, and maybe landing at the Anchor.

Richard G and myself were considering doing a retrieve, but eventually Gary made it back and landed after hours and hours. Must have had 3 hours at least, in one flight, good one Gary.

Dinks eventually joined us, which caused the wind to drop. He'd had apparently travelled half way round Devon (Sandybay), Somerset, (going home?), than back to Dorset (Charmouth), before finally deciding to arrive at Eype, and the wind dropped.

Sun 27 Jun 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


Dave W and myself enjoyed a hot sunny afternoon at Cowdown today, soaring the gusts and rotor that accompanied the WSW wind! It was quite light when I got to takeoff but it slowly increased and by mid-afternoon there was a fairly strong wind blowing. Thermals were coming through but they were hard to use €“ I got to about 650'ATO at one point but the thermal seemed to fizzle out. Despite the wind being a bit off it was still possible to stay up €“ although it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride €“ and for the 2 hours I was on Cowdown I spent an hour in the air.

Report by Jon Harvey

Well 6 consecutive days flying, at Eype, Tues was reasonable in spite of the helicopter incident, over flying 6 pilots on the coast, which he clearly saw, having altered course, then climbed and came back along the coast. Picture to prove, Incident report and airprox forms submitted. Still we were able to transit to Thorncombe, and just get to Seatown.

Wed rather light, so only around Eype Westbay area.

Thurs really strong, SW but just unable to climb east face of Golden Cap, just too much in the lee shadow.

Frid, similar, but wind went west by mid afternoon. Few Wessex pilots here today.

Sat, very light and scratchy, and again a couple of Wessex, here.

Sun, stronger then yesterday, wind between S and SSW, not ideal, but still flyable, and four pilots here.

!2 hours plus this week. Once, I've ever had 3 consecutive days flying in UK, and that was August B/Holiday 2004.

Good start to summer, but now need some inland flying, but next few days, still seems SW, so will make do with that instead.

Sat 26 Jun 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


I stopped off at Eype on the way home from Swanage today. The wind was off to the south and there was no-one flying when I got there but there was wind at least so I unpacked. Nigel B turned up and we watched Dinks N take off. He was staying up, although not very high, so I took off too. I built up about 80' ATO then decided to see if the Thorncombe side was working €“ it was! I gradually built my height up along the cliff and slowly climbed up and over Thorncombe beacon. Dinks soon joined me and we flew around Thorncombe for a while before I made the slow journey back, landing back at takeoff to prove that it was working! When I got back Nigel took off and enjoyed about half an hour in the air.

Report by David Winn


Lots of scratchy flying today at the horse but to brighten up the day a lovely peasant girl turned up. I think she was romanian.

Fri 25 Jun 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


Cow issues again today, what is it with cows, fly over them and they sit there chewing grass and looking content not bothering at all with you. Land in the far corner of their field right away from them so as to not disturb them and what happens, the dumb critters all come running over to dribble cow slime all over your gear. As if the slime wasn't enough they also bring a swarm of flies with them. Give me sheep anyday, they have enough sense to run away, maybe they can't tell the difference between wellies and Hanwags.

Oh also, tricky XC conditions on Bell today but a lovely afternoon and evenings soaring enjoyed by several.

Report by Simon Jones

As I drove through Winterbourne Stickland I saw three gliders on XC €“ it was clearly going to be one of those days! Neil McCain, Ali Florence and Pete Chalmers were on their way to various points around Winterbourne Whitchurch. Neil McCain on his second XC of the day.

I arrived at the hill to find several pilots boating about. Carl Buckett on his new Golden 2, Derek S, Martin B, the chap from Skysurfers whose name consistently escapes me, Andy Dawson and Paul Hawkins among others. The thermals were coming through pretty regularly and were big and strong on occasion!

A gaggle locked into something fairly sizable and headed over the back. All but Paul Hawkins pushed back to the hill €“ I believe Paul made it as far as Winterbourne Stickland, where he was picked up by Andy Dawson. Pete Chalmers took a thermal over the back of the Bowl and the Nameless Skysurfer and I followed him. I think we were in different thermals as I was soon a bit higher than Pete was. Topping out in cloud at 2700 ATO I pulled in some biggish ears until the ground became a bit clearer. I pushed over Blandford in sink and decided to make a dash downwind. Pete pushed back towards the cloud I had left and headed off in the direction of Milton Abbas. I landed just south of Charlton Marshall and got a lift back to Bell from a pretty blonde in a blue convertible. What are the chances of that? Pretty high in my case. She was out walking the dog anyway.

Back at the hill, Neil McCain had headed off over the back for the third time €“ this time landing at the football pitch in Stickland. I must confess to seeing him as I was dashing back to work for 6.30 €“ I would have stopped if I could! People were still flying as I left, and I think continued to do so well into the evening.

A good day had by all!

Thurs 24 Jun

Report by Shamus Pitts

I spent the day at Telegraph Hill today with Mark R, Martin F, Adrian C and Eddie C. The sky looked really good to start with but there wasn't much wind. We had a number of short flights while the sky became more and more overcast. At one point a thermal took Adrian and I up to about 1300' ATO €“ it fizzled out so Adrian went on a glide to Cerne Abbas and I tried to push back to the hill, landing in a field at the foot of the northern end.

After about an hour in the air and walking up the hill 3 times I decided to call it a day. By all accounts Bell was the place to be rather than Telegraph!

Wed 23 Jun

Report by Everard Cunion



Two photos attached; the usual grainy film shots. Both taken at Kimmeridge on June 23rd. One is of Gary Dear in a Clubman 160 and the wing-mounted shot is me in my Airborne Sting3.

I definitely will replace that camera


Report by Craig Byrne


Milk Hill to Didcot.

I flew all afternoon and finally hooked a nice thermal just after 16-00, it was low and hard work to start then it built and built nicely. It was peachy flying topping out at 5700ft asl and only dropping to 3000asl on glides. I was finally decked by a blue hole near Didcot, it then took hitching, two trains, and George's sister to get me back to the car. I arrived home at 22:30 what a day!
Tue 22 Jun 2010

Report by Chris Lennon


Headed up towards Winklebury after work hoping that there was still enough of a breeze to provide a flight. Arrived to find the wind spot on the hill and a little stronger/gustier than I had been expecting. Took to the air and had a beautiful evening float around our reliably quite Winklebury site. Had to share the airspace with some mean looking Apache helicopters for a few minites, but they soon lost interest with me and flew away. This site has provided me with some fantastic hours of soaring practice and im always suprised how quiet it is even when Bell Hill is packed beyond capacity. After all XC isnt everything is it?

Report by Shamus Pitts



Report by Colin Davies

Whitesheet was its usual bumpy self today. After an absolute age jostling with the lumps I decided to change plan and relax and have some lunch. Often this means I miss the one good thermal of the day, but as luck would have it when I took off again it was straight into a good climb. It was a blue day so there were no clouds to mark the lift and there was a defined inversion to bump along beneath. I headed off on an aerial sight-seeing trip towards my home in Fordingbridge but found a good climb just before I arrived which meant I had too much height to want to land. This let me have a good look at the World War Two bombing range on the New Forest near Godshill before the very pleasant flight ended.

PS - I would just like to thank Marcus and, more importantly, his wife for the retrieve to Monks on Sunday 20th June. That was a memorable flight, especially towards the end where despite my efforts to stay landward of the sea breeze I found myself in outer space over the top of the sea breeze with Stuart Martin's club night talk of the very special turbulence I was about to encounter at the forefront of my mind...

Mon 21 Jun 2010

Report by Adam Mclaughlin



Barton On Sea Good to get out after 2 weeks of no flying! Good flight to be had at Barton on Monday, wind had quiet a bit of west in it making it slow to push back along the cliff's. There were good height gain's, helped by the thermals from the beach. Later in the afternoon a hang glider flew overhead having taken off from Milford (sorry I don't know who was flying it). In the photo's, Henry H, Chris G and Brian M.

Report by Martin Butcher

Good flying was had at the rounds of the BCC over the weekend at Hundred House in Wales. The Sat' was strong and rough so many people succumbed to ground suck, but if you took off in a lull it was not too bad, you could fly west at about 30 kph and east at 5. However there were some very good thermals coming through, but they were broken by the wind and also didnt want to leave the hill; they seemed to track alongt it due to the wind being off. Eventually I caught one that wanted to go and had a much more pleasant time away from the hill landing at the foot of the mountains around the dreaded Talybont. Sunday was much lighter and initially blue but as the day progressed clouds started forming and some very good flights were had for the patient. Some around the 50k mark and 1 on the coast for 80k.

Hopefully the team efforts By Sean Staines, Richard Thomason, Neil Weymouth and myself have been enough to get us into the final.

Sun 20 Jun 2010

Report by Nigel Beaven



Well bit the bullet on Sunday and made a point of hitting the hill early so left home just before 7am and got to monks just after 8:30 to find 5 other pilots with the same idea. Not much was happening with it still being early and everyone had short hops when the wind came on. As the day progressed we had spaits of quiet good flying interspersed with some quiet rough stuff with pilots either gale hanging or practicing for there cp parawaiting.

Just after lunch it came good for us and I took off and found a beautifull climb in which once higher than the trees I started 360 in slowly tracked back over them, as I was still steadily climbing the xc monster now reared it's head and I thought do I or don't I... But before I really had chance to argue against going I was heading up through 1000 ft ato and well over the back field, so I carried on thermaling up and on over tolard royal where I left the climb at just over 2000ft.

In the distance I could see shamus so I went on a glide towards him.

I managed to find a small climb which I should if stuck with about 1km before tarrant gunville but I blundered out of it and then on a glide to land just north of the village in a set aside peice of field which looking at shamus's track log he flew over :) A very nice flight in all with some wonderful views mmmm next :). After a quick call to Dan P my retrieve was sorted and a short walk down the roman road into the village had me heading back to the hill. Didn't get a chance to take any pics whilst flying to many new things to think of " ooo look at that house that village that farm now heading for landing that field those power lines " but did take this on the old forge. Once again big thanks to Dan.

Report by Marcus Webster


Monks Down - Arrived at Monks at about 11:30am to see about five wings in the air , one very high and decided it was going to be a good day. I phoned Keith "B" who had just left a site phone message from Bell and told him things were looking very good at Monks.

I had just laid out all my kit and was about to strap in when the noise of flapping "Skytex" made me look up in time to see Stuart Martin`s wing returning to it`s normal shape as he flew out from the hill and away from the trees, this had the effect of inducing about 30mins of "ground suck" for most of the preparing pilots on the hill ! Once airborne things did not seem so bad, my first thermal was the one that took Craig "B" away to the coast but I was a bit slow off the mark committing and headed back to the hill, looking over my shoulder at a fast disappearing Craig and wishing I had stuck with it, if only because it`s nice to fly in company and get help with thermal hunting.

Five minutes latter I was on my way again going over the back only for it to peter out as I went past the point of no return, desperation set in and I found another climb over Chettle and another just south of Blandford Army camp (which has saved me before) topping up enough height to get over the Stour just West of Spetisbury.

After that things got easier and I started to relax as I tried to push West away from Bournemouth airspace and got climbs to over 4000ft with some nice looking clouds forming out to my West.I now found I had a dilemma, do I go for the classic Wareham-Swanage flight or keep pushing west across wind towards the nice clouds ? The clouds won the day and I found myself passing south of Bere Regis and into unknown territory, trying to avoid the Gliding Club and Winfrith. Never having flown over Clouds Hill and Crossways before and seeing Ringstead from this angle it all seemed a little strange, Ideally I would have tried for Dorchester but the Northerly wind would not allow it and I was slowly pushed south, I got my last low save and climb just to the South West of Crossways near a large Chalky quarry with some lakes.

Now things started to change as the cloud shadows below me were moving South over the ground at quite a speed but all the ships at anchor in Portland and off Weymouth were pointing into a South Westerly and as I moved closer to Weymouth my ground speed started to drop and things started to get decidedly rough.

I stopped enjoying the flight for the next couple of minutes as my normally mild mannered wing started making its own "Skytex" noises and the brakes went very light for longer than usual, and then I was through and on a glide over White Horse (all very strange) and landed in the valley behind the Pub in Sutton Poyntz.

A walk to Osmington and an X53 bus to Poole (which Collin "D" boarded at Winfrith after his flight from Monks !) and a very kind wife got me back to my car at about 6:00pm.A great day out.

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


Monks Down After initial strong and cold conditions the site warmed up and the punchy thermals mollified as the afternoon progressed giving several red ribbon folk some sweet flights.

As I arrived at 12.30 I could see Craig's wing spiralling up and away - what an excellent flight he had - all the way to meet the sea breeze at Lulworth then on along the coast to land at take-off at Ringstead.

Brilliant! I went over the back after a 2,500 foot climb out (my best yet) but lost it soon after to land 3.46 km away. As luck would have it I was spotted by two guys on their way back to the field and picked up as I reached the field gate - thanks Dan... excellent timing! I was soon back up again and was soon up to just short of 2.5K ato where I spent an hour working my way about a mile off to the south then back north using two thermals. As I cruised in to land back at take off I flew straight into another thermal and took it up to 2,400 feet and flew about a mile west along the ridge before losing it and floating back to land back on top.

Congratulations to Ruth D for carrying her red ribbon up to about a thousand feet for a 3/4 hour boat about way above the rest of us late in the afternoon. Awesome! Also cheers to Shamus to 2 visits to the Tarrants and to everyone else who also achieved their personal bests on this fantastic day.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I didn't get to Monks Down until midday and by then the wind seemed a bit gusty, although the sky looked good. Everybody I spoke to said it was rough and horrible in the air so I took off and found that they were right! There were such strong gusts coming through at times that you couldn't turn in the lift that came with them, you just had to face forwards and wait for the violence to end! Sometimes when the thermals came through, you were suddenly able to puch forwards easily as the thermal pulled you out from the hill.

Eventually all the thermals seemed to join up in to one big thermal and I took it over the back. I was expecting great things for today but by the time I got to about 3000' ATO I lost the thermal and went on a long, very sinky glide. I saw Colin D downwind hunting about for some lift but by the time I got near him I was a long way below him. I was now very low so I made for a field where the grass was swirling. There was a bit of lift there but more violent and gusty than useful so as I was only a couple of hundred feet above the ground I gave up and landed at Tarrant Hinton. Thanks to Nigel B who picked me up and took me back to the hill.

It seemed to have calmed down a little when I got back to the hill so I took off straight in to a similar thermal to earlier. Jeremy C was doing very well showing me the extent of the thermal, so I stuck with it and took it over the back. My flight was pretty similar to my first one. I thermalled up to about 3000' ATO then lost it and went on a glide. There weren't any clouds to distract me this time, and although I found a couple of bits and pieces of lift I couldn't find anything to prevent my all too soon landing at Tarrant Launceston, a couple of km further than my earlier flight. Thanks to Simon for picking me up this time! Not a bad day, 2 x 10km flights and a couple of hours in the air. Very well done to Craig and Marcus who did brilliantly to get to Ringstead and Weymouth!

Report by Craig Byrne



Monksdown. 20/06/2010 I took off and quickly climbed out from Monks, then had a lovely fly over Blandford. It was hard at first to stay away from Bournemouth Airspace but crabbing side wind after each climb worked, and after a low save over Winterborne Kingstone I topped out over the gliding club joining a friendly sailplane at 3500ft. I could see signs of a sea breeze so hatched a plan to fly out onto the cliffs then fly to Ringstead where I met Gary M flying . This worked well and it was a flight I will remember for a long time.

Friri 18 Jun 2010

Report by Marcus Webster


Hambledon Hill - Thursday nights RASP had already made my mind up that Friday was a Hambledon day with a fairly early start and short window of opportunity.

A text message from Ian "H" at 10:00ish Friday morning saying he and Paul "H" were heading for Hambledon gave added urgency and had me in the car in record time.

Paul was already in the air when I arrived at take off, working hard to stay aloft in light conditions, not wanting to be left behind I busied myself setting up varios, charts and GPS`s only to turn around and see no sign of Paul ! this naturally slowed down my preparations as going down at Hambledon is not desirable and always results in a very hot sweaty walk back up.

Paul reappeared after 20mins or so hardly out of breath and after a short break we were both airborne with a very inviting looking cloud forming over head.

Next followed a 5min struggle to stay airborne getting below tree level at one point and almost on the point of thinking it was all over, I flew into the thermal belonging to that cloud,after which I had an easy climb leaving the hill with 1000ft above take off.

Every thing was hunky dory with climbs getting me to 3230ft ASL as I passed over Bell and Bullbarrow, the sky looked fantastic with cloud streets down wind, I thought I was in for an epic "Axminster" day out then it all started to change.

The clouds were getting bigger and staring to join up and shutting out the sun, they also had dark grey undersides and it almost looked as if it would rain, after that it was all down hill with a few small broken thermals giving me false hope.

Back on the ground in a tight little valley just behind Mark Russell`s farm, haymaking was in full swing and I had to gather up my wing and move smartly out of the path of two agricultural machines that were not going to alter course for me. The driver of one of these tractors then gave me a lift in his air-conditioned cab down into Mappower, were Ian `H` kindly came and retrieved me, and we finished of the afternoon in the Child Okeford pub with Dave "W", Mark "R" and Paul "H".

Thu 17 Jun 2010

Report by Duncan Haysom


Chris S and I took a trip to Wales in the reasonable hope that if we got there early enough we might get in a bit of flying at Blorange before it got too strong.

Got to take of at about ten to find a very doable 14mph. Unpacked and was up and away as quick as possible with Chris taking off 5 mins later.

We had the whole hill to ourselves for about an hour before Chris landed.

I carried on for another hour and was just pondering landing when I hooked into a very meaty thermal that took me to about 1000ft above take off.

A couple of hangies had been setting up for a while and both finally took off. (yes I kept well out of their way and let them fly up and away unimpeded).

No other paragliders were taking off so I knew that landing would probably end the days flying so I carried on for a little while, landing after about 2 hours 45 mins. I think this was my favourite flight so far. I love the size of the Blorange and to have it pretty much to ourselves for the whole time was just fabulous.

The consensus among the locals was that it might be flyable at Pontlottyn, a lower site about 20 miles up the Heads of the Valley road. So Chris and I headed there.

It was blowing at about 20 when we got there but after a trip to the local pub for a quick drink it had dropped a little and the local sky god Norris was setting up to go.

He seemed to do all right so I set up and launched in a lull and had another lovely 45 mins of air time (650ft ato) on a day when I'd have been happy with anything.

Thanks to Chris for doing all the driving.

Great day Duncan


Report by Martin Butcher

Monks Down 17/06/10 Arrived at Monks after work hoping for a nice evening flight in smooth air under a clear blue sky. The wind was about 12/14 with occasional stronger gusts but looked to be smack on. By the time I had rigged it had got a little stronger so I took my time and it dropped off so I lobbed of and straight into a rough thermal up to 400 feet. I wasn't sure what was happening so I flew straight out and continued to climb so I started thermaling and that was it, within a short time I was committed at 17:20 to going over the back. The drift was light and bumpy so no camera but I ended up going directly over Blandford just before which I lost the lift I had been circling in until then. I thought 'That's OK there's bound to be something over all those houses' but all I got was a gentle glide down to near the A31 for 22k. Late afternoon flights score again :-)

Report by Paul Hawkins


I took this week of work for the vague and somewhat ambitions task of trying to fly my first 100km.....Epic failure! To my horror it looked blown out all week everywhere with a slight chance of flying this distance from a sight called Corndon which is a Long Mynd soaring club site or Lords Seat/Mam Tor/treak Cliff which is up in the Peaks.

With much umming and areing Ian H and myself headed out for Corndon on the Tuesday and I arrived on site at around miday.

Before Ian had arrived I managed to find a thermal and climb away from the hill I was soon joined by local Legends who promptly out climbed me a disapeard off into the distance. Ian told me he watched me climb out as he walked up the back of the hill.

Any way my flight was short lived as usuall! I think 15 to 20km open distance. Later we found out that Judith Mole flew to Swansea for over 120km, Kia Colmen Flew 85km landing short of the Breacon Beacons as he didn't fancy getting pinned in strong winds! I retrived Ian after his XC and we went and set up camp and proceeded to get so drunk that the next day I was'nt sure I could drive let alone fly! Anyway feeling somewhat better Ian and I had a nice if not tricky flight over the back of Corndon with the localls again off into the distance. Nice to fly with Ian thermalling about but again my flight was not anywhere near the 100km mark more like 10 to 15 km! Ian did somewhere just over 20km but the retrive drive made it seem more like 70km! I couldn't face another night in my coffin like tent I had forgotten my sleeping bag so was using and old tarpaulin as a duvet! So we packed up and went home! Sorry Ian I bet you wanted to stay realy?! 100km no where near it! On the plus side I learnt about and flew a site with good potential and learnt about other sites with the potential for 100km........A long way to go I think before I get any where near it, but I think I will keep trying.

Oh and thanks to the very helpfull Geoff (chairman LMSC), Judith Mole, and Kai Coleman for excellant retreive and weather, sites and camping advice!

Sun 13 Jun 2010

Report by John Alder

Ringstead Bay. I arrived mid-afternoon, just in time to see Sean Staines taking off for what proved to be a good soaring flight that unfortunately ended in a bottom landing. Everard was next to join him after a brief skirmish with the fresh WSW breeze. I'm not sure why this happened because I didn't get to speak to either of them. My guess is that they pulled on VG to help penetrate the freshening wind but lost too much height from glide deterioration to make it back to the top landing field. I believe both of them had earlier flights too as had Wayne Bevan done on his rigid. S

lightly discouraged by these Sting pilots, I launched my trusty C2 and had a very nice 40 minutes soaring (+ a couple of wingovers for the grockles benefit); roamed down towards Bat Head (but getting back was very slow) & Ringstead village (little height loss for me on my superb C2). I had no trouble top landing either but regrettably lost control of the glider once on the ground; Wayne helped extract me from the inverted glider, no damage done, fortunately.

Report by Shamus Pitts

Probably no more than 15 minutes airtime at Cowdown today.

I got to the top bright and early to find Dave W getting ready. The wind was light but on the hill and occasionally gusting through at a soarable strength, so, with the sky looking okay, I was optimistic! Unfortunately my optimism was misplaced, as is so often the way at Cowdown. Dave and I had a couple of very short flights, ending in side-landings then the wind went NW for a few minutes.

Paul H, Ali F, and John and Lynn M turned up and we waited for a puff of breeze before launching optimistically in to the void. There was nothing really happening so Dave, Paul and Ali headed off to pastures better while I hung around with John and Lynn. A thermal came through just in time to give us a bit if height and allow us a couple of turns to sow the seeds of doubt in Paul Ali and Dave's minds as they headed off but once they'd gone we had to land as the thermal had passed!

Once I got back to takeoff the wind was considerably stronger and off to the SW but it was soarable €“ if you didn't mind rocketing north and crawling south. I decided enough was enough so built up about 80' ATO then pushed out. I got above the powerlines that run across the field at the bottom of the hill then spotted a buzzard circling nearby. I was only about 20' above the powerlines and too far from the buzzard to do very much so I concentrated on flying to a better place and landed! I drove down to West Bay afterwards to see if there was anyone flying at Eype. The wind was quite strong on the sea-front but there were only a couple of white horses and no-one was flying. It was probably top-end but doable but I had a list of things to do that would all put credits in to the brownie point account so I decided to do them instead!

Report by Alastair Florence


Maybe its a sign of getting older but yesterday I made a navigational error on the drive to Combe Gibbett, I was a little suprised to see Fleet services on route but then realised I had missed the A34, oh well we found a nice cafe at Greenham Common on the de-tour route back.

Today was a difficult call as the direction and a suitable site were not that clear cut. I headed first to Cowdown and met Shamus, Paul H and Dave W there, things were not that great there so after a bit I decided to move on and Paul and Dave had the same thought leaving Shamus to make what he could of it.

We headed for Ringstead but after a call from Martin B (thanks) to say it was off South there we re-routed to White Horse.

The wind was off to the West somewhat and on the strongish side. I got off the ground first and after a bit was finding some continuous lift out toward Preston that let me push well out and not far short of the Preston road.

Paul and Dave had now launched . The air was a little boisterous at times but more pitch and roly sort of air than tuck your wing type. Its a good indication of turbid air when i'm to nervous to get the camera out when airborne ! After a bit i'm not really sure if I went XC or just got blown over the back at high altitude, any ways I landed (just about) safely a few km downwind next to a cabbage field with some cows who seemed to want to slobber over there new friend.

Dave was kind enough to retrieve me but was unfortunate enough to find that the White Horse track still has some deep ruts in it. I have been carrying some old brake lines in the back of the car for years and often wondered if I would ever use them, today they proved their worth as a tow rope.

Sat 12 Jun 2010

Report by Richard Chambers


A day of two halves for sure. The morning was cold and the wind was strong and gusty. I had a couple of flights but it wasn't very nice and you found yourself going backwards at times.

Paragliding Monks Down in Gusty Wind After lunch the wind dropped somewhat and I launched at what looked like the end of a cycle (typical). Instead I found myself in some decent lift and got above the trees and started to 360 in it. Before I knew it I was at cloudbase and become untethered from the hill! I decided it would be a good plan to follow a pilot ahead of me as he looked like he knew what he was doing. Big mistake as he was clearly better than me and I kept leaving lift to keep up with him rather than topping up on each climb. This put me very low over Pimperne, where I found a likely looking field and landed. Forgot to turn the GPS on so I had to use my phone to work out the distance (a massive 13km! I even entered it in the league). I'm over the moon and can't wait to do my next cross country, I know I can go further next time...

Monks Down Paragliding XC

Report by Peter Robinson

I flew over Bell a couple of times in EGK and could see several rigged hang gliders and even a rigged paraglider. This seemed odd as, from the cloud shadows, the wind was N not NW. Using SeeYou to analyse the flight statistics afterwards the wind was E of N at all levels.

I didn't see anyone flying. Were they waiting for wind shift that never came?

Report by Shamus Pitts


I got to Monksdown at 10 o'clock to find it overcast and windy €“ not what I was expecting! Duncan H and Martin B were already there along with a couple of others. I took off and found the air fairly €œup-and-down€ with lift about but some strong gusts. I took a couple of climbs to the brink of heading over the back but the sky downwind was just as overcast as the sky upwind so I headed back to the hill. The wind was slowly picking up and I noticed that people were choosing not to fly. I tried to land, but in usual Monks tradition it was too windy and I couldn't get down. The air was getting pretty boisterous but the clouds were parting a little to reveal some blue patches so I decided that if I got a decent climb I would take it over the back.

I got a reasonable climb but lost it as I went behind the trees about 900' ATO. I tried to get back to the hill and lost about 300' in the process but realised that the wind was too strong so I turned tail and fled downwind. Using Sean Staines patented technique of navigating using road-signs I scratched my way along, picking up bits and pieces to keep me from landing. Eventually I found something near Chettle that allowed me to relax and get a bit of height, getting to my highest point just after Tarrant Monkton (2200' ATO). I could have taken the climb further but I was getting worried about bumping in to Bournemouth airspace so I was eager to push west. I left the climb and stared at the little arrow on my GPS as I headed for Spetisbury, sinking all the way. There were gusts and rotor and other stuff swirling about that delayed my landing for a few fields and I managed to drag my flight out for a little bit longer but had to land in the end by the A31, near the Drax Estate at East Almer.

My wife picked me up and took me back to the hill where I took off and flew again. This time I got to about 1100' ATO before heading over the back with Martin B. The climb soon fizzled out so I headed off downwind and quickly hit massive sink. I aimed for a field near a road and the air started to get incredibly rough €“ my wing was lurching about all over the place. At one point it collapsed and then the noise when it reopened sounded like my wing had torn in half! I made it to the ground unscathed, packed up, crawled through a hedge and phoned Russell W who kindly arranged for Duncan H to come and get me €“ thanks both of you.

After mopping up a few people (including Martin) we got back to the hill where I had another short flight with Simon J, Jeremy C and Neil W. The sky looked good, the air was smooth and there were thermals coming through. Unfortunately it was getting late and I had to get home so I called it a day.

3 hours in the air and 25km so not a bad day at all!

Report by Sean Staines


Saturday 12th June Report by Sean Staines I arrived at Coombe Gibbet early knowing that it was forecast to lighten as the day went on. Conditions were ideal for me to fly the hang glider with an 18mph breeze an strong thermic conditions.

As I was rigging I saw Dave Winn, Ali Florence and Paul, the Hawk, Hawkins wandering across the hill.

I took off ASAP and had the ridge to myself for quite a while until one other hang glider launched plus a couple of brave paraglider pilots.

I managed to climb out 800 foot above the trees at one point but still haven't managed that elusive 1000ft height gain I need for my pilot rating.

After an hour and 10 minutes I went for a bottom landing. Andrea came and retrieved me and I got out the paraglider. Pete Chalmers was in the air by now and AF, DW & PH were soon preparing to launch. All had various degrees of excitement in the gusty conditions and ended up at the bottom fairly quickly.

Eventually it calmed down enough for some pleasant paragliding and I got in 40 minutes but it wasn't very lifty and I was fighting it out with 25 other pilots in the air which wasn't much fun.

All in all the hang gliding was faster, higher, further, less crowded, free from collapses and more fun but much much harder work.

Sun 06 Jun 2010

Report by Paul Kerrison



Met my mate who has a eurostar ( not the commonly known name for a train, but a micro-light ) at Henstridge airfield in Somerset. We took off and 20 mins into flight i took over the controls all the way to Lymington, totally different to gliding. Different experiance flying through thermals in a micro-light (prefer the glider ).Nick had to take over crossing the solent and around the Isle of Wight. Headed back to Old Sarum Airfield for afternoon tea, then back to Henstridge. Weather behaved the full duration of the flight apart from a slight cross wind on landing, overall an excellent adventure.

Report by Gary Mullins

On the way up through Ansty the trees were swaying - "Idiot. You knew it would be too windy".

Breasted the ridge at Bullbarrow and saw a PG flying at Bell. What!? Twas Derek and doing very nicely. Two others there setting up. Wind 12-15mph. Blimey. Four others arrived, which made a total of six from Brighton plus me and Derek. Soon all airborne and going up nicely in the strong conditions. All pushed out over the farm and all were spread out at similar altitudes. Twas lifty and fun. Back on the ground Derek (the only one carrying a working vario - oops), declared "One and a half hours and 1900 ATO over the farm". Not bad for an octo. Not bad at all. Also there were 2-3 hangies plus 3 Atos'. They were having it big time. Wind speed was a bit iffy for a while but we had another go a little later with Colin D, Paul H. and others. Had a bit of difficulty getting down this time!

Report by Shamus Pitts


I thought that there might only be a small window of opportunity today so I got to Telegraph Hill by 10 o'clock. The wind was a bit off to the west, a bit gusty, but blowing no more than 16mph so I took off to find the air pretty rough. As the clouds came over the wind picked up and it became very strong and rough. There was lift about but it disappeared over the back quite quickly so you had to be pretty committed to use it. I took a few climbs up to about 700' ATO but lost them and headed back to the hill, before finding something better and going over the back at 1100' ATO (just as Adrian C turned up). The climb fizzled out and I ended up having a fairly exciting landing in the rotory Cerne valley! Once I got back to the hill the sky had become overcast and the wind had picked up. It still didn't feel blown out so I took off again, soon to be joined by Adrian C. It wasn't quite as rough as before but there wasn't quite as much lift either. After a while the sea-breeze front was getting close which must have triggered something because I found myself in a large area of lift which I could work up to about 1000' ATO before going over the back with Adrian. We took the climb to about 2000' ATO before losing it past Cerne Abbas.

I found a bitty climb €“ mainly zeros €“ over the Piddle valley and stuck with it, gaining a few hundred feet over Plush and a bit more further on but it all seemed too elusive so in the end I headed off downwind after Adrian. Adrian found a climb near Cheselbourne so I headed over and took it up to cloudbase. I almost disappeared in to the cloud so big-earsed out of it then went on a glide towards Wareham forest where a sailplane was circling. Adrian was below and ahead of me and I saw him start to circle so I headed over and picked up a climb to take me back up. Cloudbase was only about 2400' ATO (so about 3200') so I left the climb at about 2200' ATO and headed off for Wareham. It wasn't long before I was in the sea air so I thought my flight was probably nearly over. I found a couple of nibbles of lift near Wareham and over the town but the drift would have taken me in to Poole harbour so I aimed for the fields by the river as I was a bit concerned that it was quite windy and I might need plenty of space to land. I could hear a brass band playing and could see bunting hanging all around the pub by the river which was a nice touch, they didn't even know we were coming, and landed in one of the fields by the road, near the river, with Adrian landing in the same field a minute later.

Thanks to Ali F, who was unlucky enough to phone me about a minute after we landed to ask if I was flying, who gave us a lift to Bell Hill, and thanks to my long-suffering wife who picked us up from Okeford Fitzpaine and took us back to Telegraph Hill! A brilliant day, 36km and almost 3 hours airtime in total!

Sat 5 Jun 2010

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


A day mostly spent on the ground parawaiting but when the breeze came on the air was very buoyant - I managed a rare 110 feet above take off. I only got the one flight of 21 minutes - as I turned just short of the Cliff Top Hotel to the west the lift switched off - I had to land on the upper cliff path. Within a minute or so the other 4 guys were cruising in to beach landings.

Soon we were all back at take off parawaiting again until Steve A managed a low scratchy flight as I was leaving at 5pm.

Many of the usual suspects were there though not all were lucky enough to launch in the rare flying windows but still, it was a good excuse to sit around chatting in the warm weather.

Report by Alastair Florence


Friday at Mere was a bit up and down, not much consistent lift and what was there was fairly weak mostly.

After a while I spotted a bird climbing steadily well out front of the hill, I made my way toward it climbing gently on my way.

Me and a hangy then took a painfully slow climb out with slow drift.

The cloud sort of lost all enthusiasm as I approached base and the hangy headed back to the hill leaving me to try and cruise over a huge blue hole.

I found nothing in the blue hole and was preparing to pick a landing field near Frome when I began finding some bitty lift.

I scraped enough height to get over the edge of Frome and bimbled on a bit further but the end was nigh.

Many thanks to a very kind gentle man who gave me a lift back to Longleat where Martin F kindly collected me.

I then headed off to Crickhowell and camped over, the sky was beautifull with the sunset on those high clouds that look like jelly fish, Not a great omen for the next days flying at Nante Moel BCC round though.

The wind was off the hill a bit and nothing much was going up more than a few hundred feet, still a great site and look forward to going back.

Things were getting rougher and less lifty plus some people seemed to need to brush up on anti collision procedures hence the Wessex team gave up late PM. Sean S, Andrea (enjoying a quiet no retrive day) Dave W, Shamus, Neil W, Keith W and Martin B making up the squad.

Report by Shamus Pitts



Headed up to Wales with Dave W, Martin B and Neil W to meet Ali F, Sean S and Keith W for a round of the BCC.

The venue of choice was Nant-Y-Moel, somewhere I hadn't been before, so it was nice to see a new site. For most of the drive up it had been nice and sunny but on top of Nant-Y-Moel it was overcast with a very light wind. There were cycles of stronger gusts coming through but nothing particularly thermic, but as the day went on the odd thermal appeared. The thermals fizzled out after about 7 or 800' so there was nothing really to take further.

After a while the wind picked up a bit which made it strong enough to soar (if you were in the right place on the ridge!). I decided to head down to another ridge to the right of takeoff which looked to me to be pointing more in to wind. Alarm bells started to ring quietly when some seagulls flew past me, ignored the ridge I was heading for and disappeared over the pass to the next valley. I stuck with my plan and made it to the neighbouring ridge to find it working a little but quite rough. I couldn't get much height so decided to try and get back to the main ridge. Because the wind was off I was flying in to a head wind and sinking lower and lower down the fairly rocky slope. There was a forest at the bottom of the slope and as I got lower the air started to get pretty rough. I didn't mind the roughness so much but as I got lower I was fairly concerned that I might get spanked in to the rocks before I could get clear of the trees. Luckily I managed to inch my way back and eventually I was in smooth(ish) air again.

After a bit of ridge soaring, trying to find lift and swerving round people, it was obvious the best of the day had passed so I landed, packed up and went home. Despite the slightly disappointing conditions it was still well worth the drive €“ only a couple of hours from Shaftesbury €“ for about an hour and a half in the air!

Fri 4 Jun

Pictures by Gary Taylor




Wed 02 Jun 2010

Report by Jon Harvey

Very strange weather conditions here today.

This afternoon the low cumulus cloud, around 3,000ft was from an easterly direction. At around 1.30 a paraglider pilot, telephoned from Exmouth, asking weather conditions here in Dorset, as some were trying to fly at Sidmouth, but it was too strong. Sidmouth for paragliding requires wind from around S to SSW.

Went to our local site, at Eype, just to see, and found the cu still from east, but we had a SW wind, (maybe even a touch more west ) at cliff top height. Flew for around an hour, with the wind gradually coming to SSW, ( the best direction, with gps ground speed same either direction of flight) but the visibility was closing in to around 2 mile, and cold. The air was extremely rough, (around 900 ft asl) not doubt caused by the mixing of these two differing wind directions.

Wasn't really an enjoyable flight really.

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