Eye in the Sky - Apr 2011

Your Flying News Notice Board. Send me your news and photos.

If you're wondering where your report is, hit CTRL-F5 whilst in your browser to make sure you are not seeing a cached version. If it is still not there, it's probably because you fell foul of the Submission guidelines

Mon 25 Apr 2011

Report by Grant Oseland


Quite a long para wait today at Oakford. Eventually launched at about 17:00 into very strong lift and very little forward penetration and instantly thought "oh bugger" probably should have stayed on the ground! In the end though not too bad once settled in on a demo Sigma 8 wing that i have at the moment.

Other nut jobs also flew today including Shamus, Adrian, Craig, Marcus, Rich (on his ATOS), Stuart (on his Tandem), and Neil who did a 10km XC just to get away from the hill and the conditions. Most landed with the feeling that it was strong and probably should not have taken off in the first place. Top marks go to the Sigma 8 for being rock solid, fast and making it all seem quite benign even though it does not appear to have enough stringy bits and risers to hold you up as its a three liner, Marcus you really should try to get a demo of one ;-)

Report by Neil Mccain

At 11am it was howling at Monks. I took shelter in the back field - eerily calm and tranquil - but it was clear it wasn't going to settle down to paragliding strengths. I persuaded Craig that we should leave the site to the hangies (it looked great for them, I hope they had a good day) and head to Okeford. Apparently, the wind wasn't as fierce and Shamus, Paul and Adrian were flying there. No sooner had we begun the trek across when Shamus called in to ask for a retrieve: the Three Must-get-highers had flown to Bulbarrow. This sounded promising, but Shamus's comments about the conditions being on the bumpy side of scary didn't fill me with any joy. We arrived at the car park to join Nigel, Grant, Stuart (and passenger) and shortly afterwards Marcus and Derek - 10 pilots at Okeford must surely be a record! Conditions had definitely 'firmed up'. Adrian boldly launched in a lull. Over the next 25 minutes or so we watched him get picked up, tossed about and generally tumble-dried all over the site. At one point he experienced a pretty big symmetric front collapse and although the wing recovered instantly, it wasn't long before he aimed for the bottom landing field. Nigel now took over, launching sweetly and cruising around looking completely relaxed: the site novice showing the rest of us how to do it. He reported later that it was pretty bumpy and headed for the bottom field too.

There was still no rush to launch on the part of the rest of us, and we sat around wondering if the lulls were getting longer or if the thermals were getting stronger. In the hiatus, I set up and clipped in and convinced myself it wouldn't be too bad. A gust had rolled my cobra-prepared wing so it came up funny, the next gust lifted me up and back. The wing flexed and tucked and I was carried to both sides of the launch before I began to make any forward progress. For a moment I wondered if I'd clear the trees below launch and then I was hoiked by the shoulders to about 300' ato in a single movement. This was going to be one heck of a ride! With Derek's advice (Better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here) ringing in my ears, I tried to settle down and explore the site. I would have done too, but for the flipping thermals that kept slapping me around. I began to try to get down onto the left hand spur. This was a stupid option given the amount of lumpy lift coming off that side, but I persevered like a mug until eventually I too decided that the bottom landing was for me.

As I headed down I hit another thermal. I gritted my teeth to push through it but after counting about seven or eight, my vario was still singing. I thought: 'If I climb in this, maybe I can just fly over the back and land safely on the top somewhere'. But as soon as I'd started circling I thought 'This is safer than anywhere else - so fly it!' I didn't do a very good job of coring it but by the time I was over the cars I had about 800ft and decided that I might as well carry on. I was going over familiar landmarks but at a different angle. As I went over Turnworth I lost the lift and glided towards Winterbourne Houghton. Luckily, a big brown field came to my rescue, and I climbed up to a lofty 1400 ato, wafting above Milton Abbas. I tried to stay with the zeros, but when it all died away, I headed for the usual sources - fields, barns, tree lines. Nothing. I sped downwind, found a suitable field with 100ft to spare and realised I'd flown just short of Milborne St Andrew. Not quite what I had in mind for an alternative to a bottom landing, but I'm not complaining! Derek very kindly came and fetched me back to the hill, where Craig was top landing, and Stuart and Grant and Shamus were just taking off. Conditions hadn't calmed down much since I'd left, so I reckon I was just lucky to fly when did. Happy days!

Mon 25 Apr 2011

Report by Everard Cunion


And here are the two photos I took today (Monday).



Two photos from last year and two photos today (Monday) -- all at Monk's down.

The club site phone service was not working today, incidentally, in that nobody I spoke to (who tried) succeeded in leaving a message.

Report by Adrian Coombe


Monday 25th April 2011 Okeford Hill Report by Adrian Coombe Photo shows Shamus and Paul H. working the r/h area of the ridge.

We were all pleased to climb out together as there was some strong ups but also quick sink.

We bumbled along nicely to near Bulbarrow where we got more down than up! Thanks to Nigel and Neil for the lift back, where we re-grouped with others.

My next launch was into stronger air where it was rather upsy, downie, biffy and batty! My G3 took a hard hit, recovered immediately, but told me it was time to land - where I had more respect for the canopy than for myself ! Others flew but it was strong.

Not sure what happened later but Richard M was rigging his HG as I left...

Report by Shamus Pitts


Imagine having a bag over your head then being beaten randomly by people with sticks while you scurried backwards and forwards... that's pretty much what it was like flying at Okeford this morning! I thought it might be too easterly for Monksdown and too northerly for Hambledon so I met Paul H at Okeford about 10:30am. We weren't sure what the wind was doing but Adrian C turned up and took off so we joined him in the air. It was very gusty, rough and unpleasant with frequent punchy thermals followed by colossal sink, so when the opportunity arose to get away from the hill we all took it! The climb was fairly slow and tracked along the ridge behind Bell. We got to about 1700' ATO before losing it and bimbled about downwind trying to find more lift, but it wasn't to be. We all landed at a farm near Bulbarrow for a whopping 5km! Thanks to Neil McC, Nigel R and Stuart M for the excellent retrieve service! When we returned to the hill we were surprised to see a handful of other eager hopefuls, I don't think the hill has ever been so popular! The wind felt stronger but Adrian took off, showing off his Golden 3's excellent frontal collapse recovery ability a little while later! Nigel R took off and seemed to do okay so Neil took off and disappeared over the back to land about 4 minutes later 10km downwind! After an extended period of parawaiting Grant finally took off after practising folding his wing for a while which coaxed Stuart in to the air on his tandem. I took off next to find that conditions had mellowed a little but it still seemed a bit boisterous at times. I flew around for a bit, getting to about 250' ATO before flying back to the car and landing.

Sun 24 Apr 2011

Report by Shamus Pitts


Plenty of wind and regular thermals made for a buoyant day at Monksdown today. I found it a bit gnarly at times and a bit of a bun fight at other times but that's Monksdown I suppose! All good fun though! Visibility wasn't great with all the haze and there were no clouds really to give us any clues but the large ploughed fields in front of the western spur were working well, regularly releasing gusty thermals and giving the air a bit of a stir! There were lots of buzzards enjoying the conditions and even a red kite joined us for a while. I took a low climb over the back and lost it almost straight away, landing a couple of fields back. Darren from the Skysurfers joined me in the thermal and headed off towards Compton Abbas airspace but landed soon after me. Neil and Craig did better, landing 6 or 7km downwind but it wasn't an XC day really so I don't think they could have got much further.

Nearly 3 hours in the air and regular climbs to 700'+ so not a bad day really €“ makes up for the last 2 days at the BCC in Wales!

Tue 19 Apr 2011

Report by Hamish ?


Heres a couple of pics from the weekend in Switzerland.

4 days of epic spring thermals, light winds and fairly decent cloudbase.

Fri 15 Apr 2011

Report by Sean Staines


Barton, Conditions were very light today but a change of tactics got me some great height gains.

Thu 14 Apr 2011

Report by Grant Oseland


Left work early today to go flying, 100% overcast,100% flyable at Southbourne.

Tue 12 Apr 2011

Report by Marcus Webster


Tuesday 12th April 2011 Liddington. First visit to a good NW site (when it`s blown out at Combe or Bell).

It was a bit rock and roll on take off and I must admit to a bit of "ground suck" as I watched some of TVHGC`s finest taking a pasting as they tried to get away .

After an hour or two of procrastinating and watching Ian H and Craig B disappearing over the horizon, I and a few others decided it was time to bite the bullet and give it a go.

It took about an hour of hard work to get away from the hill (unlike Pete C who launched and went straight over the back!) I eventually caught the elusive thermal that took me over the back in company with Richard W (we parted company after about 10mins, I never saw where he went?), climbing slowly to nearly 4000ft, before losing my climb and gliding off down wind, desperation setting in as I got down to about 1800ft North West of Hungerford, before stumbling into another solid climb which took me all the way up to 6000ft.

I really enjoyed the next 30mins as I followed the M4 East towards Newbury under a solid cloud street, I have often read about people bimbling along on half bar, under clouds not having to turn, as the vario gently chirps away, hands off the brakes eating and taking photos, well it happened to me! My only concern was staying below the base of R41 with it`s base at FL65, I new I was safely clear as I watched sailplanes pass a couple of hundred feet overhead.

I think I allowed my self to get to far East as I enjoyed the ride towards Greenham Common, reluctant to leave the security of my cloud street and cross a blue patch to my south.

Turning a few degrees to Starboard with Beacon Hill and the A34 now to my right I tried to aim to the west Of Basingstoke, which looked deceptively close and went on another glide across the blue, happy to sacrifice my valuable height as I had to get below the London TMA`s 5500ft base.

This was the beginning of the end for my flight as I crossed the M3 a couple of miles to the to the East of Popham, with my GPS gently flashing an "IN AIRSPACE" warning, a quick check of the chart confirmed it was only the Odiham MATZ stub, which I was aware of, but good to know that Mr Garmin was looking out for me, or the many Chinook Pilots in the area! As I started to realise that my options were starting to run out, the only good looking clouds seemed to be directly overhead Lasham, which was a couple of mile ahead on my track, but not a healthy place to be down below 1000ft agl with all the glider traffic and tugs in the circuit!.

As I landed feeling a bit defeated, the wind started to pick up and I looked up to see a sailplane casting of its tow, directly under a big fat cloud! Oh well, a few lessons learnt flying over unfamiliar terrain, but all in all a great day out.

Thanks to Pete C and Garry P for the relay service back to Liddington

Report by Ruth Kelly


Poor old Neil - he's being stalked on Twitter, text and email... what's the weather like at Bell, Neil? Are you going out? I am one of the guilty stalkers... and thanks to his forensic, minute-by-minute analysis (!) I decided to take a half-day's leave. Yup, I went up to London, did 2 hours in the office, and then came home again to rush off to Bell...

... to enjoy a good couple of hours parawaiting. But around 19 O'Clock the wind dropped, and I finally stopped being the Only Wessex Member Not To Have Flown At Bell. Three short flights and another half an hour closer to losing my red ribbon: a lovely evening, and well worth it. Many thanks especially to Neil and Roger for help and encouragement.

Report by Steve Whitfield

Having kept my eye on RASP over the weekend I managed to wangle a day off work and got to the hill for 9am. My plan was to get a good flight in before getting swamped with PG's. Fortunately for the HG pilots it turned out stronger than forecast and we had the hill to ourselves for most of the day. I had three flights and two and a half hours in the air. The air was lively and the flying exciting and tiring on the arm muscles. Nice formed thermals started coming through about half ten. I managed some good height gains ( for me anyway) with several climbs up to 800ft. The thermals appeared to be more ragged around midday and harder to stay in, but good fun. At one point I saw a 7-8m/s climb rate for a couple of seconds as I passed through a tiny core. I've never seen my vario scale go over 5 before! I had my video camera on for two flights and the result can be found below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xusc6pgUQ0s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xusc6pgUQ0s

Report by Alastair Florence


Not much to add to Shamus's report except a picture of him.

Frustratingly windy all afternoon, but I gave it a try about 1600 hrs and found it 'uninspiring' sat out for a bit then it got nice for the evening. Hangies actually flying most of the day and plenty pg's later.

Report by Grant Oseland


Not many photos but a nice fly after work. A bit strong for some but quite smooth once in the air.

Report by Craig Byrne


Liddington Castle:Most of the Wessex XC posse out on Liddington early, It was strong, gusty and a bit mad at times.

Ian H lead the way then RIchard W as the day warmed up the thermals got a bit bigger so I headed off on a good climb and nice flight.

Great views and nice cloud streets at times, landed at 60k near New Alsford.

Ian H made his goal at 82k nice one Ian! Not sure where the others landed yet.

Good day had by most :o)

Report by Shamus Pitts


Not much to say about today. I had half a days holiday poised to take if the wind dropped by lunch time but there was no sign of that so I got to Bell for 5 o'clock to find a couple of people just taking off and the wind blowing about 16 €“ 20 mph. I quickly got ready, took off and had an hour and three quarters boating about in the gusty air. It was too late in the day to go XC although there were thermals coming through, but it was nice and buoyant so the whole ridge was working.

Sun 10 Apr 2011

Report by Shamus Pitts

Despite the forecast and the live weather reports, next doors weathervane was showing north-west and the flag 2 doors down was flapping about so I decided to have a look at Telegraph Hill and see if it could really be true! Well, it wasn't exactly true. There was hardly any wind €“ there may have been a waft coming on to the hill but it was hard to say so I decided to go home. On the way, I stopped at a more northerly face and watched a couple of buzzards and ravens playing in the stronger thermic breeze that seemed to be coming through and I thought about trying to take off. There were a lot of trees and bushes, though, and also a field of curious bullocks so I decided to call it a day and go home. It was at this point that Gary P phoned! €œYou not out today?€ €œThere's no wind is there?€ €œI'm at Hambledon, it could be a good day for a triangle...€ €œI doubt it, it's not looking great€ As I was already out and had my gear in the car I gave in and decided to head over to Hambledon. There was a breeze as I walked up €“ the direction wasn't great but there was at least a breeze. I found Gary at the top.

€œYou flown yet?€ €œI've only just unpacked, there was no wind earlier€ We chatted for a while...

€œHow strong do you reckon it is €“ 8 mph?€ €œAbout 8€ says Gary Marcus W turned up.

€œAnyone flown yet?€ €œWe're just about to, we've been talking!€ Dave W turned up.

€œWhy's no-one flying?€ €œThere's not much wind€ €œThere's more than before€ €œWe should give it a try!€ Gary took off, flew out, climbed a bit, sank a bit, flew along the hill and landed.

€œIt doesn't look great...€ Another waft came through, I took off, found a bit of lift and turned in it. Gary and Marcus took off. We milked it for about 5 minutes before it fizzled out and we landed at various levels on the hill. Another draft came up the hill and I took off, only to scratch my way down to the bottom field. I phoned Dave.

€œI don't think it's worth walking back up is it?€ €œIt's coming through in cycles...€ €œ...erm, okay, I'll come back up.€ One hot, sweaty walk later..

€œWhere's the wind gone?€ €œIt stopped just after you phoned!€ We waited.

€œThat's it, I'm going home€ said Marcus, who promptly packed up and went home.

€œThat's the sacrifice we need€ We waited....

And waited...

Then walked across the hill, and waited....

€œIt's been an hour since Marcus went home€ €œHas it really?€ The wind had dropped to nothing by now, but we still waited.

€œAs soon as there's a gust strong enough to reverse launch I'm flying down€ €œMe too€ €œAnd me€ We waited..

And waited....

The ridiculousness of the situation started to dawn on us €“ we weren't even waiting for conditions to improve enough to have a good flight, we were just waiting for enough wind so we didn't have to walk down to go home! Gary and I packed up while Dave ran half way down the hill before he was airborne, landing at the bottom shortly afterwards.

The worst thing was, I knew it would be like this, there was nothing in the forecast to suggest it would be any different, but I still went up the hill just on the off-chance €“ I think I'm an addict!

Thu 07 Apr 2011

Report by Neil Mccain

As Simon J took off, tee shirts sleeves flapping, incredulity spread across our Chairman's face. 'Does he think it's summer?', he asked. Roger's reply rather caught the flavour of the day: 'Sunny and warm, heavily inverted and blue, very light and thermic - yes, that does sound pretty summery!' The early birds (Paul and Team 5 Green man) had encountered very different conditions - cold and blustery, there was almost too much wind - but as the car park filled up, the wind dropped almost to zero, and a great deal of socialising broke out. There must have been more than 40 pilots present - amazing! Chatting is good for a while, but in the end pilots gotta fly, and every puff of a thermal-let induced a few to launch. In case anyone fancied TTBs, I organised a target in the landing field and offered to pick people up if they took the bait. Half a dozen did, with the day's only DC being recorded by Mark Russell. (It's trickier than it looks, but worth doing as it's a pilot rating task).

This flurry of activity seemed to prompt more soarable conditions to arrive. From the LZ, it looked like there was plenty of room for everyone, but at take off the view was very different. It looked a proper bun fight. The thermals cycles opened up the spaces between pilots, but when they'd gone, the amount of separation was teeth-clenchingly small.

The whole ridge was working, though, and there were opportunities to escape the crowds. Sean and Gary M headed off towards Bulbarrow, Adrian, Gary P and others were thermal hunting at the Okeford end, and several others, Dave and John amongst them, were pushing out front, high above the digester.

On the ground, I noticed pilots trying to avoid kiting near the lone Atos pilot, and to leave him the space he needed to take off. I'm not claiming we (the floppy brigade) got it right immediately, but he did get to launch and stay aloft.

At some point I found myself going round in circles with Martin B above the bowl. We had about a grand ATO at the back of the top landing field but pushed back to the ridge hoping for something better. Two groups of pilots seemed to have formed, one at the bowl and the other above the track. On a hunch I flew over to the latter group, having lost all of my height advantage. I lucked out on the group to join, flying straight into another thermal, and quickly climbing back to 1000' ATO. Because it had been a better climb, I decided to go with it, and drifted over the back in lazy circles with Sean. We were turning together in zeros, but after a while I felt that my vario chirruped on the downwind segment of the 360, so I headed that way. At first it looked like a bad choice as I lost height against Sean, but I found another thermal, good enough to core and I'd soon topped up my height. I could see Sean racing to join me, but I was way above him when the lift petered out. Here was my big mistake: rather than hang around trying to eke out the zeros again, I thought I'd go further downwind and pick up the next thermal (well, it had worked for me once, hadn't it?). Of course, I enjoyed nothing more than a sled ride to the deck. As I packed away, I had the pleasure of waving to Sean as he wafted past me, his steadfast strategy reaping dividends on this tricky day.

I realised I'd left my phone in the car, and faced a possible 10km walk back to Bell. After a mile, I hitched a lift to Bulbarrow Beacon. I set off on foot again, enjoying the sight of a dozen or so gliders floating above the hill. At the modellers' ridge, I met someone I know flying one of those mini RC stealth bombers. Not wishing to inconvenience him by taking up his offer of a lift, I wondered if I could take off and fly back. He agreed, and using his little plane, pointed out where the best lift was. Clearly, the conditions were still very buoyant. I clipped in, followed his directions and had the lovely sensation of 'flying in' to Bell. 'I thought you'd got away' said our Chairman. It was my turn to look incredulous.... Happy days!=

Report by Reuben May


Lovely day to be had at Bell today. Thought i'd post a few pictures to see if you can spot yourselves!

Report by Martin Butcher


Arrived at Bell at midday to find that the wind dropping away to un-flyable. However after suitable sacrifices to the gods in the form of an impromptu spot landing competition in the bottom landing field courtesy of Biggles Mccain, the wind picked up and the 15 or 20 other skyvers had a lovely day boating around. It was heavily inverted so max height was about 1200 above take off but it didn't deter a few from going XC. I managed to get nearly 4 hours flying in and many others had a great day. 9.5 on the peachometer.

Wed 06 Apr 2011

Report by Neil Mccain


A fun time messing about at White Horse.

Report by Paul Hawkins


Dave and his poorly thumb!

Sun 03 Apr 2011

Report by Shamus Pitts



Every now and then I think about the cliffs near Bridport and wonder if it's possible to connect some of them together to make up a long ridge run down to Lyme Regis and back, so today I decided to go down to Hive to see how far I could get.

I've flown at Hive a few times, and also at Eype, but I've never crossed the gap at Hive to the western cliffs and West Bay always looked like an impossibly wide gap to cross so I was anticipating a bit of walking today! I got to Hive around 9:30 to find the wind 10 €“ 12mph and well off to the south. After waiting a while I decided to give it a try and almost immediately landed on the beach. The cliffs on the western end looked like they were facing more in to wind so I walked up the cliff path and tried to find somewhere to launch. There was a nice grassy area on top but the cliffs are vertical here and there was severe rotor everywhere. The wind was coming from all directions except the southwest so in the end I gave up and walked back to the original takeoff. The wind had picked up a bit and was slightly more on but still SSW but I decided to have a go anyway.

There wasn't stacks of lift, in fact there was hardly any, but I managed to build my height up to the dizzy heights of 11' ATO and decided to try and fly across the gap to the other cliffs. I had a pretty useful tail wind and arrived at the cliffs very low but they were working and I soon built my height up and relaxed a bit. Stage 1 €“ The Hive Gap €“ Complete! The only things I knew about this next section was what I'd gleaned from Google Earth. There was another gap further along, before West Bay so I decided to explore the cliffs a bit before I faced the next obstacle. The flying was easy, the cliffs were high and couldn't have been more vertical so I soared them for a while, trying to get as high as possible. I still had a bit of a tail wind as the wind was slightly off but I built up about 170' ATO which seemed comfortable before heading to the end of the cliff and the next stage €“ Freshwater Beach.

The gap at Hive is about 200m €“ not a lot but then the cliffs are very low. Freshwater Beach gap is about half a kilometre. There is a sand bank along the beach which looked like it might help a little and there is a ridge behind the caravan park that looks to face south so I thought I had a few options if things didn't work out. I was quietly confident as I left the safety of the cliff and started my glide. By the time I was half way across I realised that it wasn't going to be an easy glide after all! I was getting very low and starting to worry about whether I would make it or not! I made it to the other side with my wing just below cliff top height and quickly built my height back up, and relaxed a bit! Stage 2 €“ Freshwater Beach €“ Complete!

The next section of cliff was much the same as the previous section, except it had a dip of about 100' half way along it before rising back up and a golf course on top. I knew this section would lead to West Bay so I made the most of every little beep of my vario. By the time I got to the end of the cliff I was up to about 300' ATO, the highest I'd been so far. The cliff this side of West Bay is a lot higher than the cliff on the other side but it still looked an impossibly long way, about 750m according to Google Earth. I picked out a building that might help me stay up then decided to just venture a little way across to see when the sinking started. I still had my tail wind and before I knew it I was half way across. €œI might make it€ I thought, soon to be followed by €œI don't think I'm going to make it!€ On the other side of the harbour the ground goes up in a gentle slope before building in steepness to meet the main cliff. I arrived very low, maybe 20' above the pavement, but the wind was pretty strong by now and I followed a seagull up the slope then on to the cliff. I quickly built up my height and, er, relaxed a bit! Stage 3 €“ West Bay €“ Complete! As I flew past the Eype takeoff I saw someone laying their wing out €“ I never saw them fly so I assumed it was a bit windy to takeoff!

The next stage was the Eype gap. I've crossed the gap at Eype a few times so figured that if I'd made it to Eype the gap would be no problem, and it wasn't. The wind seemed to be more WSW now and there was orographic cloud blowing over Thorncombe beacon and Doghouse Hill. As I got near Thorncombe my ground speed was dropping all the time and my height was increasing. As I rounded the corner towards Seatown I was on full bar, 750' ATO and moving forward at about 8 mph. By the time I got to Seatown I decided that there was not much to be gained by going any further. Golden Cap had disappeared in to the orographic, the wind seemed pretty strong this high up and was maybe too far off to the west to be very useful! Just four stages to go now. As I flew past Eype I thought my flight might soon be over and started to wonder how long it would take to walk from West Bay to Hive. From leaving Thorncombe beacon my vario hadn't cheeped at all as I glided high above the cliff towards West Bay. I was about 300' higher than I'd been when I crossed the first time but I was a bit concerned to see that I had a head wind. I tucked my arms in and tried to stay as streamlined as possible and headed out in to the unknown. As I crossed the harbour walls I started to sink faster and the cliff seemed like a long way away. I started looking for possible places on the beach to land but eventually I made it to the cliffs. I arrived about half way down and they didn't work straight away, but I tucked in close and slowly climbed up. Once my wing was above the cliff top I popped up like a cork, built up my height and, well, relaxed a bit! Stage 5 €“ West Bay Return €“ Complete!

The air was a little lumpy now, I don't know why. The sun was out so maybe there were small thermals coming off the cliffs. I still had a worryingly strong headwind as I slowly flew down towards Freshwater Beach. I felt like I was high enough but as I started across the gap my ground speed was only 9mph. I tried to make myself streamlined again and crossed my fingers and eventually connected with the cliffs about half way down again. I built up my height etc. Stage 6 €“ Freshwater Beach return €“ Complete!

I could relax completely now, I knew there would be no long walks and no big gaps. I crossed the Hive gap again, arriving surprisingly low, about 10' below takeoff. The cliffs weren't working any better than when I took off, so after flying to the eastern end I turned round, flew back, and landed on the beach, very happy! I was surprised to see that the flight only lasted just over an hour, it felt longer! If I was the sort of person to enter ridge runs in the XC League I would have scored 15.7km, but I'm not.

I still think it would be possible to get to Lyme Regis €“ if there hadn't been so much west in the wind at Seatown then who knows...

Sat 02 Apr 2011

Report by David Franklin


I was just storing away the last of next winters logs when I looked up and saw Derek and Harry bimbling about on Bell.I thought last nights forecast said SW all day so hadn't given the posibility of flying a second thought.Although a bit late in the afternoon it seemed like a good chance to have my first flight since the end of last summer.The sun didn't really manage to show itself but it still produced some nice little thermals to play in, the best few allowed Carl B and I to push well out in front.

Just a word of warning( Owen presumably) has put some calves on Bell so don't leave stuff lying out or it will likely get licked and trampled on,oh and watch the fresh pats

Report by Shamus Pitts


The wind was blowing 12 mph, 10 degrees off to the north, when I took off from Cowdown this afternoon. Four roe deer stared at me for a while, unsure, before skipping off across the fields. Four more deer were standing at the bottom of the hill, near the road that leads to Cerne Abbas. I passed by unseen as another deer made its way across a nearby field.

As I slowed down to make the most of the lift on the end of the hill I looked down to see three more roe deer emerge from the gorse. They stared at me and watched as I drifted by. I turned, and as I approached them again they became nervous and climbed back up the hill to the safety of the gorse. I passed by a couple more times €“ they stood motionless, staring at me, partially hidden, but I saw them.

It's moments like these that make paragliding so special.

Later on I took a slow gusty thermal to 650' ATO but it fizzled out and the sky was overcast so I headed back to the hill. The wind went WSW, the air got rough and the lift deteriorated so I landed and packed up. 650', 12 deer and over an hour in the air €“ not a bad afternnon!

Report by Alastair Florence


This morning looked windy and un-inspiring in the Purbecks so I knuckled down to tiling the bathroom floor.

Late PM I took a drive up to St.A's to find Quentin already in the air.

I joined him and had a bit of a windy and un-inspiring flight. But feet off the ground. The terrormeter came up with a 3 reading whilst flying back to the car park and encountering stronger than usual rotor.

Fri 01 Apr 2011

Report by Alastair Florence


It was hard to believe that the end of the day could be flyable today with such an unpleasant start. However all the forecast stuff was suggesting, sun, wind dropping and going South. I had a plan of walking to Blackers Hole about 20 mins up the footpath beside my house and flying the cliff between Anvil point and Winspit.

In the event the sun came out, the wind dropped further than expected and went South East, so plan A turned into plan B a walk up Ballard.

Most of the ridge top and take off was clagged in with orographic cloud although the white cliff remained mostly clear, and it was not forming out beyond the cliff front really.

I just happen to love flying around orographic cloud so took the opportunity to walk up. As I arrived on take off it clagged in again, but I figured it was probably clear just out in front of take off so I took a calculated chance, launched and flew out into the sun shine.

I had just over half an hour cruising the cloud boundaries, for anyone who has taken a walk round Old Harry lately and sat on the cliff edge (like I did a week or two ago) think twice, there's about 3000 tons of chalk freshly fallen near Handfast point, I would not want to be sat on that when it slipped.

After a bit I flew up the ridge a bit but I could not really see where I was as the cloud was more spread up this way, I found myself out over the farm and by the time I got back to the white cliff I was scraping the gorse. I could not find anymore lift to took a sled ride to the beach. Beautiful while it lasted, Peachometer 6.

Previous reports

If you find that some of the earlier pages don't have a navigation menu, just use your browser's Back button to return to this page once you have finished reading it.


2001 and before