Eye in the Sky - July 2012

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Sat 28 Jul 2012

Report by Alastair Florence


With the forecast looking to be a bit off West for Bell and the hill likely to be busy I decided I would join Shamus and Paul H on Telegraph.

Conditions felt ok on take off but the wind soon increased a bit. All three of us + James L set off in the same well scattered thermal and ended up a few KM's from the hill still well scattered.

Owing to about 40 cows charging at me after landing I took there hint got out their field and wrapped up on the road.

Shamus's very kind wife (cheers Karen) came and retrived Shamus and me.

Back at the hill Shamus went off to collect Paul and James, whilst they were gone I had my most pleasant flight of the day with a 4.59km FAI triangle (again short of that illusive 5km) After the air went a bit funny, going off West and dumping many of us at the foot of the hill and at times coming through strong and gusty.

I didn't fancy taking my chances again but Martin F, James and then Shamus all flew again and each disapeared over the back.

Probs worth a 6 on the Peachmoter and registering a 1.5 on Scareometer a couple of times.

Report by Shamus Pitts


It was a funny old day at Telegraph Hill today.  The sky looked good at times but it didn’t turn out to be the epic day we were hoping for.  When I got there at about 10:30 the clouds were already pretty big and it wasn’t long before the wind was blowing quite strongly.  There was quite a lot of lift about but it was gusting through strongly and broken up so it was hard to get a decent climb.  James L, Ali F and I took something over the back then lost it, dumping me and Ali at Cerne Abbas, and James at Piddlehinton.  Meanwhile Paul H had taken another climb and landed at Buckland Newton.

It was still flyable when we got back but strong and off to the west.  We took off again but a freak lull had us all at the bottom.  When we got to the top again Martin F took off and soon disappeared over the back, with James following a little while later.  By now the wind was gusting through very strongly and was well off to the west, but after a while I’d either got used to it or it had dropped so I got my wing up and was yanked up 70’ in to the air!  I quickly found a good climb which I took over the back then lost again and went on a glide towards a likely looking cloud over Cerne Abbas.  I found some really rough bits of lift but nothing consistent and spent a few uncomfortable minutes being thrown around while I searched for lift.  I think I was  probably scratching around some sea-breezy clouds but not getting the lift I was hoping for.  I found nothing useable and landed in a rotory field at Dolesash Farm for about 10km.  As I was packing up I saw 12 buzzards in the air, four to my left and eight to my right, if only I’d spotted them earlier!

Report by Grant Oseland


An interesting day today at Bell Hill. Very light to start with then building to very unstable and gusty with large areas of lift and not much sink to be found. Paragliders out first then followed by the Hang gliders. With a few nasty surprises in the air for some as well.

Fri 27 Jul 2012

Report by Shamus Pitts


The air was buoyant today!  I went to Monksdown about midday where the wind was slightly off to the west but thermals were pouring through!  I eventually took one over the back with Colin D but we quickly hit the inversion at just over 1000' ATO so ended up landing after less than 8km.  I decided to stop at Bell on the way home and was greeted by the site of half a dozen wings in the air, some quite high, so I quickly unpacked and took off.  It wasn't long before I found myself over the back but again it turned out to be another one thermal wonder.  I lost the lift at 1600' ATO and ended up on a glide of doom, landing half way between Milton Abbas and Winterborne Whitechurch for about 9km.  After walking about 3 miles Ali F kindly came and picked me up, thanks Ali!

Report by Sean Staines

Had a nice couple of hours flying Monksdown today with some good climbs to 900ft ATO but they didn’t seem to be going anywhere. The wind seemed to be strengthening and going off to the west and I decided to call it a day when Ali turned up and suggested flying Swallowcliffe. I’d not been there before.

There was only very light wind at Swalllowcliffe and it was now baking hot in full sunshine. After a couple of attempts I managed to find a solid climb, not very strong, and drifted over the back with it, eventually landing at Cripplestyle near Alderholt to set a new site record. 18.4k open distance or 20k with turnpoints.

Excellent !

Mon 23 Jul 2012

Report by Graham Marshall


Three days after having newly qualified as CP with Andrew Pearse I went to Kimmeridge where Charles Campion-Smith eased me into the blessed company of the Mighty Wessex.

Blue sky and a steady breeze! Three flights gave me 90 minutes to log before the wind dropped.

Absolute magic.

Many thanks to all who helped me get this far.

Better camera next time.

Sat 21 Jul 2012

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


The New Milton Pageant of Sport.

The Wessex Hang Gliding & paragliding Club stand was equipped with a gazebo, table, chairs, my paragliding simulator, lots of back issues of Skywings and plenty of brochures to give to eager new enthusiasts.

Our stall was very popular with the simulator attracting lots of kids - mostly small but some big ones too. Brian M and John R helped strapping them in and inspiring much interest generally with John's "Guess how far Gary will fly his tandem at Barton?" raffle.

John also surprised people with just how far paragliders can fly cross-country on his map of Britain. I had my laptop set up with headphones as "Your own personal cinema!" That great Dolomites paragliding video was quite a hit.

We all enjoyed ourselves on a very entertaining day. Hopefully a good bunch of people will have been inspired to take up our great sport.

Report by Alastair Florence


Looking over the cliff in front of Ballard estate I spotted Simon J in his speedo's on the beach with his family, after getting over this shock (actually he had quite decent shorts on), we had a chat and decided it might soon get flyable, Grant O arrived and after a bit we walked up onto Ballard.

Conditions fely ok on take off so we took off.

The whole afternoon remained constantly ok, not stunning or anything but defianetly ok, Simon came up for a while, also Nigel R and Neil M.

Pleasant enough.

Thu 19 Jul 2012

Report by Daniel Von Mutius

I had been watching the weather with interest all day in the vain hope that I might be able to start clocking up some airtime again. As I left the office at 1800 I checked Bells weather station one last time, and although it looked strongish I decided it was well worth giving it a go.

I arrived to find a very content looking Hangie gently boating about in the lovely evening breeze. It was blowing 14/15 with the occasional 18 coming through so decided to unpack. The lift band was very broad reaching right out to above the farm and bottom landing field. Initially it was fairly slow work pushing forward but gradually the wind dropped and this was soon not an issue. It was a perfect evening of boating about and watching the sunset with plenty of room for me and the Hangie to bimble back and forth in what was left of the little broken thermals that were coming through. The Hangie landed after a little while and packed up leaving the entire hill all to myself! I left at 2045 after a lovely hour and 10mins. It was still very much flyable as I locked the gate behind me! A beautiful evenings flying and the perfect end to a very hectic day/week at work! 10/10

Report by Steve Whitfield

Persistence finally paid off today at Bell. I sneaked off at lunchtime for a look but the wind was very westerly and variable so I went back to work. When I had finished at half six the wind was still ruffling the trees and the weather station was suggesting a more consistent north westerly so I decided to have another look. I was rewarded with a lovely hour watching the sun go down from 400ft. I was joined by a solitary PG and we cruised the big lift band together watching a tractor cutting a hay field below. A perfect end to the day and a chance to relax and unwind.

Report by Alastair Florence

As the nights are starting to draw in it seemed a shame to waste a nice evening, it looked a bit breezy so thought I would take a walk round St. A's.

It wasn't that windy on arrival so decided to have a fly instead.

I little bit gusty but no problem and easy 400-450ft height gains. I was a bit late getting out so didn't stay up more than 20 mins, first flight of the month for me, shamefull for July.

Must be due to get warmer soon as I notice the local Llama's have been sheared.

Fri 13 Jul 2012

Report by Danni Capelin


Have had a somewhat fustrating week in Northumberland with low cloud even when it hasn't been raining or drizzling so the Cheviot hills were not flyable. Today was the last day here so decided to try a different tack & have a go at one of the coastal sites 70 miles south  near Durham / Hartlepool.  I have to say on ariving my enthusiasm was hard to find. The cliff was lower than those at meon shore, with plenty of gaps, lumps bumps & some rather gross glow in the dark green pools of water at the base.  Not very gay !  But as I had dragged my non-flying friend along an attempt had to be made. The first flight ended up being a top to bottom and a long walk back. Decided the trick was probably not to go too far along as the cliff dropped with a change of orientation that was unhelpful.  The second attempt, the wind had picked up resulting in some fun soaring and suprisingly good height gains upto 150ft above take off.  The sun even made a brief appearence.

Sun 08 Jul 2012

Report by Grant Oseland


Some different photos from a strange day at Bell Hill.

Report by Shamus Pitts

A challenging day at Telegraph Hill today.  The sky looked good but the wind was a bit off to the west and very gusty and rough.  Seeing James L go over the back persuaded me to go with him – the air low down was horrible so I thought it might be a bit nicer higher up!  I lost my climb 1000’ ATO and after trying to find it ended up sinking all the way to the Cerne Abbas ridge.  I spent about 15 minutes scratching the giant’s balls before I was spurted up as a thermal came through and I continued my journey.  I was surprised to see James still flying, higher than me and downwind, so once I lost my climb at 1000’ again I headed for him.  I sank all the way and knew i wouldn’t make it so started scratching about for lift again.  I was only a few hundred feet up and looking at landing options when another snotty, gusty thermal came through.  I held on to it for as long as I could and reached the dizzy height of 2400’ ATO before losing it.  The sea-breeze front looked quite lifty and not far away so I headed for it in strong sink.  Halfway there I changed my mind and headed for a cloud street instead but I was sinking all the way.  There were bits and pieces of rotory lift near the ground but nothing useable so I landed in a field by the A35 near Tolpuddle for 20km.  I saw James fly over to land somewhere near Wareham which was good going.  Thanks to Chris the Stove Man who picked me up and took me to Dorchester where my wife retrieved me.

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