Sunday, 22 July 2007

19th July, Kettlesings

Sorry, no pics, but here's my report of the day now I've got to the new blog. My heartfelt thanks to Dr Rob for drawing me off the hill on a desperate quest for a thermal after two hours of having slight puffs drifting along the hill and over the back with lil' dusties. In turned out to be a great day for me... My first ever triangle.

The day started much as any other at Kettlesings - arriving to see Mr Hindle climbing out and away from the hill, followed by nothing as we late comers unpack and wait, and wait. A few tentative hops but nothing. Then there is a warm puff up the hill, Rob dives off and I rapidly get back into my harness having just given up for some lunch. Rob starts to circle in a weak climb in front, I'm set up so just pile off on a forward launch expecting nothing.

The climb was indeed slow (50' per minute stuff), but with no drift to speak of 360s were no problem close to hill. Further up the climb got stronger and once we had a grand above or so Rob and I were circling in a decent thermal beneath a darkening cloud. About 500' beneath base I decide to head off to the beacon with a wild idea of a triangle, Rob pushed out 'upwind'. There was a line of cloud upwind of the Beacon so I headed for sunward side of that, finding another thermal just in front of Beacon on line for Upton having flown over the summit seing two gliders laid out on the west side.

Journey to Upton took a few thermals but there were always clouds to head for. Only though I was going to deck once. Close to Upton I picked a good thermal to over 4k having been mostly at 2-3K and was entertained by sight of 2 hercules flying low and over the Wyche. That thermal was enough to convince me to go for a turnpoint over the church at Upton, thinking I could get back to the thermal for return leg. Worked out nicely - then had the Red Arrows flying a thousand+ feet directly beneath me! In formation. Next good climb just before Welland which Rob D came out to having been climbing at British Camp. I tracked to Castle Morton and began to regret it as I lost quite a lot of height. A slow starting climb there saved me though so went for the turn point at Holly Bush - more than that I didn't dare! As it was I thought I was coming down at the common but climbed back out there again, and then again at British Camp, passing Gary S on his way SSW, to arrive back at launch with 3k over, Rob D cheering me in! Cheers Rob - a beer or two to come your way sometime soon I think!

A ~28k triangle in the end taking a little over 2hrs - my best ever uk flight if you allow the x3 multiplier. Highly entertaining as well what with Sail planes, light aircraft, biplanes, and military aircraft of various sorts about. Shame I didn't have camera with me. The only disappointment.... my GPS batteries gave out 45mins into the flight. :o( So no national league entry, oh well.

However, with 3k above launch I decided to try another XC - this time seeing how close to Gloucester I could get - well made Staunton.


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