Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Sarn (Powys) - Weds 8th Aug

Weatherjack 4/5 - how good can it get? Brian Hickman was tempting me to try Edge Hill, over near Warwick, but this looks rather a NW site, whereas the wind was forecast as N or NNW. So, having dug through the Long Mynd site guide, I decided that Sarn, near Newtown in Wales, was just as close to me in Bewdley, and likely to be a better bet.

I hadn't reckoned that BHPA had also decided that Sarn was a good site for the day, and had organised a major event there, with 150 competitors!

I turned up around 2.30pm and found, amongst the throng on the hill, (mainly laid out but not flying), Brad Bayliss from Malvern Club, but no other familiar faces. The task of the day was a timed task to Abergavenny, about 50 miles away. Some gaggles had got away in the morning, some just before I arrived, and some had thermalled up but not been pleased at their speed, and so had flown back through the gate in order to get a second "go".

Sarn is a nice open site with good slope landing and top landing opportunities. The wind was on the hill and varying in strength and direction under the influence, I guessed, of the thermals around us. Most people were climbing out over a farm which was about a Km in front of the hill, rather beyond the landing field. But you needed to fly level out to the farm, in order to get the climb ..... and there were a lot of people walking back up having not made it.

The takeoff is about half a mile (a flat walk across a thistley field) from the lane with car parking, so, by the time I had gone back and got my kit and set up, it was about 4pm, and the start of the event was finishing. The wind was backing more westerly, and I was regretting not having gone to the Lawley (Brad was there earlier but found the site closed due to a bomb disposal crew blowing up some old ordnance) or the Wrekin. After an abortive first attempt which ended after a couple of beats with a slope landing above the trees which begin quite soon in front of launch, I eventually managed a 10 minute session, getting above launch to the west of the site in broken thermals drifting back over takeoff. So I top landed and, with the sky clouding up and the wind settling in the NW, packed up, hoping to make the evening race at Chelmarsh Sailing Club near Bridgnorth.

So, another new site visited - not quite the solitary soaring to cloudbase I had hoped for - and a long way to go for 10 mins airtime, but it broadens the mind I suppose.


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