Monday, 30 March 2009

Your club's team (see piccie for most of them, except the photographer) had a grand day out up in the Peak District on Sunday. After an early start (about 7am, or 6 in old money), we all met up at the Glider Station at Camphill at 10am - most of the other teams (who had travelled much shorter distances) were already there. After the usual parafaffing, the organiser decided we would all drive 5 minutes up the road to Eyam, for a southwesterly launch - it was very light, but the forecast was that way inclined. The task was set as "flight to goal - get anywhere across the M1" - a distance of about 25 km. It was suggested that double points would be scored for landing in the central reservation.

We got to launch, then sat around and waited a bit while Trevor gave his wing a nice suntan and various pilots from other teams put on impressive groundhandling/short hop exhibitions. It was a glorious day, hardly a cloud to be seen..... There was very little breeze on the hill, almost all small thermic gusts. Not enough to stay up. Then the cycles got a teentsie bit stronger and after about an hour a nice one came through - at which point everyone who was well prepared hurled themselves into the air all at once, including our own Ian Price (the rest of us were still deciding what clothes to put on, except Stuart "go for it" Mayson, who was already groundhandling and threatening to take a ride ahead of us all). There followed some parabarging in front of the hill before a large gaggle formed and started to drift back and up, as the rest of us groundhogs watched jealously and hurriedly unpacked our gear.

Nothing more then happened cycle-wise for another 40 minutes, when the next decent cycle came through and a few more of us managed to get into the air (by now just after 1pm). There was a bit more parabarging - including Dave Lock getting barged out the side of a thermal by someone and then not being able to get back in, so having to top land again. But a smaller gaggle eventually sorted itself out and drifted gently back and up - including yours truly. Luckily there were lots of good pilots in it to follow, so I managed to get most of the way round Sheffield and up to 5,400 feet (airspace way overhead) before being decked by a combination of incompetence and incompetence. Ian had decided the backstreets of Hillsborough were worth a closer look, so he kindly landed in order to join the local kids in a game of footie while their mates nicked his gear. Though we didn't quite reach the goal, we managed about 35km between us. Not bad for a couple of rusty XC novices in March!

Ian and I managed to walk/bus/tram into the centre of Sheffield from our different landing fields, and Ian drank 17 pints of a local ale called Jaipur while he waited for me. Dave Lock was then kind enough to drive up from the take-off to pick us up in central Sheffield - which is actually a really nice place with very friendly people. I would never have been to these great places without the BCC! Then home to a well-deserved frozen pizza! Crackers, Grommet???

Get your volunteering in now for the next episode of this free flying extravaganza over Easter Weekend! Names to chris_hopkins@blueyonder, please, I will be away.

All the best, hopefully see some of you on the hill this week before I leave.


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