1/9/2014 Sour Howes


After a dull morning the day improved as forecast and the sun broke through, so I thought I'd nip out to try something different on a hill I'd not flown for a very long time. I had a plan, but the wind was too far off to the north and despite trying to get past Frostwick and being forced to slope land, I decided it just wasn't on for today. Still,  I learned a bit about what it would require for future reference and flew back to the car. 

2/9/2014  Barkin Fell


Left work early - 12:30pm. Walked to the very top in warm sunshine and very light wind - at least it was on the hill. Waited a while (but obviously not long enough as it came good later). Had a slow fly down with odd 'almost' thermals on the way.


L to R (back): Brian, Peter, Tom, Mark, Tim, Baz, Simon. Front Ed, Ali. (Dave Brown not in photo)

6 -13th Sept GWO (Ager - Spain):


We had a good team out from the Dales and Cumbria areas - which guaranteed a bit of mayhem!


Throughout the week the weather, although often flyable, was not always taskable. On one day we even walked down for the exercise and the fun of it - despite the plus 30 C temperatures. 


We got in three scoring tasks, another was cancelled mid task and others just before launch - mainly due to the increasing west wind or over development. The tasks we did fly were fun and often multi tp which challenged the gps programming skills of some.  This was a great sort of event to decide if comps were for you .....  or not. Being a prisoner of the comp means you can miss some of the flying opportunities due to waiting, conversely you do learn a lot about yourself, your wing and your instruments.  It's also a safe and closely monitored environment and you get to fly with others - lots of them. It can get busy!


What did I learn? Well - this is my fourth comp this year and there is a pattern emerging.


*  I generally get to goal on tasks.

*  I'm pretty slow and don't take enough risks - too cautious; more xc meanderer than racing snake.

*  I chose to take the UCross over the M6 - it was a slow wing against the Carrera, D2 and Mentors ... the M6 would have helped a lot.

*  There is a lot of full bar use and my only catch-ups come in thermals (leave early) or strategic positioning (pimp positions)


The comp aside we had a great laugh, caught up with many old friends and flew safely. We need to curb some of our group antics involving naked frolicking, non pc langauge and cheese.


Overall results (all classes) can be found at:  GWO RESULTS



Avoiding cloud near the start cylinder on task 2. Base lifted as the task progressed.

16/9/2014 Whernside:


As I walked up I didn't expect much; base was low and it was fairly hazy - a typical September day. Still it was warm and very pleasant in the sun. I took off low, at the south end, and flew up to find the main ridge working well. A little later a few other pilots began to arrive so I landed for a chat and to get myself into the CSC part of the ridge as I had a few half-formed plans.


Slowly the day improved and the lift got better. In fact by mid afternoon it was worth pushing out into the valley - initially looking for a thermal, but as it transpired light wave was setting up. I edged slowly down the valley - maintaining until near White Scar caves the (wave?) seemed best and slowly climbing to 3500' I crossed and aimed for Ingleborough - now not far away.  With a point tagged I flew back to Whernside and thinking more flat than FAI triangle at this stage extended the leg to the north of the main ridge as far as possible. Returning to near take off I was hoping something might allow a transition to Gragareth - and beyond to Barkin and the Howgills. I didn't think given the condtions I'd make it back. 


A good climb saw me easily onto Gragareth and with plenty of height remaining I set off north for Great Combe. Part of the reason was a good looking cloud in this direction and a short street back across Kingsdale.  The best climb of the day now had me high again and recrossing  back to Whernside a possibility. The street worked for long enough to get me halfway ... and the M6 did the rest with its superb glide on bar. Given the day an FAI seemed quite a nice bonus ... well pleased and some great flying to boot.


21/9/2014   Cow Close:


This was a short notice, impromptu coaching day call. Decent forecast, but NE is not good in the Dales and I admit to Cow Close being my least favourite site. For me it's far too unpredictable and the prevalent wave can make or break the day -  too often  it's the latter. Directionwise it tends to be all over the place on the hill.


In the end six of us (site limit) made the walk up and enjoyed (?) some flying - Hubert, one of the Polish lads proved the biggest animal of all and had by far the most airtime. in fact he sat through the grim stuff to finally get his reward when the sky broke up and more sun appeared. I wouldn't know how good - I'd landed with the wind going from 0 to 20 mph and constantly switching! Pawel is low airtime, but these Poles are brave buggers and he thought it OK. Tam went off on a plan that ended in the bottom field; Arron ran for cover - also to the bottom with impressive collapse just high enough to recover. Old hands Pete and I landed on the fellside - we are not that brave!


I've landed in the bottom field a number of times over the years - and it's been OK. BUT .... if you ever feel the need to see a valley windsock switch 180 degree instantly during final approach ...... then Cow Close is the place.

22/9/2014   Brigsteer:


I left work at 3:30pm and decided I'd look in on Brigsteer as the afternoon looked really nice and take off is next to the car. I also had a stinking cold and wasn't prepared for too much exercise after a day grafting.

I arrived to find one glider flying (high), two more wings laid out and the wind smack onto the hill - too tempting.  I was greated by,  "Who's the old bloke with the white hair?" This was the first time in a while I'd seen my old flying buddy, Ian Ferguson - about 30 years before we had pioneered Brigsteer when it was regarded as 'too shallow' for hang gliders. Ian took off and got away well (demo'ing a Mentor 3 L) and floated up and out; I followed but got the low and gnarly treatment in amongst the trees before getting up. Brigsteer never changes.

A guy (unknown) followed me, but I suspect new to the site, he sensibly dropped it down in the field before the edge/trees. The original 'Mr High' also ended up under the Scar after going along the main edge and unable to get back.

Ian and I enjoyed a very nice hour before the lift started to die off and we sneaked in on top by the cars and avoided an unwanted exertion. A nice boat about after work.


28/9/2014   Ingleborough:


A spot of exercise before the final day of the Ryder Cup.


Tried to beat my best time to the top starting from the HIll Inn. Got to the top in just under an hour to find the wind of to the east, but no worries as Ingleborugh takes every direction for take off.  Found a good take off, but the cloud was lowering to hilltop height and there was a hint of drizzle in the air. Took off and after a few short beats headed for a landing on the edge of the village. Useful exercise if nothing else.

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© Ed Cleasby