6/9/2015 Dodd Fell
A lovely early Autumn day in a spell of settled weather.
Despite having a bad head cold I couldn't resist going out (but wore special glasses to cover my streaming red eyes so not to frighten anyone).
I arrived (late as usual) to find about eight in the air and a few landing or debating whether to launch in the moderate wind. Generally there were plenty of lulls and it was straightforward. Although forecast to be more NW the wind was fairly west, but as usual the ridge seems to be very accepting of any deviation from the way it faces.
Like most I had about an hour or two. There was too much was gale hanging for my taste but the odd small rough thermal added some spice to the preceedings. Although few clouds when I arrived increasingly they built as the afternoon wore on but were never very high or convincing - by this time most had landed and left.
Lovely day, but the flying was nothing to write home about.
13/9/2015 Cautley Spout
The forecast for the weekend had been very 'unsettled' ........... favoured term of UK forcasters to describe our lovely British weather. The evening before I'd sort of hoped to join a few others on Cautley and was looking forward to some group flying however, the morning seemed quite breezy - in fact probably blown out so we'd canned it.
By midday it looked a lot better, warm, bright - and the wind had died away to leave a great Autumnal day. I went via Stags and although probably flyable it was a bit off to the south so walked back down and decided Cautley offered a lot more promise. I arrived to find a deserted Cautley, but it looked fine so I walked up to the first knoll. The wind was not more than 8mph, but I launched to find it was very bouyant and once across on the main face of Yarlside it was working well.
For a while I had it all to myself until I noticed a glider laid out - at least some company and someone to video. It turned out to be Pete Southern (didn't know until later as I'm really shit at recognising people and wings). For the next few hours we roamed about in lovely smooth air, stretching it into the hills beyond the Spout and out into the valley. Try as we might we couldn't make the upwind bowls which was a pity.
Pete landed as I hit the 3 hr mark so I called it a day too and landed by him for a catch up. Another very enjoyable day snatched from the jaws of 'unsettled'.
Coaching Day: We had a low base initially, but forecast to rise as the day progressed - the wind being WSW there were lots of options so it was about choosing the best. So ..... Brantside it was; a lovely site overlooking Dentdale with the regular Settle to Carlisle train chuntering along beneath every hour or so. Given a the warm sunshine it was as stunning as anywhere.
Although billed as a coaching day most of the pilots needed little help, just airtime, and after a scratchy start the lift and the wind picked up to provides hours of smooth flying and odd thermals to base if you wanted it. I spent the first half of the day ground-bound pouncing on anyone to help (few and far between as most had taken off) ..... we had about six coaches in attendance also seeking for someone to help. In the end they thought flying was the best way of watching over the flock.
I managed to take a nice climb to base with Dave Smart but with a low base and ever mindful of NOT departing my duties I headed back whilst Dave and Jake departed east. A while later, now with about six or seven in the gaggle we reached a higher base and the collective mindset was to keep going - so we did. A few headed for Wether with the temptation of gliders flying there - although only a single rather anaemic cloud to head for more over the valley I opted for that (run for a ridge, you get stuck on a ridge - especially when it's so weak a day). Simon followed along but a bit lower. We had few clouds to go for and always, looking back upwind, seemed just ahead of the sky, Still ..... we bimbled along with me, being higher, nipping out into the valley and Simon finding a weak climb for me to head back to. After three or four such weak affairs we went for distance. It had seemed light but I was surprised to find me clocking over 60kph - windy landing? Actually it was fine .......... the wind was light at ground level and the field huge.
Decent hitch back, a first pint in Hawes where Donald later took me back to my car and a second pint in the Moorcock debriefing the day with Rosie, Pete, Toby and Simon.
A lovely day out only spoiled when I discovered the Ingleton to Hawes road blocked by an accident and a loooong diversion back via Dentdale.
A few photos from my phone HERE
On the afternoon of 18th September, a warm Autumnal day, Mark 'Patty' Paterson laid out his wing and harness above Buttermere for what should have been a pleasant flight around the fells. It would be his last. Tragically, it ended with his death on the side of Fleetwith Pike several hours later. Patty's body was recovered the next day.
It shouldn't ever end like this, but in our quest, our addiction for something very special - to fly as free as a bird over stunning landscapes and court the clouds we tread that risky course. Each time we take off we flirt with the chance of injury or worse. Patty's loss is a sober reminder that it can come at a high price for any of us - but flying defines who we are. We remember, we try to learn - but of course we have to carry on.
26/9/2015 Jenkin Hill
One week on, in remembrance of Patty, over 60 pilots gathered on the outskirts of Keswick to say their farewells - we are a special fraternity. We did as he would haver done - coffee, bacon butties, more smiles than tears and added a fitting poem - he may have been moved, but also a touch embarrassed at that. Patty had a passion for flight - but he was also very down to earth.
Eventually, all those pilots found themselves looking out from Jenkin Hill - no wind, but for once no one seemed to care too much. In various dribs amd drags they waited for whispers and flew off, some down, some into light convergence over Keswick and a few even walked back up to do it again. Later it had to be the pub.
This was a special occasion and the cameraderie was evident. We remembered Patty in our own way, it wasn't maudlin - it was how I think he would have wanted it.
Life goes on.
Stunning day! Blease across to Jenkin was busy with about 40 gliders strung across the mountain landscape. Rasp had the light southerly right but neglected to say there would be good thermals thrown in the mix too. Like the three bears porridge the wind was neither too light nor too fresh, the sunshine warm but not too hot and the thermals tasty but with nothing too tangy. Basically, a great day to be out and exploring with lots of friends.
I lost track of time, but who cares. I had an immediate climb out to high above Blencathra and set off for Jenkin. I admit it was a trifle punchy over there and I looked back rather enviously at the high dots back on Blease. I had to work, firstly to stay up and then to ride the rough broken cores coming through. Once high above Little Man it was Do I continue for Skiddaw? Do I use the height to try to get back in the slight headwind Blease? I chose the latter - I was still in ultra safe mode in my head.
Later, another climb and I set off for Souther but the further east the worse it got so Scales became the turn point for a very low scratchy climb up the front of Gatesgill Fell (after passing low over the Halls Fell ridge and my picnic spot of a month or so ago). High again I headed out for Tewet Tarn which turned out to be easier than expected then back to the ridge to land.
A great day out and a pint with others in the Horse and Fariar.