5/8/2016    Brigsteer/Far Whitestones


First time on Brigsteer for a while. Once the wind came on I had a very pleasant 45 minutes with good, light thermals to 1500'ato. It then went too light (despite forecast for fresher winds) so moved to Far Whitestones.


Far Whitestones: some flying, some packing after some nice flying. I took aff at probably the wrong time - when the SB came in - the mixing air wasn't pleasant and after 30 minutes I decided it wasn't nice enough to continue and landed.

After the flying and before the pub session.

6/8/2016  Far Whitestones.


Went back to FW early as it was due to get windy after midday. A nice hour and a half down to Arrant Haw and back to Blease fell to the north. It then got windy so we all landed over the next half hour. Pleasant but unfortunately the wind stopped play too soon and we departed for drinks.


Stills of some of the landings

Heading towards Coverdale with Nick and Toby

10/8/2016  Wether Fell


One short slot sandwiched between lots of windy days. With the BPCup cancelled I came back north to grab some Dales flying.


Nick (Pain) rang about 9am and we quickly decided to meet in Hawes with either Dodd (if windy) or Wether (if not). As it turned out Wether was about perfect, a light wind, but soarable, a decent sky and a rising base - although never to go above much 4300' until we got further east. Already the high cloud was visible coming in from the west so it wasn't a day to be hanging about waiting for better. I believe it didn't stay good for that long after we left.


We got to base quicky, about five of us and set off ....... nudging through the cloud to emerge just south of Semer Water. Nick headed off towards Bishopdale first, I was in more cautious mode and hung onto my height over the Semer sinkhole ..... before chasing after.  Simon and Dennis (I think) headed back upwind a bit, then turned and followed a lot lower, at that point they split (?) one shoooting low over into Bishopdale, - not sure about the other. 


Nick. Toby and I kept heading slowly downwind, always high and generally with a cloud to head for (or occasionally) get sucked into. Leaving the Dales and entering the Vale of York, Nick forged on ahead to the east, I had a goal just south of York and Toby had a low moment before getting up and joining me. Over Ripon we minced about in light lift, but nothing strong or organised. With airspace (Dishforth) looming (in my head as it turned out)  I was being forced south a long way to get round and that meant into poorer sky. With Toby being radioless I wasn't sure he knew my plan - or me his. At that point we split as I edged south around Dishforth (wasn't sure if, as the helicopter squadron had departed in July, it was de-activated) - either way it was a bit tough getting around before heading back east). Once able to head east I got low a few times, once very low (600' agl) but got a climb at the right moment and could now thermal them fully without an airspace issue.


Over the M1 I had a good climb, but the sky was now closing down, base was dropping again and the sun had weakened. A straw fire gave me another boost but York was now increasingly crosswind despite a circling sailplane tempting me that way. I got bits, but nothing to really use and eventually landed in a lovely grassy field by a main road leading into York. The sky was changing rapidly with rain not far away.


I've been very lucky with retrieves this year; a quick lift into York (BMW) ......... fast train to Leeds (20 mins) and the 6.06pm to Settle. Nice when it's that easy. Fairly happy - the mistakes were possibly not (sharing)  plans. My goal wasn't well placed for the day, I thought the wind would turn more WNW in the VoY but it actually (obvious given the approaching front, went more SW) and I got myself boxed against the ATZ's as I tried to force my goal and didn't turn south soon enough. Pity Toby had a flat radio battery. Oh ..... and to try better  forward planning might be an idea - it would have prevented the Dishforth quandry.


Some stills

14/8/2016  Wether Fell 


Not an xc day (although possible as Pete Darwood proved) but a lovely soaring day with climbs to cloudbase and possible to get well out front ..... over to Dodd and beyond.


Lots out on the hill - 30+ and maybe a bit daunting for some as the rigids added to the melee. Had lots of flying including a flat triangle out front ..... I didn't think it looked that good downwind and wasn't tempted to dash off. A good day for many to simply gain airtime.

Geoff Yeadon on his Delta 2

15/8/2016   Cautley


A better looking day than rasp suggested, although base never really rose above 4000'. Mike, Geoff's C and Y and I decided Cautley was the best bet given the light southerly wind - I think we got it about right.


Mike and Geoff C declared to around Moffat, I thought that a bit optimistic for the day with the Solway SB likely to spoil the fun. I declared to Brampton as a more realistic goal for me and the day. Mike got away from the hill first, whilst I was still tagging my turnpoint out front. From that point on the hill frustrated, there were decent clouds, but no climb was convincing. Mike radioed  that it was weak over the back, but he had managed at this stage to claw his way onto Orton Scar which usually proves better. The last I heard he was approaching Centreparks, Penrith.


After two hours of scratching around and the odd short climb, I managed to get away from exactly the same point as a year earlier - the worked hay fields out front and left side of the hill. It was now well past 2:30pm. Although a slow climb it got me to about 3600' and heading over the back - not really that high given the terrain and the drop off towards the Tebay road. As several times before the climb started low near the main road and on cue ..... just where it was meant to be; this was the start of my climb onto Orton Scar. From that point on it was simply a case of pick a cloud, climb, look for the next decent cloud, head under it and away again. Ground sources tended to confirm the origin. Base rose a little to just over 4000' , not high, but the climbs were regular, occasionally the odd cloud never worked so I just pushed on for the next. The drift was light and progress slow, but it allowed me to dodge around both upwind and crosswind searching for the cores. I never got low and it was about keeping high and drifting along sorting out the next move. One of those days where even on glide and losing height, I was confident of getting another climb ..... slow, cautious, but reliable


Passing well east of Penrith I continued north along the snaking Eden riverline and although it was now gone 4pm the climbs were still OK. Lazonby, Great Salkeld and Glassonby passed beneath and the goal countdown began. At 17k out I saw that ahead only a single cloud remained and It didn't look that brilliant. Beyond, the blue, washed out sky suggested the SB had come in. My glide still wasn't enough to reach Brampton (goal) but anything that final cloud offered would certainly help. It gave me little, merely a useful drift  without losing height. At 3200' goal still looked a long way, but now the 9:1 required matched my average glide - this was going to be tight! The mere though of getting all this way to land perhaps only 100m short didn't bear thinking about.


The final glide went on .... passing over two tarns and a golf course, whilst ahead lay a railine, a powerline and a wood! I passed over these at 500', it felt low, still another 1k to go to the cylinder edge. With every foot counting the ground dropped away very slightly, fortunately over a hayfield cooking in the sun. My glide improved as the heat bubbles rising from the field before my aim point raised my hopes. Finally, the relief when the instruments both pinged and I went into the cylinder. A short distance further and a left turn in to land in a gentle westerly. Done it! With only about 80' to spare it was a close run thing and probably due to those final four drifting turns 6k upwind. Such tight margins!


A great and rather unexpected flight. For once getting back was easy. A bus ride and straight onto a fast train to Oxenholme. It took about an hour and some kind mates had even brought my car to the station. Thanks Fellas.

Geoff Crossley and Mike setting up their route on take off. Yarlside main face in the background.
Hazy up high, the A66 (congested) ahead.

16/8/2016  Semerwater


A small group of us gathered on a very warm, flyable day. The wind was on the hill, the sky looked good, although the rasp was poor - disappointingly cloudbase was a mere 3500'. With barely a beat everyone - about six of us were all at cloudbase and debating what to do next. Nick shot off ahead of the rest of use as we conjugated a plan. Very simple plan really ..... head downwind and see what happens ... there's plenty of us so plenty to search for the nrext climb onto the moors beyond Hawes.


Except ............. nothing happened! One glide and we were all decked! Nick who'd left a little sooner managed to get into the Mallerstang valley. It was not that great a day, but I guess worth the try.


Back at the hill I had another fly .... it was now quite breezy and the sky had blued out.



18/8/2016.    Semerwater


Another warm but breezy day. A few had flown Whernside during the day but l left my flying until after tea.


I arrived at Semer at 5pm to find a couple leaving having decided it was too top end. I settled down for a lone wait and semi snoozed time away. Dean arrived, walked up and we decided that, now approaching 6pm, it wasn't too bad and worth a go. We laid out low .... beneath the lower take off where it seemed OK. Dean launched and l followed shortly after. We found nice smooth lift well out front of the hill, light wave and enjoyed a lovely hour of flying between the back of Wether and out towards Addleborough. We landed easily back by the cars and concluded it had been well worth the wait to take off.

23/8/2016   Stags Fell


A very warm afternoon. I decided to take the M6 out for a photo-shoot with a view to selling. Took the photos and decided as the conditions were spot on to fly despite there being no-one there. A lovely 30 minute boat about in T-shirt flying weather, lots of lift. A perfect Stags flying afternoon.

Preparing for the long, hot walk up to Bodenback Law (background)


24/8/2016  Bodenback Law


Lovely weather, hot with light WNW winds. Rasp suggested the Borders and after some discussion we (Mike, Glen, John, Geoff and I, joined later by Dave and Pete Southern) settled on a new site new for all of us. Bodenback Law near Moffat. A stunning place, but a long walk up - about 2 hrs. It was light on top and the lack of clouds made it difficult. We all flew and enjoyed decent thermals and some wandering around - Mike doing the most exploring and having about 3 hrs airtime. I managed an hour before a lack of lift put me down. 


A nice adventure, lots of exercise and a place to file away for future reference. We had the obligatory pints in Moffat plus a fish and chip supper. 

Looking for that first climb out with Mike and Ben.


27/8/2016  Cautley 


The forecast wasn't that great from a flying point of view. Rasp was a bit localised and didn't give a top day, but it did promise thermal development. The Dales was on the edge of being blown out, whilst the Lakes seemed on the light side. After some faffing at Semer I decided to head back west to the better sky and lighter winds. When a message said Barkin was on the breezy side it didn't look good. However, a check on Cautley showed a glider flying so that decided it.


I walked up the lower slopes to find it very pleasant, even on the light side. Behind Ben and Mike had caught up and joined me. We launched below the lower bump and scratched our way up into the better lift - well, I scratched below the bracken for a few beats and then got up.  There were  decent cumulus, but typical Cautley you had to wait to get the rewards and the climb out took about 30 minutes to arrive - that said Mke forced it by heading low over the back to a dubious 'bump'. It worked for him too, whilst Ben and I looked on first sceptically, then enviously. He was away. The streeting to our left was starting to look very tempting. Mike left about 10 minutes before Ben and I got our act together - we wanted something less challenging to leave with.


Ben found the climb first, in the usual place and got ahead of me height-wise - no radio however meant we didn't manage to co-ordinate our plans. Trying to avoid the usual sink over the back I stayed high and the streeting helped. Arriving over Orton Scar had been easier than usual for once. Unfortunately Ben got dropped into the sink and couldn't recover and had to land - back to the usual lone flight. (I was unaware than John Hamlett was pulling a blinder at this stage, having climbed out from Barkin and was working his way round the west side of the Howgills and about 30 minutes behind me).


For once the flying was relatively straightforward. There was a nice drift and good streeting so it was mainly a case of climb and push on. My preferred street was to the east,  too far and too risky to go for so I stayed under my lesser street. Behind the sky was closing down as forecast, but ahead still looked good and base was rising slightly to 4700' - respectable. Approaching Penrith I got low and the street started to get a little more fragmented. After a long sinky glide I found a weak climb before Rheged that developed into something better and reached base again north of Penrith.  Some distance ahead lay Carlisle and the Solway, but the clouds were weakening and the sky looking increasingly blue with only odd wispy hints at development. Using the wispies as guides I still found climbs, not that strong and often quite broken. With the Solway blocking the route north and more east in the wind I was trying to udge east but it was proving difficult. Arriving over Carlisle with decent height, I occasionally found broken lift, but I think my concentration (or desire) was on the wane as my thermalling became less focused and lazy. It was possible to have done better at this difficult area of the flight.


I slowly climbed, but the drift was taking me increasing towards the Solway sands and a lack of roads after the final village. With that in mind I pushed east, losing height and landed a few miles north of Carlisle and not far from the M6. After all the previous two hours I think I gave in too easily on the next crucial 10k into Gretna and the better Borders sky. Maybe the sight of lots of and put me off ..... at least the tide was well out.


Retrieve time! Suddenly this became easy when good old Ben said he was on his way and heading up the M6. 30 minutes later Ben arrived and about the same instant John float over and landed a few fields away - great timing (and great flight from Barkin too). Mike? - still going. He eventually came to earth not far short of Moffat ...... excellent flight. We set off and gathered Mike before heading back south and a pub in Ravenstonedale to celebrate a great day out.


It didn't look like the day had it in it, but it just shows what's possible and how rasp isn't perfect.


A few video still photos    (LINK)





29/8/2016        Johnny Barnes (Barbon Fell)


Great looking Bank Holiday marred by two things - wind top end most places up north, and the fairly poor cloudbase at little more than 3000'.  For a few  hours (between about 10:30 and 1pm) reports came in of some places being a lot lighter and people preaparing to fly - or even flying. I chose Johhny Barnes as it's very handy and it was said to be perfectly flyable. I arrived to find it quite light, even walking up was fairly light. There was more wind at take off but nothing to prevent an easy take off. The main worry was it would go off to the south and there were already hints at this.


I had a very pleasant 40 minutes, mostly well out front and at best 1200' ato. The clouds were working for a spell. At this point the sea breeze effect started to be felt, the wind was moving off to the SW and increasing, so time to land.  No problem landing until the final 20' when I dropped into dead air behind the trees - from a lot of wind to nothing instantly. No problem, but I would like to have avoided the bracken.


Cefn landed a bit higher, Tam going backwards on top and others turned up. We de-camped to Barbon cafe.

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© Ed Cleasby