2/8/2019  Park Fell


Park Fell - again!  This time I had company ... John H, Tim and later Mark Gravestock. We arrived to see a glider airborne (Chris Kay) which was encouraging. A pleasant walk up to take off to find the wind square on and about 14mph - so nicely soarable. A few k's to the south the odd gliders was doing OK on Simon's and a few were laying out on the lower slopes. It looked set good for the afternoon.


After a spell on Park we headed over to join the gaggle of gliders on Simon's and found the flying really nice - quite smooth with odd thermals coming through although base remained stubbornly little more than 3400'. A few ventured over the back, or got too far back - and found themselves flying the east face of Ingleborough and nearby Little Ingleborough.  It didn't looked that inviting and for a spell the climbs were harder to find and that seemed it may be it for the day.  Over on Ingleborough (Tim and Mark) managed to get up and were seen heading over the back. Still stuck without any climbs on Simon's it was a little galling.


Eventually, a climb came that seemed solid enough and with retrieve no issue I went for it. Clinging on I was determined to avoid the 40 minute grovel the others had, had and pressed on over the slopes sliding down from Ingleborough. I expected a lot of sink but it wasn't too bad. Grey Scars passed beneath and looked rather close, but with the ground falling away and a distant glider circling high over Ingleton it looked hopeful.  Despite losing a fair amount of height the climb got better over the village, improving  more as I pressed on. Being over one's house at height is a great feeling and the need to shoot some video a necessity. Maybe it was a bit unwise too as I fell out of the thermal and after filming tried to go back and find it - without much luck.  I think I could have made another 400' feet before cloud called time.


With little else ahead it became one long, smooth glide over very familiar territory. The River Lune - loomed and I considered crossing but wary of the extra retrieve difficulty opted to land the easy side.  As it happened John H was on retrieve duty and at the field gate by the time I'd packed (Thanks John).  A pint and pie in the Station Inn, back at the cars and the end to a very enjoyed day's flying.







3/8/2019 Cautley (Yarlside)


I didn't get out until gone 12pm and the J36 group was silent. Of course my phone only receives batches through randomly.  To me .... Cautley seemed the best option, it was fairly handy and the wind would be on. It also had a great sky, but not that good a base.


I arrived to find not a soul ... which was a bit weird considering it was Saturday and probably the best flyable site for the day. It was hot, the wind was light, but at the half way point it started blowing nicely up the hill whilst out front the cu's looked good. I launched on the lowest step, did a few rising  beats for 300' and was then into a great thermal that took me to base (3500') ... not as high as I'd like for going over the back of Cautley. Given the slow drift I was in two minds as to whether I should push forward towards Winder and do some sort of triangle - however the sky downwind looked better so that decided it. The hardest part of any xc from Cautley seemed to be surviving to get the second thermal - often a long way and where the escarpment starts to rise again after the main Tebay/KS road.  I had a good cloud to head for, but it was a long way off. Still - it looked beefy and I was confident it would work; even if I did  arrive low. By the time I reached it I was very low, with high ground upwind which didn't help. I could find only broken bits and search as a could, nothing to get me back up again - so I landed. 


God! But it was hot. I walked a minor tarred road, then a footpath through fields (very pretty) until I hit tar again. A quick lift, followed by a second and I was soon back at the car. What could have been awkward turned out easy in the end. Pity about that second thermal not doing the biz.


8/8/2019  Wether Fell (BP CUP)




Great day ... sandwiched amongst the crap.

I opted for Wether as the best option for the BP Cup given the numbers and the ease.  First check it out flight showed it was easy with decent  thermals. By the time the briefing had taken place it was lighter and off to the WSW. Goal was set at Constable Burton. Second flight ended in failure. I chanced to go for big cloud out over Hawes and try the far moors as my line. Landed in Gayle and got a first lift to the top for a second bite.


(Interlude .... waiting for a lift tale.  There's a shallow ford in Gayle, as I stood by it with my sign out, two large motorcycles, both with pillion passengers arrived at the ford. The first started across, got half way and the bike skidded into the water side on. Both riders trapped underneath and soaked through. The second bike stopped, both riders got off and laughed and swore at their mates ... eventually one deigned to help. He made it almost to the bike and quickly joined his mates horizontal in the water. The forth, remaining dry rider was urged to come and help. He declined - but was persuaded to strip off and try - bad move! He removed all but his undies - but worse his socks. He waded in made it to the bike then went arse over tit. Of course .... I looked for cameras - this had to be a stunt,typical Chuckle Brothers. I saw no camera so took a few of my own cos you have to.
Then my lift arrived and I left them to it ... four wet blokes, still trying to remove one bike and with lots of swearing.)


My second flight was better. Despite lots scratching I got off, up and away. Fairly easy to near Penhill (met a single glider high - Danni Capelin) then lots of lowish scratching in  broken thermals before they got their act together. Made goal with lots of height - about 4500' and with zero wind - maybe a touch of east from the thermalling track, Idecided to head back. The usual route would have been back along the moors, but the clouds were sort of up the valley and seemed to be working so ... hey ho, follow them. The last cloud near Bainbridge looked a bit weaker and too low to get back on the moors near Addleborough - I chanced it. It didn't work which was a pity because that last climb would have got me back to Wether.

Thanks to Tony/Zena for the lift back to Hawes from the Rose and Crown.


A few STILLS link.

12/8/2019    Johnny Barnes   (Above: Heading across into the Heather covered bowl behind Barkin)


A short dog-walk in the morning suggested it was actually a lot better than forecast - a decent, developing sky and not too windy. No one seemed interested or convinced so I ended up going alone to Johnny Barnes.


I arrived on top to find the sun out, the clouds looking OK and no sign of any showers. The slight fly in the ointment was the wind - although square on to the hill, it was OK but a little too top end in the gusts.  The windmills about 10K out front slowed almost to a stop so I waited it out. Not too long to sit around before the wind dropped to maybe only 8 - 10 mph. 


A very easy take off in in a light breeze and a short bout of soaring. Eventually, a few beefy clouds and attendent thermals rolled in and before long I was at 1200' ato ... more was possible as they were quite solid but I preferred to stay out front rather than follow them back.  Soon ... given the slight N in the wind, I decided to head over to the back of Barkin and see how far was possible. I pushed on for a few k's before heading back rather than pushing my luck too far.


An easy return trip to Johnnies, build a little height and then off south to the next hill.  At this point thing became more fraught! The wind now seemed a lot stronger and the sudden surges of lift a bit off-putting - in fact, there seemed to be lift everywhere but in discomforting surges that went off the clock at times.  I headed further south to find it equally lifty and just as broken and strong.  I debated whether to take one of the strong cores and head towards home (downwind) ... it should have been good for at least 20k given the following wind. Instead, having found better air near Cowan Bridge I decided to head back north.


Flying north was slow and again I entered a zone of strong wind and strong mixed in cores - being on the ground now seemed the more tempting option. So ... back south it was, losing height (even low down the lift was still there, so it's rare I use big ears but it seemed an opportune time to to do so). Touch down was easy ... with just a nice breeze in the field. Tjis was followed by a lovely walk back to the car along the bridleway.


Once back I saw that Richard McGuiness was on the walk up - had a coffee and met him back at the car after he's walked down. It looked OK but was too windy on top.

24/8/2019 Stags Fells


Quite a break from flying ... some big days down south, but nothing in the north just very unsettled weather with lots of wind.


About eight of us had some  pleasant flying on Stags. It was well off to the east at first, but seemed to be working OK (not a lot of thermals though - poor rasp). Some evidence of wave which kicked in for about an hour  and then it became OK again and the wind went more southerly which helped.


Finished with points in the Green Dragon and  an interesting meeting with an ex Sale RU player.

25/8/2019 Whernside  (Above: Pete Logan over Whernside top ridge)


Hot, blue day with some wave around.


I walked up early with the intentional of trying the NCT challenge task, arriving on top by 10.15am. Although there was little wind at the bottom, on top it was 20mph + and rather gusty (typically Whernside - the top ridge really catches it).  More walking along for about 800m brought me to where you can drop down to the lower slopes that offer some nice take off area - not as steep. Here, the wind was OK ... and whilst pondering matters, Ian Ferguson turned up so we spent some time chatting and catching up.


Eventually, I thought it seemed worth a shot ... and if nothing else to save me walking down. Once airborne it seemed OK ... just very off to the NE so after 30 mins I opted to land at the bottom and chat with Dean as he had the school out.  During all the packing and chatting it seemed the wind had actually become more SE, and onto the slope. Others  (Chris F, Jake and Pete Logan had taken off further north and seemed to be doing OK). A 15 min walk onto the lower slopes which are nice and grassy - ideal, where Chris Kay took off and showed that even low down it was easy enough to get up. 


A nice light wind take off and a left turn only to pass close by two pilots sweating their way up. I thought they may take the hint and just walk 50M left and layout - but, they carried on to the very top, found it too windy and walked down again. 


The next two hours was really nice flying, lots of company and it was possible to get into the weak wave and clmb to about 3200' then push out into the middle of the valley. I got the early TP's for the NCT but the one out front was too far to push for given the wind strength - just 600m short.


Eventually we all landed and found our way to the HIll Inn for beers.

27/8/2019  Windbank


Bank Holiday Monday had a promising forecast - not a great rasp, but probably a very nice day on Windbank - which seemed the very obvious choice.  The morning however, was misty, with low cloud and even hints of drizzle - still it was meant to clear.


I headed over with Chris Kay and once on the moors heading into Littondale the sun broke through and soon we had wall to wall blue skies with the temps rising into the mid twenties. It would be a warm walk up. The parking was already busy with more and more pilots arriving and  heading up to take off.  On top - it hadn't yet started to work - a light wind and off to the south, so we all laid out, chatted and waited for the first to break. I think the large Polish squad took the lead and showed it was good to go ... some very good pilots amongst them.


Launching required careful timing, it wasn't easy to stay up if low; indeed quite a few were forced to slope land. Further north along the ridge seemed best - certainly at this stage, later as the wind veered a little more west the whole ridge was popping off nice thermals.  I had  almost three hours of lovely flying, with plenty of company. For many pilots it was a great day, but watching from on high I think some found it frustrating, hard work and sweaty - quite a lot of slope landings and some hot carry ups.  Basically, it was  a thermalling day and fine if you were good at sniffing out and thermalling efficiently - but if your forte was more ridge soaring it was tough so I guess a few didn't have the best of days.


A few pilots stood out - someone on an Alpina (blue/purple) and a Sigma 10 in my old colours of orange and grey.  Also an AD Volt 3 that buzzed around high a lot of the time.


I meant to do the NCT task, but soon got side-tracked and into thinking maybe over to Whernside, then down the ridges to Grassington for a bit of a jaunt. I think it was quite a nice and possible challenge, given it got increasingly bouyant,  but getting above 1500' ato was tough. 


Everyone had a good day and we finished off at the Falcon, Arncliffe (Carlsberg £2.50 pint). Chris then took the scenic route back to Settle - he'd make a good tour guide.

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© Ed Cleasby