9/7/20  Park Fell


Late evening walk up and fly-down. No wind on top and light, fine drizzle. Got a little brighter after landing. Pint at the Station Inn.

11/7/2020    The Three Men


Tom had the best idea .... The Three Men


I arrived just as Tom was landing. The wind seemed surprisingly light so no excuse to avoid the 15 min walk up. Took off just below the top ... still the wind seemed fairly light, but with odd stronger blows to make it soarable. A first pleasant flight and as it got a little scratchy a brief touch down and three minute wait. Took off again and found plenty of lift to 330' ato. The wind was spot on for an explore of the northern half of the ridge. Impressed .... it's quite long (2k), quite shallow but works well. .... many easy landing options. In many ways the antithesis of JB.


Came back south to find lots of lift appearing (a shower was passing down the Lune) ... thought it wise to avoid any rain so went down and landed.


Quite enjoyable grab of a weather slot ..... about 35 minutes airtime.


Short take off video (courtesey of Tom S)  LINK


12/7/2020  Parlick


This was a nailed on Parlick day, any further north and you had wind to contend with - further south was too far as we can't yet car-share.


I quite like Parlick, but the drive is tortuous, by whatever route I take - although the potholes have now been fixed. It's also a devil to get back to after an xc and the poor mobile signal deters you from going down for the first 10 miles. I admit to trying to avoid Parlick.


I walked up in warm sunshine, under a lovely sky with Joseph and Stephen for company. You just knew it was the perfect flying day from the outset. Plenty of wings were strewn across the top, although maybe 10 gliders were showing it was working well, the light wind brought a reluctance to take off. It was possible to get over to FairSnape (more into wind at this stage) ... it was also  easy to end up on the slopes with a carry up. I know ... I was one of those unfortunates!


A spell of socialising with fellow Dales, South Lakes (North Lakes don't travel) and Pennine pilots and I took off thinking it would be easy to get over to Fairsnape. I arrived very low and worked rough bits of lift to get almost up, then lost it .... only to sink back to earth half way down the slope. Good start eh? Sometimes it doesn't work for you.


From that point the day divided into three parts.


I had over an hours excellent flying, the thermals worked well and I shared a few thermals to base (especially with two excellently piloted Artik 5's). Base was about 3700' not high, but normal for Parlick at this early stage. Later it would rise another 1000'.  The hill was busy, maybe around 40 - 50 pilots, but never any problem in the air ... a lot always seemed to be stuck on the ground (?). I'd liked to have got some more in-close thermalling video but people seem reluctant to come near me flying one handed, the other often outstretched.


Around mid afternoon the shutdown came in, we lost some of the sun and whilst it remained quite soarable there were some scratchy moments. Most however saw it out with either a top landing, scratching or playing the odd weaker thermals.


After 3pm the sky broke up again to deliver the best part of the day - stronger thermals a much higher base ... and also some rougher edged thermals. It didn't look to have sea-breezed, but the wind veering to WSW and the rougher natrure of the climbs suggested it may have been the trigger. it felt more like mixing air at times.


The best climbs appeared to be over the south spur ... and when a Delta 2 took off and immediately took a climb it seemed the place to be. Fortunately I was heading that way with a margin over take off .... fortunate because it triggered a spate of take off's and I could avoid the lower traffic.


The climb out was solid and improving with height .... Delta 2 remained 600' above then either lost or abandoned the climb to head north and into sink ...or at least it seemed that way as I continued climbing until well above him. At 4500' I touched the wispies .... straggly clouds with lots of blue sky dominating (earlier in the day I'd entered a rather beefy cloud with rougher innards that took a little effort to navigate/control out of).   I headed out over Chipping ... far ahead an Artik 5 was at my height, then a second A5 appeared over my right shoulder. When  another good climb appeared over Chipping I thought my stalker A5 would join me - but he carried on to join his mate.


Back at height I carried on towards Longridge, a lovely ridge I've only flown once (New Years day 2019).  I explored that region for a while then decided I needed to head back whilst still sure of making it. As it happened I got back with height to spare and after almost 3 hrs in the air.


The timing of the landing was spot on, coinciding with all my other J36 mates. So the next task was finding a pub open on the way back. As it happened we hit on a gem, The Bay Horse, Dolphinhome - friendly, good beer and a lovely beer garden. A great end to a great day.


Photo link to some video stills  LINK


18/7/2020  The Three Men


The morning was attrocious (wet n windy), the afternoon drier, brighter but still windy - whilst the evening became blissfully sunny and the wind began to drop away.


Tom and I decided it was worth a try. We took off shortly after 7pm, the wind was easing but surprisingly well off to the SW - we expected more west.  At least it was an opportunity to explore the SW face. It's quite long, but also shallow, although it does rise over a long distance out front.  The more I pushed south the more it confirmed it worked well, either close in or out front. Eventually, I made the far southern point where it turns abruptly to south and steepens. Once convinced it soared reliably I spent a lot of time going back and forth. I noticed two gliders soaring Tow Scar in the distance and reckon I could have made it - even with modest height. It would be interesting to link the two.


After an hour the wind dropped to the point where it was more scratchy so we went and landed. It's a lovely location and the evening sun made it a privilged place to pack away.


Tom took a little phone video before and after he flew - I've added it to the next day's video.

19/7/2020  The Three men


All forecasts and reports spoke of wind, and whether Lakes or Dales - blown out. Again, coming to the conclusion that Leck (for whatever reason) seems to escape the worse of any wind; Tom and I opted for a look. It was hard to believe as I walked up in very light wind, that not far away everyone spoke of top end or too much. 


I arrived on take off to find the wind square on (westerly ... and best direction) ... it was still only about 8 - 10 mph with odd stronger gusts. The wind at the cars seems to mirror the wind at take off. Interesting learning the foibles of new places.


Tom took off first. The sky was looking far better than rasp suggested and the thermals were soon to confirm this. Some of the climbs were quite strong, but also solid - not always the smoothest, but what can you expect at 11am. Tom was high and doing well by the time I launched into a rather scratchy cycle. Before long we were both high. These are funny times.  Any other year we'd have been planning xc's and taking the thermals over the back. Now? Well ... it seems rather flying without a focus ... and I very much need a focus.


After a while I felt the winds were maybe increasing a little and the thermals getting more rowdy. Tom seemed very happy with it, but I'd had my fill and decided to land. As I said .... I'm happy engrossed in an xc, but just getting bounced around in hill thermals wears me down.


Some video from the previous evening and today.  LINK

21/7/2020   Johnny Barnes


It wasn't the RASP that was promised so many days in advance - including the night before. Dave Southern gave us a new name for it, Cruel Mistress!

Actually, in its defence, the day turned out closer to the initial prediction ... if you exercised some leniency.

Seven of us figured the usual Dales sites would get too strong, so we stayed local. The western and southern edges are always less plagued by strong winds and overcast. Johnny Barnes it was then. Sea breeze becomes an issue if you leave it late though. It was rather light and scratchy until midday when the thermals kicked in and more sun appeared. I got sunk out on the shoulder and during the walk back to take off saw (and listened) to a cluster of four heading off at base. Back in the air with Dave Southern we quickly found a climb and were away. Dave was below and I lost sight as I headed more north .... by the time the sink had well and truly done a job on me I spotted him climbing to my south. Bugger! Dave made Leckie for a second climb - I landed at the bottom, decided to take off at the bottom + 50' and after a single, rough climbing beat took a great thermal to base over Gragareth. (it paid off to have spent time sussing out Leckie recently and getting to know the house thermal).


I'm either out of practice, or maybe the sky just looked messy.  I thought my second bite at the xc cherry was going to be more successful. The wind appeared increasingly from the SW and it seemed all the valley's - Kingsdale and Chapel le Dale were now being swept clear of any thermal. The usual practice here. I put my chances quite low, but pressed on towards the Russian guns.  

Bobbed along high over Kingsdale, ran up the Whernside ridge (considered the Magnet but it seemed too breezy.Nothing. Desperately,  almost deliberately and inexplicably I set course for the biggest sinkhole in the world - Ribblehead. Never go there unless you want an open pub (with relaxed rules), a butty van, an icecream or wish to go incommunicado with the world. No signal for miles .... as my feet will testify.


Enjoyed a walk back with Richard .... then we all departed to the beer garden of the Pheasant at Casterton.

https://aeros.smugmug.com/Flying-2020/J ... s-July-21/

24/7/2020  Windbank


I arrived at Windbank to find it surprisingly quiet - which tells you a lot.  The wind was well off to the west (fresh and blowing down the valley). On take off Tim Rodgers was the  sole figure gazing out from the top. Uninspired, I drove round to Kettlewell.


A check with the binoculars showed two gliders seemingly doing OK on Great Whernside. I thought a drive up educational .... but subsequently got lost in the maze of small lanes that is Kettlewell. I hate big towns!  The result was I ended up back at Windbank.


I walked up with Tim Oliver (just for the exercise as I wasn't that optimistic). On top it wasn't actually that bad .... the wind still off a little but forecast to back to SW later (it never did - almost the reverse). Both Geoff's arrived and we plugged in the NCT task.


Easy enough take off .... but not a great amount of lift given the wind. Made the far end and met a gusty little thermal to 800' ato and set sail for the first turnpoint That'll be easy.  Wrong!  A stiff breeze blew down the valley, the ridge didn't work that well and thermals were litle more than angry gusts. In short ... I battled away for 50 minutes and decided to go in and top land for a rethink. Not long after most others had a similar thought. The last to land being  Chris Kay - who had flown over from Chris Kay mountain (Pen y Ghent).


Packed and walked down .... a few flew down in the lulls on take off and endured the gusts to landing amongst the hay bales. An excellent pint at the Falcon.


Not a great day, but I guess we flew.




29/7/2020  The Three Men


An excellent call by Tom.


The day had been fairly windy, but the evening looked a good possibility as the winds died away. After 6pm, with Tom providing hilltop reports, Tim, Geoff and I arrived at just about the right time. With the wind nicely on the hill (mostly the SW face) it was moderating and should provide an hour before falling away to nothing.


An easy launch, followed shortly afterwards by Tom, and we probably enjoyed the best of the excellent lift extending towards the far southern point. Very smooth, relaxing flying with a max of almost 500' ato at this point - later, as the wind lightened it became more scratchy.


Safe landings and a nice snatched hour from a long unsettled period.


Short bit of video LINK

30/7/2020  Stags Fell


(Called as a coaching day for those who could get out.)


The morning was very uninspiring with cloud to the ground and light rain. However, this was forecast to clear by noon leaving a bright afternoon with lighter winds and base rising to 4000'


I arrived at Stags carpark at 12:15pm with the cloud already clearing the tops and the sky breaking to show some brightness. The wind also seemed about perfect, my concern had been it may be more S than SW (the latter being preferable for Stags). A walk up to take off showed still ideal .... wind square on and around 10 - 12mph. It doesn't get a lot better. A quick whatsapp message to the groups and I took off.


A 30 minute flight showed it was effortless, pleasant flying with some decent thermals thrown in. It was surprisingly bouyant, so much so that two trips over to Humeset (usually not that easy) could be achieved with a mere 600' ato. I sent a second whatsapp message to confirm conditions and had another flight during which Cefn arrived - company at last. 


We chatted and enjoyed some flying for a spell before, by mid afternoon, others started to arrive. Mostly the usual faces, but also some newer pilots eager to grab airtime.  We chatted, briefed and went flying. I guess at best we had around 10 pilots. There were a few nice, gentle thermals but the best I could manage was 900' ato.


By 4pm it was still very nice although the wind had started to edge slightly to the south, but it was still OK. With a little work it was still soarable along the main edge to the SSE face which was now working better. We did lose a few pilots  to the plateau below occasionally.


I landed around 5:15pm ... the wind had certainly moved to the SSE and got lighter so I reckoned that was about it.  In total Stags was well flyable for 5 hrs, but it sometimes needs faith and a bit of luck to obtain the better forecasts (especially useful if the pay for them - thanks Geoff).


A few moved over to Semer Water to continue flying, whilst the flown-out enjoyed a pint in the Green Dragon.


Assorted video clips  LINK

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© Ed Cleasby