15/1/2023 The Scar
Somehow, in amongst the rain, wind and every other abominable winter-weather nasties, Sunday dawned to contradict all the odds. I hadn't even given it a thought, yet it looked OK ... or at least worth a look. Afterwards I probably would rather I hadn't been tempted, as the harness cleaning time easily out-did the flying.
Bit naughty, but I ended up launching from the Scar .... only because I'd driven up there to check the wind and cloudbase, then the fuel light pinged on, that, the sun and a decent breeze meant I stopped there.
OK on take off, easy launch and straight across onto the edge to join two buzzards. I had about 40 minutes of smooth, pleasant flying. Across on Three Men two gliders (Tom and ANO) showed up on my FANET screen. I then contemplated top landing to pack away as it's clean, dry grass. A few dry runs showed it a bit windy (would have been OK). Anyhow, I decided to go for an easy bottom landing by the car, but on a drier upper section.
At this point it got really windy, but OK. Actually, it wasn't OK .... really wet, muddy and slippery underfoot. The result was a really impressive dragging and an equally impressive set of skid marks. It felt a little akin to sledging only brown! Ten minutes after landing the wind eased. I should have waited for the blow through to pass.
The result is a few days of cleaning duties.
A few photos LINK
20/1/2023 Semer Water (north)
The video at the end really tells the day.
Another cold, frosty start with lots of blue sky. No wind, but recently that had meant little as a low inversion, wave and the unpredictabilities of winter meant anything was possible.
A nice group of us set off for Semer Water, hoping to fly the north face, but the outcome was far from certain. As it transpired it was light, very light, but at least on the face. After some hesitancy we laid out .... and waited. Maybe an hour passed, but eventually, after a few abortive slope landings it became soarable. We managed to enjoy a spell of flying spread over about an hour, until it again became very light. The highlight being able to drop back onto the main edge and at one point I thought I'd blundered into wave out front. Maybe not. I decided to call it a day, landed on the shoulder and began to pack - then, the sight of others flying tempted me to set off back up. One good thing about this side of Semer is the easy walk back to take off. It's a far user friendly face than the SE side.
Back on top and no wind ... a short wait and we all eventually flew down from different points along the ridge.
Coffee, scones and teacake's in the pantry concluded a very pleasant day - it was even warm believe it or not.
It's been a while since I last flew Longridge, in fact New Years day 2019 - so I was overdue another visit. It's a great ridge, very accessible ... long, but very wave prone and especially during the winter months. Not really being an xc site it's the only time I'm ever likely to visit.
It was a good call by Tom/Chris and I was very happy to suffer the convoluted trek to get there. There were plenty about when we arrived, several mere dot's in the air at the far end and more just about to take off. Upwind, wave bars or rather the slots, were very evident and suggested conditions on the ridge could be interesting and prone to rapid change.
Despite a decent blow Chris and I were soon airborne. The first long beat to the east, over a few k's, was surprisingly scratchy ... I expected a lot more given the wind strength. At first it was OK ... then the wind dropped away and with it the lift, scattering pilots in the deep heather along the steep far slope and Simon on his hangie in the bottom field. I managed to slope just under the top. Five minutes later I was on top - in almost nil wind. The thing about wave is .... it comes and goes, so after a 10 minute wait it arrived, just enough, but not convincing. A short flight, back in on top and another 10 minutes of waiting for it to build further. From that point it was easy soaring, with hints of wave up to about 1000 ato.
Eventually, I felt the wind had increased to the levels where I felt it prudent to be down. I watched a few go in before me, some get a dragging and struggle and was reminded of my own a few weeks back. One pilot especially was struggling to control his wing after landing which hastened my attempts with a few wingovers. I landed fine, no drama's.
Between packing I videoed a few landings, it was still windy, but decreasing. All made it down OK. As we left,Simon arrived back on take off with a hangie on his shoulders. It reminded me how tough is was being a hangie on such days.
Some short bits of video edited together of the day (Thanks to Tom for a couple of clips)