2/9/2023   Grey Scars


Nice but windy day. I expected the wind to ease late afternoon - it did, to very little over a short space of time.


Several short, scratchy flights and then a fly down.

4/9/2023  Windbank 


Another stunningly hot day - too hot for me!


Tim, Baz, John H and I drove over to Windbank. It looked the place to be although doubt was cast when there seemed to be few cars and even fewer on the hill.  Still .... it felt fine and the sky was starting to see good cu development despite a poor rasp. 


Wind spot on and a nice strength so an easy take off.


I had an FAI triangle of 26k plugged in - up towards Halton, over to near Buckden and back. The start was a k south of take off but easily tagged and then up the main ridge.  There were now several gliders in the air and reasonable thermals, that never went as high as I would like but the drift kept showing SSW - not ideal for the final leg.

The first section was fairly easy, but then it took several attempt to gain enough height and push on towards the turnpoint.  The moors are good thermal generators up to Halton Ghyll, but are more shallow. I tagged the turnpoint just as a good thermal came through so in the end it was quite easy.  Now across to Buckden.


The glide over was OK ... essentially semi crosswinding and aiming for where I though a SSW wind would help ... as it turns out mainly gully sides and bowls .  A half climb helped and I was able to drop well back for the next turnpoint - two legs done.  The final leg I've done a number of times - but never in a SSW wind, usually it's a westerly and fairly easy.   It took a while, it was tricky and some of it was done low (ish) on the crossing to Great Whernside. I thought - if I can get into the gully top above Haggs Dyke hostel then having been there three time already this year it should be OK.  I got there easily - swept into the gully back; so it should just be wait for a climb and push south onto the edges. it didn't work out as planned.


From having lots of wind it suddenly seemed very calm and flat .... in fact not even enough to soar and the grass was still.   I lost height with each beat until just above the hostel. At this point I decide to push out and hope. The deep, rising valley from Kettlewell means - left or right side - I chose right (north side) essentially in the hope some wind might by coming up this side. There are no landings in the narrow bottom.


Nothing happened, no big climb - or any sort of climb. Eventually I landed on the edge of Kettlewell. Looking back I wonder if I should have tried the other side on the gully, even a few hundred feet would have possibly been enough to see me  back.  It's easy with hindsight, but I'd really like to have that last bit again as I'd made decent decisions up to that point.


Tm collected me from Kettlewell (Thanks) and we all ended up at the Falcon, in baking heat.

15/9/2023 Park Fell


The choice was between falling asleep in a chair or walking up Park Fell. Flying wasn't an especially attractive option as it was a uniformly murky day with most summits in cloud.  I drove to Ribblehead to find it very northerly ... but with a decent breeze.


I set off up, not that convinced as it felt on the edge of drizzling and the wind had fallen to almost flat calm.  On top was no different so  it looked like wait for a zephr and have a fly down. I took off heading for a fly down - but actually stayed up, a few beats and I landed for a think. There was a little more wind, but the cloud was lowering and soon going to be down on me.


Second flight and no shortage of lift which seemed more like cloud suck so it needed a bit of care.  Not a long flight and as the cloud lowered I set off towards the Station Inn. Even away from the hill there was gentle lift so I arrived with height to spare.


Nothing to get too excited about, but it seemed that could be it for a week so take what you can, when you can.



21/9/2023   Three Men


The morning was a bit of a dog's breakfast. Some good looking spells initially and then the showers built up. Overall it was pretty much as the forecast with a better afternoon predicted as the air dried out. Sure enough, by 2pm it was looking OK, by 3pm pretty good ... I gave it another hour although in retrospect I could have gone earlier.


Tom arrived just before me and it seemed fine at the parking.  A short walk to the grassy slopes below the top and we were soon ready to launch - Tom on a tight schedule.  It was soarable, but on the lighter side with odd stronger gusts.  I followed Tom  ten minutes later by which time it was about perfect.  It was now 4:30pm


I know Three Men is a bit special around this time of day, in fact we get pleasantly surprised by the thermals it delivers up into the evening. This was another of those occasions. Nice smooth air, thermals that took us to almost 3000' and just really relaxing boating around. What a great place.


After 45 minutes John H turned up and joined us .... a little later Tom departed on school run duties ( I think ... he may have got a black mark for being late).  John and I swanned around .... checked his new radio set up. A dodgy connection forced him to land and sort it - then it was fine. 


After a lengthy hour and half session I decided it was time to eat and landed at the cars .... still plenty of lift, but the thermals were now quite weak. John followed shortly after and as we put the gliders in the cars the wind had fallen to a flat calm.  There are some sites you can set a watch by.


A super beautiful place, always great sunsets here and a real treat to fly such evenings.


VIDEO LINK  ( little bit of the video is from Tom's iphone - the rest you can blame me for).

23/9/2023  Three Men


A short, but entertaining flight.


Pilots scattered themselves across many sites ... including Tailbridge which I thought a very odd choice given the drive amd the forecast - it blows out so quickly.  Alan collected me at 10.30am ... it had been very blue up to 10.15, but now low cloud and showers were rolling in from the SW.  The approaching front ... early?


Initially it was just too light to soar properly, so a few bunny hops, plus one to fix my pod bungee, then it became easily soarable.  The showers were very light drizzle affairs but extensive enough to keep an eye on. When one started forming a kilometre in front of take off I opted for my escape plan and despite little height headed forward towards Tow Scar. The ridge had been surprisingly lifty which I put down to the approaching showers.


I wasn't sure I could make it, but the line was very lifty even on 2/3 bar the whole way, so I arrived 500' above the top. Active Edge was set up on the lower slopes and mindful of that I decided to carry on to Twistleton Scar End - I know it can work although not especially big (below).

I came in very low, hopped a wall and made a small outcrop 50' above the ice cream van and lots of interested walkers. I bet my appearance didn't figure in their day. Once on the main slope and more into wind it worked well and I was soon above the top. I'd like to have stayed longer, the showers weren't far way but in front of them seemed some lift. With just a bit of height, not enough to cross further east I took the weak climb I had and dribbled up the valley. It was very novel to be thermalling along the SE face of the Scar - or maybe it was wind funnelling up the valley edge. I stuck with it for a while then decided I was slowly losing the battle and crossed over towards the main valley road. 


A nice landing, very smooth,  in gentle valley winds and by a nice stream.  As I packed it brightened up, the sun appeared over Ingleborough and all signs of showers disappeared. At this point I rather wished I'd stayed on the edge for another 15 minutes.


A short walk, Alan collected me and dropped me at the White Scar cafe (recommended) for  a coffee. Thanks Alan.


Very few photos     LINK




It's 4.30pm. In the 73rd  minute we go a goal behind ... and shortly after a man down.  That sets in a sick feeling of dejection that requires something by way of an antidote or a distraction. It seems to boil down to mowing the lawn or walking up a hill for a probable fly-down. I opt for the latter.


A gentle up Grey Scars, skirting the Three Peaks cyclocross tapes; the day is quite unlike the morning - it's settled, sunny and warm. Unfortunately, the wind is light and  little off  the hill. So it's a fly-down, slightly delayed by a few scratchy beats - but a fly down. 


It's such a nice evening I make packing a careful, lengthy affair. A glance at the final score ... time changes nothing, we still lose.



30/9/2023  Stags Fell


I hadn't given much thought to flying, with rain forecast by midday and a low base, the day had little to recommend it.  I had an arrangement to be in Catterick by 9.30am, so left home early and threw in the glider 'just in case'.  I wasn't optimistic.


Passing through Hawes it was still rather gloomy; further east the last of the hazy sunshine made it a pleasant morning. Returning back through Hawes at 10.30, it didn't look any better. I had a coffee, followed by a second in a busy Penny Garth.  On the off chance I thought it worth a drive up to Stags - just to be sure.


Just ahead of me and walking up, were Liam and Neil Plant ... the wind was fairly light and well off to the east - so a walk across to the far end.  In fairness the day felt really nice - a gentle, but soarable breeze, smooth and maybe the day had 30 minutes in it.  I didn't walk as far as the others so was in the air as they were laying out.  


We had a lovely spell of flying. Very smooth, relaxing and able to push well east of Stags. It stayed OK ... even with hints of the sun and if anything became a bit lighter. It was always nicely bouyant. By 1.30pm it seemed like the rain probably wasn't far away although the tops remained clear - just. We all landed together and the timing was about perfect - as we headed for the cars the rain arrived.


Liam treated me to a coffee and fattening cakes in Penny Garth. A very enjoyable hour or so on Stags.


Video LINK  (just a rough edit - don't get too excited).


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© Ed Cleasby