10/2/2024   Park Fell


Pleasant enough day, first in a while.  Walked up Park Fell, but very light,  resulting in a fly-down followed by a coffee. There were odd places (Barkin, Gragareth) where it was possible to stay up by walking high. Worth it for the exercise.


24/2 2024  Windbank


First proper flight since November and well worth waiting for.


I arrived at the bottom of the hill later than most, but quite happy as I didn't think anything would happen until well gone noon. So it proved. Approaching down the valley from Arncliffe I spotted the first gaggle of gliders  over launch, so an encouraging sight.


I walked up with Simon and Ged, warm and spring-like, to find many gliders  laid out on top -some about to take off, a few top landing and others more contemplating. A bit of chatting/videoing and I was away. Conditions were about as good as they could be ... a nice soarable breeze, sunny, a cumulus dotted sky and obviously thermals about judging by those airborne.

Above: Jacob Aubrey launching his Photon.


Flying down the ridge was very straightforward, in fact the surprising thing was the regularity and strength of the thermals - and so smooth.  I must admit to not expecting quite such good conditions given the amount of rain over the past month.  In the stronger cores 2/3m/s was not uncommon. I just kept treking north, sharing a few thermals with Chris Fountain. The further north the better the thermals  - my best height being around 3'400 asl and there was still a little way to go to cloudbase. 


Finally, near Litton, I turned tail for a decent little out and return. It was noticeable heading back south that, despite a good sky, things had changed. The wind appeared lighter - 12kph at height and slightly off to the west. The biggest disappointment was the thermals had weakened and become more broken. Getting back to launch was easy and my hope was for a really good thermal in that area to cross towards the stepped ridges running down to Grassington. But, everyone was grounded, bar a few scratchers and all the signs were the day had switched off and gone light. I top landed - waited a while, but it never really got better and a lot of cloud was now shutting off the valley to the north.


I flew down, packed, and Rob, Tom, Jacob and I headed back to Seasons in Ingleton for a quick coffee. A really excellent hour of flying - better than I expected.



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© Ed Cleasby