Having seen four gliders flying over Bath on Wednesday from my office window I was determined to get out whilst the Indian Summer continued. Work was quiet on Friday so Martin Nichols and headed to Crickhowell to pick up my Impress 2 harness and then possibly go to Pandy. Having picked it up and packed my reserve in it, we headed to Hay Bluff after hearing reports that it was windy and too NE for Pandy. However when we got there it was strong in the car park so we thought it would be far too windy on top.
We ummed and arred for a while and had just about decided on Heol Senni further to the west, when Alex Coltman phoned and said it was flyable at the Malverns, so off we headed, arriving after a somewhat tedious drive (avoid Hereford if you can!) at 1300. In fact the conditions had just improved when we arrived with the wind more on the hill… I think I counted five gliders flying initially.
I didn’t hang around, and by 1330 I was in the air. It wasn’t until 1400 that Alex and I found a strong enough climb to waft over the back with (well, not really over the back as the wind was between NNE and NE), but at about 3000′ Alex turned back leaving me on my own. This climb eventually got better and I reached about 3700′ about 5km from t/o.
A glide and then another climb to 4100′ took me to the south of Ledbury at about 10km.
Looking back towards the Malverns from south of Ledbury
This was the highest I got in the flight and as you can see there was quite a marked inversion.
I pressed on to my next likely thermal source, what I initially thought was a stubble fire, but it was actually just the dust from the combine.
My next thermal?
However it didn’t really work and at about the 20km mark I found myself down at 1500′ with the ground only just over 1000′ below. However a nice climb just to the west or Ross-on-Wye took me back up to 2500′ and I was able to relax a little. By now the River Wye was really meandering and I recognised Symonds Yat from childhood canoeing trips with the CCF.
Approaching Symonds Yat and the River Wye
From here a series of gentle climbs took me up to 2800′ and I wafted over castles and the tree covered hills to the north of Monmouth.
I was hoping for a nice climb from the high ground north of Monmouth, but alas I didn’t find any and the last 8-9km was just a glide into Monmouth where I managed to disrupt some school rugby matches as I landed in the large playing fields on the east side or the river!
A nice big landing field in Mommouth
Eventually the schoolboys all left, with words like “Awesome!” and “I want one of those!”, and I was able to pack up and wait for Martin to pick me up. It turned out that only Graham Steel and I got away from the hill, so Martin was able to pick me up on the way home… Perfect!
Flight details on the PG Comps website here.