After what seems like a very long and cold winter the UK XC season seems to be under way big time after a great day on Saturday 13th March. With the wind forecast to be NWly, Nick, Rob, Ben and I decided to head to Batcombe hoping to fly to Swanage! However the wind was much more northerly so it looked more that likely we’d be tracking over Dorchester if we got away…
I took off at 1245 and within a few minutes found a nice climb. Nick took off shortly after me and joined me in the climb. We got up to about 3,200′ asl, before it petered out so we headed on a glide. A nice low save past Cerne Abbas kept our hopes alive. Getting up to 3,100′ we then glided over Dorchester, with Nick sensibly keeping a bit more to the east than me.
We both found climbs to the south east of Dorchester, mine taking me back up to 3,000′ before I lost it. I decided to head for the coast at Ringstead where I knew ice cream was available…
However at about 500m inland from the sea I saw a Sparrowhawk thermalling nicely so headed over to join it, thinking it be nice to stay up for a bit longer. It worked, and I headed over to White Nothe Cliff going up gently all the time, starting to think that maybe I could extend the flight along the coast a bit…
I actually found my strongest climb of the day just a bit further along the coast (3.4 m/s) however I didn’t feel to confident about taking it over the sea (!) so I wimped out after a couple of 360s at about 2,200′.
From here I had plenty of height to glide to Lulworth Cove (at top of photo on left), and I duely landed in exactly the same spot as I did at the end of my flight from Monksdown at the end of September last year (details here).
I packed up and walked just over a mile before finding a good place to hitch from, and sure enough, five minutes later a couple of lads working for Station Stoves stopped and gave me a lift all the way back to takeoff! Thanks Jack and Andy!
Meanwhile Nick, who has sensibly kept further inland managed a further 3.5km to do 38.5km – nice one!
So what a great start to the season, and another great flight from these lovely Dorset sites!
Flight tracklog etc on the new xcleague website here.
More photos on flickr.