A challenging flight from the Malverns

It’s Saturday 10th April and the forecast is for high pressure with light easterlies. Nick, Mike and I head up to the Malverns together and are pleased that there’s a bit more wind on the hill than we were expecting. There’s tons of people there and more turning up all the time as it’s a BCC round. Excellent, lots of wind dummies 🙂

I took off at 1250 and pretty soon was climbing out in a good gaggle…

Tom Mayne took this photo of me climbing out with him

However I felt it was too early to leave the hill so pushed forwards, climbed up again and pushed a couple of kms out int front of the hill thinking that in the light winds might make a triangle flight a possibility. But it wasn’t to be and pretty soon it was decision time – head back to the hill or possibly go down… Needless to say I headed back to the hill!

Me taken by Tom again

A short while later I was high above take-off and by this time there were a few small clouds off to the south, so that’s where I headed, with a couple of other gliders in tow (including Nick a bit lower down).

Heading south to the clouds…

After 7km I hadn’t found another climb so I headed right to the south of Ledbury where I eventually found a nice climb back up to about 4ooo’, after which I headed south again towards a village (Dymock) and a wooded area near the M50.

I was down to about 1500′ some 15km from take-off before I found some broken lift over the village and like bees to honey, three or four other gliders appeared making things easier! Two in particular were going up nicely 700m to the north of me so I headed over to them and was rewarded with a nice climb back up to about 4200′.

A difficult meandering first 15km

After Dynock I headed SW then south towards a building cloud and ended up spending a minute in the white room getting up to about 5000′ for the first time! Yay! From here I glided more or less south heading to Mitcheldean and the edge of the Forest of Dean. I picked up a weak climb just before Mitcheldean and let it take me gently over the hill in the slightly stronger SE’ly wind. That climb didn’t last for long but I had enough height to glide over to a large quarry at Drybrook where I got a lovely climb up to over 4000′ again.

Mitcheldean and Drybrook quarry

After a glide over the NW corner of the Forest of Dean I found another good climb which took me up to my highest point of the flight, 5100′, and it was up here that the murk was at its worst – it was very difficult to work out where I was…


Where the hell am I heading?

You can just glimpse the River Wye in the distance, but beyond that it was anyone’s guess! I had another good climb over Coleford but at this point I had no idea that I was further south than Pandy and Abergavenney – the Black Mountains wew invisible! I had a couple more smaller climbs but I ended up in a large “blue” hole (or should I say grey hole) with no clouds and I eventually ran out of steam and and landed at about 1625 near the village of Llangwm about 4km from Usk. Straight line it was 54km, but with the 2km out in front of the hill, and all the wiggles it came to 60.8km overall which is my furthest flight for a few years…! Click here to view the flight in the new XC Player.

The retrieve was pretty easy – a couple of lifts took me to Monmouth where I met up with Nick for a beer. Not long later Mike arrived in my car having done two smaller xcs getting back to the hill each time…

All in all a great day out! Roll on next weekend…

4 responses to “A challenging flight from the Malverns”

  1. Nice flight m8 see you at long mynd in may

  2. Dude I asked for all the detail in FB and then clicked your link to here. Man that is one great flight I just do not know how you do it. Brilliant!

  3. Hi Tim,

    Yes it was me on the Mustang 2- following you!! You must have recognised the flying suit and stance- new helmet though!! I found a climb to the west of you near Dymmock and then came back over the forest and golf course.
    When I got to Mitcheldean and saw you vanish into cloud, I was high too but got cold feet and headed off to land from 900m up. I had no idea where I was, GPS not set- I hadn’t even really planned on leaving the ground let alone the hill!! Anyway thanks for keeping me company- I waved a few times. I knew it was you!!


    1. Sadly I didn’t realise it was you Nia… Hope you didn’t mind me taking the inside route in the thermal we all climbed out in – people were flying in very wide circles. Well done getting to past Mitcheldean – a nice comeback flight! Hope to see you up at base again soon!

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